The main technology areas in which the region has a specific competitive advantage in the advanced manufacturing field are cyber security, big data and analytics, mechanical automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, application technologies to 5g.
The most relevant technologies for these fields are those linked to sustainable manufacturing and to the development of new systems for an “intelligent factory”. That is a factory characterised by automation, greater efficiency, lower environmental impact, and which produces eco-sustainable products, uses and develops new materials. Other essential features of an intelligent factory include eco-design, integrated design, design for disassembly, design for recycling, de-manufacturing, and human centred manufacturing.
Advanced manufacturing plays a key role in the new innovation strategy. Most of the strategic areas identified by the Smart Specialisation Strategy are priorities for advanced manufacturing, involving in particular advanced systems, ICT and materials for automotive, aerospace, maritime sector, Made in Italy, sustainable building sector, energy production and urban sustainable mobility. A considerable share of the innovation policy initiatives which will be launched in the 2014-2020 period will promote advanced manufacturing.
Regional priorities for advanced manufacturing are to a certain extent embedded in human capital development policy (e.g. apprenticeships and the involvement of young researchers in advanced knowledge transfer activities in production processes) as well as in the initiatives for improving energy efficiency and usage of renewable energy sources in production processes. Intervention in these policy areas has a significant impact on manufacturing.
In March 2017, the Tuscany region has established the “Regional platform Industry 4.0,” which is an integrated public system oriented towards businesses support on transfer and technological innovation, technical and university training and work.
The ultimate goal of the Platform is to support the competitiveness of Tuscany companies by providing them with all the tools needed to guide industry orientation and orientation towards Industry 4.0
Among the specific tasks that of the Platform are the following:
- the coordination activities between the actions of the individual components of the platform, aimed at promoting the technological, organizational and socio-economic content of Industry 4.0;
- the proposal for technical content for actions and interventions aimed at the introduction of digital technologies in enterprises, the business-to-customer/supply chain relationship and regionally-specialized production chains;
- the analysis of the problems of specialized skills, technical training and higher education; assessment of impacts on job organization and promotion of technical comparison with economic and social parties on Industry 4.0 issues.
The Platform, from September 2017, has officially became part of the DIH Catalogue, Digital Innovation Hub, of the European Commission.