Transformation towards the smart factory

Smart Factory Hub
Foto: © Fotolia – Elnur/Fraunhofer IAO


Survey starts on Smart Factory Hub

How can we create better conditions for innovation when it comes to the smart factory? The University of Stuttgart’s IAT, a close cooperation partner of Fraunhofer IAO, is researching this very question. The Smart Factory Hub project gets under way with a survey of medium-sized enterprises.

What do small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need as they make the transition towards the smart factory? First, they must select and prioritize the technologies required to implement smart (next-generation digitalized) manufacturing systems and smart factories. This calls for the right information and concrete solutions. Second, to fully reap the benefits of future technologies, they must make organizational and process improvements.

Smart factory check for SMEs

While larger companies and corporations can afford the services of external consultants in making such changes, SMEs generally have neither the necessary financial nor human resources. Backed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI), the Smart Factory Hub project aims to determine how aware SMEs in the Danube region are of their challenges and opportunities. It also examines how prepared the SMEs are to incorporate innovative technologies and solutions into their production activities. Results of the survey and preferences of the companies taking part will be summarized in a study and form the basis for the remainder of the project.

Alliances and innovation networks as drivers of innovation

A further goal of the project is to develop networks and lay the groundwork for promoting innovation process for the smart factory. Participating in the project are 13 well-connected partners from the Danube region with considerable experience in innovation. Partners include regional authorities, business networks and research institutes with a wealth of resources. “All participants have a clear vision of their role in the project. This project unites significant expertise in new technologies and a strong network,” says project coordinator Daniel Copot from Pomurje Technology Park. The Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management IAT of the University of Stuttgart, a close cooperation partner of Fraunhofer IAO, is presenting best practices and concepts for building technology databases as part of its Industrie 4.0 project. These are designed to help SMEs identify and adapt new process technologies. The Smart Factory Hub project will run from January 2017 to June 2019.