The Factory of the Future PPP delivers research projects that are strongly industry driven, helping research organisations reinforce their links with the industrial community, industrial system integrators and end users.

More than 150 Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) projects have been initiated covering the full spectrum of discrete manufacturing.The research projects cover all areas of the discrete manufacturing, accross different sectors:

  • from the processing of raw materials to the delivery of manufactured products to customers,
  • covering both large-volume and small-scale production,
  • dealing with issues such as supply chain configurations, virtual factories, material processing and handling, programming and planning, customer-driven design, energy efficiency, emissions reductions, new processing technologies, new materials,
  • upgrading of existing machines and technologies, including many projects involving use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

The FoF PPP ICT projects address a wide range of technologies and other key issues relevant to enhancing the competitiveness of the European manufacturing sector, and many potential impacts are evident especially regarding industrial growth and jobs.

Digital factory

Digital factory - First time right: made in Europe.

Digital simulation/design tools would allow to boost creativity and reduce the time from design to production. Further investment in R&I is needed for software to boost the launch of new innovative products through digital design, creativity and validation tools in response to higher variance and shorter innovation cycles of products for global markets.

Smart factory

Smart Factory - Factories from Computers.

The production automation landscape will be transformed into smart entities that provide interoperability. Production machines will become smart enough to adapt and react flexibly to any kind of digital input or event. The notion and deployment of industrial robotic systems to carry out complex tasks on demand will evolve. Companies will send digital models anywhere to a manufacturing device around the world to manufacture the parts where and when they are needed. One example, being considered an emerging, fast growing technology, is 3D printing – although the underlying transformation paradigm of manufacturing chain will be universal to the workflow of conventional production processes.

Virtual factory

Virtual Factory - Managerial control in manufacturing through the Cloud.

Disruptive innovation and considerable adoption barriers are expected to be linked to fully virtualised business application and distributed process data that is made available through cloud data services or manufacturing apps. Nevertheless, the notion of the manufacturing business web that lends itself on the Internet of Things and machine to machine (M2M) communication to fully integrate production, supply chain, logistics and customization needs in real time.

  • The PPP on “Factories of the Future” will continue in the research programme Horizon 2020, driving research and innovation to develop advanced manufacturing technologies and systems for discrete manufacturing.
9 October 2013
Last update: 
17 April 2018
Team responsible