Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Zero-defect strategies at system level for multi-stage manufacturing in production lines

Topic identifier: FOF-03-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
15 October 2015
Deadline: 21 January 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The current trend in multi-stage manufacturing is towards more complex, distributed and faster evolving manufacturing facilities. To develop a zero-defect strategy to cope with increasing competition and sustainability related issues, plants should be designed and managed using best practices from emerging key enabling technologies. Manufacturing processes have to be environmental friendly and safe and deliver high quality products adapted to customer requirements, whilst minimising costs.

Within a context of market globalisation, the quality of products has become a key factor for success in manufacturing industry. The growing unpredictability of demand necessitates continuous adjustments in production targets. The increasing interest in sustainable production places a premium on reducing material waste, re-works, rejects and stocks and has led to a demand for the development of zero-defect strategies at system level.


Proposals should develop tools and methods for multi-stage manufacturing production with the aim of preventing defect generation and propagation as part of a system-level zero-defect strategy. In this context, integrated production and quality control strategies able to achieve the desired production rate for high quality products need to be developed. They should include both tools to prevent the generation of defects at single stage level and tools to prevent the propagation of defects to downstream stages.

Quality control tools should be supported by distributed on-line data gathering systems, on-line inspection tools, on-line defect management policies (i.e. on-line re-work or workpiece repair), inter-stage information and part flow control strategies and selective inspection policies to achieve higher control of the most critical stages in the system. The final aim is to achieve production system configurations that profitably exploit the quality/productivity trade-off at system level whilst reducing complexity.

Research activities should cover several of the following fields in a multidisciplinary approach:

  • Methodologies and strategies for integrating production and quality systems into the multi-stage manufacturing process.
  • Knowledge management tools to facilitate problem resolution, alarm triggering, transferring knowledge from one process or product variant to another and early detection based on lessons learnt, previous alarm activations, trends, etc.
  • On-line inspection Tools for understanding, monitoring, analysis and real-time fault diagnosis of industrial process operation and product quality.
  • Development of system-level zero-defect strategies to prevent the generation of defects at single stage level and propagation of defects to downstream stages.
  • Distributed on-line data gathering systems and on-line defect management policies.
  • Inter-stage information and part flow control strategies and selective inspection policies.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL6.This topic addresses cross-KET activities.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

The developed zero-defect strategies at system level should lead to a significant impact in the following terms:

  • Achievement of zero defects in a multi-stage production line
  • Reduction of production costs by 15%
  • Increased production flexibility. Higher production rates by 15%
  • Reduction of waste and scrap by 10%
  • Wide adoption of the new strategies in the existing manufacturing systems.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Cross-cutting Key-Enabling Technologies (KETs)
Contractual Public-Private Partnerships (cPPPs)

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

    described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

    described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.


    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold:
    described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions:

    For single-stage and second-stage evaluations, the threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4.
    The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except that proposals will be ranked on the basis of individual scores for the Impact criterion before the Excellence criterion.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except, when comparing ex aequo proposals of different topics, the proposals will be ranked first according to the position in the topic ranked lists.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

    for the type of action under this topic

    Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

    must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 

    Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.


    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Cross-cutting activities (Focus Areas)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes


Submission Service

No submission system is open for this topic.

Get support


National Contact Points (NCP) - contact your NCP for further assistance.

Enterprise Europe Network – contact your EEN national contact for advice to businesses with special focus on SMEs. The support includes guidance on the EU research funding.

Partner Search Services help you find a partner organisation for your proposal



Research Enquiry Service – ask questions about any aspect of European research in general and the EU Research Framework Programmes in particular.

H2020 Online Manual your online guide on the procedures from proposal submission to managing your grant.

Participant Portal FAQ – Submission of proposals.

IT Helpdesk- contact the Participant Portal IT helpdesk for questions such as forgotten passwords, access rights and roles, technical aspects of submission of proposals, etc.

European IPR Helpdesk assists you on intellectual property issues



Ethics – for compliance with ethical issues, see the Participant Portal and Science and Society Portal

CEN and CENELEC, the European Standards Organisations, advise you how to tackle standardisation in your project proposal. Contact CEN-CENELEC Research Helpdesk at

The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their recruitment