Industrial production accounts for 17% of Europe's GDP and remains a key driver for innovation, economic growth and job creation. More than 32 million people in the EU are employed in the manufacturing industry and each job generates at least an additional job in services. 80% of innovations today are made in the industry and 75% of EU exports are manufactured products. Europe's position as an industrial power house is eroding and its leadership in many important sectors is constantly challenged. Essential synergies will be created in Europe to reverse the trend towards de-industrialization:
- Bringing together Europe's strengths in many domains of manufacturing with advances in ICT, both of them being available but scattered broadly across Europe, leading to a radical modernization of our manufacturing processes;
- Achieving fast progress and good economy of scale by exchanging best practices between the early adopters of advanced ICT in different sectors and by supporting take-up measures which allow the vast majority of industries go the same profitable route.
Factories of the Future (FoF), a Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) will enable Europe to build on its strengths in engineering and manufacturing technologies to reinforce production in Europe and
The focus of the ICT part of the PPP is to exploit advances in ICT across the complete manufacturing process chain, leading to a modernization of manufacturing in Europe.
The specific objectives are the following:
- make manufacturing more efficient by introducing ICT-based solutions across the manufacturing process chain for the complete product life cycle leading to more personalized, diversified and mass-produced products and allowing for agility and flexible reaction to market changes;
- reduce time-to-market, improve quality of products, and increase productivity through using advances in simulation, visualisation and analytics in digital design, rapid prototyping and manufacturing engineering;
- enable better integration of the human element on the shop floor;
- make production more sustainable in terms of resources, materials and energy through the use of modern ICT-based manufacturing technologies;
- stimulate common platforms within and across manufacturing domains and re-inforce ecosystems around these platforms;
- create 'virtual' value chains independently from the geographical location of its actors, thereby allowing for better exploitation of the potential of skilled labor forces across Europe.
Key industrial partners in this PPP are large manufacturers in automotive, aerospace, engineering, etc.; Suppliers; SW houses; Embedded Electronics Manufacturers; and Service Providers. They are supported by Europe's large number of academic and research institutes specialized on production, as well as regional and national innovation clusters, around which the European innovation ecosystems in manufacturing are traditionally organized.