Series: upcoming challenges for smart manufacturing (5)

EURIPIDES Chairman Jochen Langheim on the role of the electronic industry in the transition to smart factories.

Smart factory

A "smart factory" will aim to connect customers, suppliers, employees and machines, controlling the whole production process. To maintain a complexity and sensitivity of information in an electronic production factory requires increasing investments, and the electronics industry looks to be among the most mature as we transition to smart factories.

Thanks to the development of industrial IoT (also within the framework of Eureka and its Clusters), Europe will be at the forefront of smart factories.

What does a smart factory mean?

Full connectivity, data collection and block-chains

Being able to track materials, products and movements in the manufacturing process and supply chains will lead to new business models and new product ideas.

A faster innovation cycle

The innovation tempo will accelerate and lead to faster industrial development cycles and product life time and to investments depreciation. International collaboration is a must!

More clients, more individualisation, more flexibility in manufacturing

New production technologies will lead to an exponential growth of the number of products and associated data. Artificial intelligence will help to increase productivity while maintaining a high level of quality. However, with more data comes more sensitivity and data security will become an even more significant challenge. Safety and security by design is key.

A more sensitive population

Similar to ecological movements, data privacy (and somehow data pollution) will have an important and sensitive role. The smart factories of tomorrow will need to respond to social criteria, such as privacy and the right for data to be forgotten. 

New opportunities with higher cost pressure

The pressure on costs will remain a main driver for industry to improve. Integration of solutions, system approaches for optimisation and the right mix of hardware, software and connectivity will be a key success factor for European industry. And all this with a high speed of research, development and industrial deployment.