The third, successful World Manufacturing Forum organised with the support of the European Commission and the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS), an international cooperation program, was held on July 1-2, 2014 in Milan, Italy. The event took place at the Palazzo Mezzanotte where over 400 participants and 40 speakers gathered for two-day program.

The forum served as a dynamic, international scene where high-level policy makers,  industry executives, government officials and academic leaders from forty-five different countries were represented and met to discuss global, manufacturing issues that should be solved cooperatively. Eight sessions were held (please see Agenda and all the presentations) ranging from the topics as global manufacturing policy, cyber security to venture capital  and robotics for SMEs.

European Commission was represented by Zoran Stancic Deputy Director-General, DG CONNECT who opened the Forum, highlighting Europe's integrated work for a digital industrial strategy in order to modernise its manufacturing capabilities (see video with Opening Remarks). Khalil Rouhana, Director of Components & Systems, DG CONNECT and Clara de la Torre, director of Key Enabling Technologies, DG RTD chaired two important sessions dedicated to robotics solutions for SMEs   and game changing key technologies for manufacturing.

Under the theme of  “The Way Forward to Prosperity through Global Manufacturing Collaboration,” executives from BAE Systems, Boeing, Dassault Systèmes, Siemens, KUKA, McKinsey & Company, Universal Robots, and Whirlpool have discussed several issues related to the current manufacturing environment including creation of a cooperative global environment for sustainable innovation, development of common platforms for standards and interoperability, securing essential data in a connected world and cooperation between educational institutions and companies to train the next-generation of workers.

The biggest European manufacturers of industrial robots, KUKA, COMAU and Universal Robots presented their novel, cost-effective, flexible and easy to use automated solutions to increase competitiveness of SMEs.  Dr. De Molli, from TEH Ambrosetti highlited that value creation in manufacturing is shifting towards R&D phase and post production activities. To allow growth of high value added manufacturing and its related services, Europe should focus on creating an ecosystem for growth, based on single and integrated EU market, where digitalisation is a key enabler for increase competitiveness. Philippe Charles from Dassault  Systèmes, explained how the novel service-oriented manufacturing allows for a dynamic value chains based on digitized production systems, where virtual models are used for simulating, optimizing both products and processes. Furthermore, Dr Huber from Siemens said that European manufacturers need to move to completely new manufacturing processes, like mass machining, 3D printing and the application of autonomous robots, enabled by digital enterprise platforms to stay competitive in the global markets.

For further information and presentations please visit the World Manufacturing Forum site. On latest developments on Smart Manufacturing click here.