SME integration to Industry 4.0

The objective of this partnership is to involve SMEs to the Industry 4.0 paradigm by increasing their absorption of specialised digital services.

SME integration to Industry 4.0

Partnership’s Mission Statement
“Increasing Industrial Competitiveness in EU regions by raising awareness of Companies (SMEs) for -and demonstrating them the benefits of- Industry 4.0 solutions / technologies”

Partnership’s Rationale for public intervention
  • The benefits of Industry 4.0 are still largely unknown to many companies (in particular SMEs)
  • Technology uncertainty, missing competences and assets (e.g. skills) and high costs hamper the absorption of Industry 4.0 solutions by companies, and this is especially true for SMEs
  • ery few regions have all Industry 4.0 competences / facilities on their ground

Partnership’s Key Modus of Public Intervention
Given the above (rationale); there is need for cross-regional coordinated action for “Combining complementary capabilities & competences from different regions to demonstrate and validate Industry 4.0 solutions in relevant industrial environments (via cross-regional projects)”
The main objective of this partnership is to involve SMEs to the Industry 4.0 paradigm by increasing their absorption of specialised digital services.

There is an identified need to facilitate the transition of SMEs towards the Industry 4.0 paradigm, to boost their integration into digital (global) value chains by fostering the adoption of specialised digital services and to increase data collection in order to monitor the production. This means technological, behavioural and business model change for them. For Industry 4.0 paradigm, the digital transformation is the one of the most important business trends. To be successful, the digital transformation has to involve not just single companies, but all the partners across the extended value chain, including Digital Innovation Hubs.

The digitalisation should allow partners along the supply chain:
  • to improve products and/or services;
  • to reduce costs;
  • to manage operations in a more efficient way thanks to Production Performance Monitoring;
  • to better stand their competition position (access to data and information useful to fasting and better answer to the market needs).

This partnership is built around three strategic axes:
  • Awareness: making SMEs aware about the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 paradigms and about the clear added value of a reinforced cross-border cooperation in these fields;
  • Platform: the creation of digital ecosystems based on The Open Source Platform, accelerating time-to-market, speed up innovation and minimise risks, including data collection and analysis; the SaaS approach (Software as a Service) facilitates SMEs’ access to innovative digital services without having to invest on expensive infrastructures or licences;
  • Projects: promoting tools, systems and approaches that can be effectively integrated within the SMEs production, with a special focus on production performance monitoring systems to gather data so that manufacturing processes can be streamlined.

Throughout the integration of SMEs into the Industry 4.0 concept, the partners will develop common projects based on an open source platform and to reinforce cooperation, together with SMEs and other stakeholders (sectorial clusters and competence centres), along European value chains, surveying both the demand and supply side and providing demonstrational and development services in order to accelerate and catalyse the process of matchmaking within the European Value Chain. The partnership will be structured in vertical thematic projects, so that the relevant topics of Industry 4.0 paradigm will be covered and proper solutions developed.

The partnership will:
  • focus on KET and roadmaps to increase productivity and added value, but also promoting new business models for SMEs;
  • integrate systems according to the paradigm of the Industry 4.0. considering production, training, knowledge and skills, investments and actions using Software as a Service (Saas) platform;
  • have a market-oriented approach;
  • focus on fast growing sectors, as well as traditional sectors (i.e. fashion industries, mechanics, tourism, agri-food, quality of life, etc.) as a tool to renew them and to compete in the global market (i.e. smart factory);
  • favour interaction between emerging and traditional clusters and innovation cooperative processes.

Thematic working areas

Advanced areas

  • Production Performance Monitoring Systems (PPMS – metal machining)
  • Predictive modeling and maintenance (applied to automotive/food and agricultural machinery/manufacturing and energy production)

Developing areas

  • Virtual Reality and Simulation Technologies (Auto/Food)
  • Smart logistics and network management (food)
  • Other possible areas include cyber-security for industry (generic) and facilitated and Secure Access to the “Cloud” (generic)

List of regions involved

Contact details of the leading regions

Contact details of DG REGIO

Past events

  • Partnership meeting, Future Engineering 2019 conference, 29-30 May 2019, Mazovia region, Poland
  • Laboratory of the Future on Innovation Creation Models in 2050, The Future Engineering 2019 conference (tbc), 29-30 May 2019, Mazovia region (Poland)
  • Interregional Conference Industry 4.0, Manufacturing and Interregional Cooperation, 19 March 2019, Florence (Italy)

Related documents

Monitoring reports containing a management report and a progress report prepared by the lead regions are available here:
Monitoring report SME to Industry 4.0 July-December 2020
(253 KB - PDF)