Dig-I-Hub in Kecskemét: how our hub benefited from EU training programmes

  • Tamas Gyulai profile
    Tamas Gyulai
    14 February 2019 - updated 3 months ago
    Total votes: 2

Digitalisation and Open Innovation in the construction sector are the focus of the DIH in Kecskemét, which has become fully functional with the help of the EU project Smart Factories.

IQ Kecskemét Industrial Research Ltd., hosting Dig-I-Hub, aims to act as a regional centre for industrial innovation, an open space for technologies where pilot products can be developed and where startups can grow .

Our “Tech Shop” offers 3D printers, steel structure assembly robots, automated drilling, sawing, grinding machines, material cutting and treatment machines. Therefore, it is a suitable location for experimental products not only as pilots but also on a small-factory scale.  

Since we are focussed on the construction sector, open innovation plays a key role for the development of metal structures. Thus, this became an important focus area for us and we initiated several cooperative projects such as the IDEA Conference, organised yearly for engineers not only from the Visegrad countries but also from other European countries with industrial experience.  As an acknowledgement of the achievements in the last years, the Hungarian Open Innovation Cluster for Construction industry (http://mienk.eu/en/) has moved its headquarter to Kecskemét and received an Innovation Award by Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The journey of our Digital Innovation Hub

The Dig-I-Hub in Kecskemét is built on the cooperation of the local clusters and it has a strong focus on the construction industry, which is an industrial sector with very low level of digitalisation. We focus on Building Information Modelling (BIM), a new digital technology that can bring disruptive innovation in planning, parts manufacturing, construction and maintenance of buildings. Consequently, we have partnered with the BIM Cluster NRW, aiming to bring practical knowledge and experience in new digitalisation initiatives.

In addition, we have had the chance of participating in the European project Smart Factories, which offered a coaching programme for new hubs like ours. This opportunity has allowed us in IQ Kecskemét and MIÉNK Cluster to provide a significant contribution to the local ecosystem in Hungary.

Within this programme, we have developed the business plan for the Dig-I-Hub in Kecskemét, learning from the experience of the successful technology cluster in the Italian region of Lombardy, where the cluster, the technology centre and the companies in the region work together as a regional Digital Innovation Hub.

In addition, the training and mentoring actions have given inspiration to our young local staff by showing “best practice” examples of Digital Innovation Hubs. We have learnt that industrial innovation needs not only automation and robots but also people with the right professional knowledge and practical skills. Based on this idea, we have organised several Tech Meetups and other professional events, and we have promoted innovation within young people at vocational schools, preparing students for competitions like the CanSat in the space domain, and the Intel Internation Science and Engineering Fair competition.

Our vision for the future

With the Smart Factories project we have set the basis for out DIH. Now we want to take our hub to the next level and we are actively seeking cooperation opportunities with other innovation hubs and other centres for open innovation. Our next target is the European call for Open Innovation for Cooperative Production Engineering (DT-FOF-05-2019), which would enable us to participate in Open Innovation Networks that can unroll a wide range of entirely new business opportunities for the benefit of consumers.

Another goal for us is to participate in the current call of Smart Anything Everywhere (DT-ICT-1-2019) that aims to expand the European network of Digital Innovation Hubs to regions which are so far underrepresented.

We believe that the cross-border cooperation between regional DIH networks shall have an important role in the development of innovation ecosystems in the Eastern part of the European Union.

Our objective in longer terms is to become the acknowledged “one-stop-shop” for companies in Hungary and a fully functional DIH in the European catalogue in order to act as an active participant in the family of European Digital Innovation Hubs.