The Grand Societal Challenges generate the need for a wide range of products that should be manufactured at an affordable price. Manufacturing is therefore a key enabler technology to realise these products and solutions.
Examples of this include:
- Sustainable mobility requires the availability and cost-effective integration of new and affordable propulsion systems including hybrid/electrical solutions, and specifically new battery technologies. Correspondingly factories of the future will feature increasing flexibility with multi-propulsion production lines, maximizing the exploitation of plant capacity, implementing a high level of workplace ergonomics and safety, while using advanced materials, power micro-electronics, etc.
- Improved recycling (re-manufacturing) solutions that address scarcity through the re-use of valuable materials in a cost effective way requires completely new types of factories. The scarcity of raw materials will mean that products of the future will have to be recycled to retrieve valuable materials.
- Better home care for the elderly requires smarter electronic products which require the consumption of fewer materials and energy resources during their production. Key parts will become substantially smaller, while increasing automation is introduced by competing regions (e.g. Asia). Time, cost and quality require that these products be manufactured in Europe, close to the consumer and in urban environments. Furthermore, better medical care will include highly individualised pharmaceuticals produced, on demand, through advanced manufacturing in urban-pharmaceutical factories.
- Sustainable energy through solar, wind and tidal power solutions and energy storage, requires advanced and competitive manufacturing capabilities. This will enable Europe to generate more sustainable energy and increase its energy-independence.
The ‘Factories of the Future’ roadmap connects the Grand Societal Challenges with the manufacturing capabilities required within Europe to address them. In this context, key enabling technologies (KETs), including photonics, micro and nano-electronics, industrial biotechnology, and nano-materials, will be required to support the introduction of future products in the years ahead.
The driving forces for new products are at the same time global (consumer electronics, connectivity, telecommunications, mobility, big data intelligence, solid state lighting…) and local, where local regulations and local market needs will push for products with specific requirements in a specific geographic area. In the European market, new specific requirements are arising due to environmental focus (e.g. green labelling, reduction of material waste), due to the new needs of the aging society and due to the customisation and personalisation of goods.
Global competition requires the launch of new products with a shortened commercial life cycle and with a high degree of personalisation for adapting to individuals biometric parameters or for satisfying unique users’ preferences. On the other side, sustainability is pushing for an extension of the life cycle itself. This dilemma can be solved by highly personalised products through software functionalities, which can easily sustain high frequency of renewal, or by the design of products, processes and systems that allow the sustainable re-manufacturing and materials recycling
Most of the industrial sectors which are crucial to maintaining manufacturing and jobs in Europe face the need to innovate products through the use of new materials and/or new functionalities, requiring manufacturing approaches that fully exploit the improved functionality and versatility of design.
Service provisioning and enhanced functionalities in future products will also require the introduction of increased product intelligence, such as the increased use of embedded mechatronics in components, which will require the design and production methodologies to evolve as a consequence.
Last but not least, the future factories themselves are to be considered as future products, including the consideration of user (worker) –experience in their design.
A lead time is the latency between the initiation and execution of a process. For example, the lead time between the placement of an order and delivery of a new car from a manufacturer (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_time)
Flexibility in manufacturing means the ability to deal with slightly or greatly mixed parts, to allow variation in parts assembly and variations in process sequence, change the production volume and change the design of certain product being manufactured.
In business, engineering, and manufacturing, quality has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something; it's also defined as being suitable for its intended purpose (fitness for purpose) while satisfying customer expectations. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality_(business))
Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes and defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers; which ISO 9000 defines as "part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled". This defect prevention in quality assurance differs subtly from defect detection and rejection in quality control, and has been referred to as a shift left as it focuses on quality earlier in the process i.e. to the left of a linear process diagram reading left to right. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality_control)
Over the next decade, for a wide range of complex products, the holistic optimization of performance will push towards new multi-material and multi-functional solutions. This will result in a change in the manufacturing paradigm by introducing new methods and process technologies within the factory in order to ensure both the required quality and sufficiently high productivity to guarantee cost-efficient manufacturing. Economic sustainability will require a re-design of products and production processes respecting the manufacturing conditions and strengths of Europe. In turn this will imply maximising manufacturing efficiency by implementing, where adequate, automated, complex and precise manufacturing steps, which can be supported by advanced technologies and knowledge available in Europe. From the perspective of mass production, economic viability is also of fundamental importance. Solutions like the adoption of lighter and higher resistant materials such as titanium, carbon composite remain critical from a cost perspective, while material availability and new regulations concerning End of Life (EoL) already constitute significant challenges for Industry. To achieve solutions which are truly viable, the ratio of cost to performance must be reduced to improve global competitiveness. The assessment of manufacturing related cost and investment factors will be strategic for the selection and optimization of innovative product/process/system solutions. New appropriate cost modelling techniques are needed to evaluate the future cost of products manufactured either by existing or new technologies, considering future scenarios where market needs, production volumes and technology maturation cause the continuous evolution of product/process/system solutions. These challenges must be faced along the entire supply chain involving OEMs, components suppliers and SMEs due to the typical supply chain of a complex product.
Productivity describes various measures of the efficiency of production. A productivity measure is expressed as the ratio of output to inputs used in a production process, i.e. output per unit of input. Productivity is a crucial factor in production performance of firms and nations. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Productivity)
In systems engineering, dependability is a measure of a system's availability, reliability, and its maintainability, and maintenance support performance, and, in some cases, other characteristics such as durability, safety and security. In software engineering, dependability is the ability to provide services that can defensibly be trusted within a time-period. This may also encompass mechanisms designed to increase and maintain the dependability of a system or software. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependability)
Business development entails tasks and processes to develop and implement growth opportunities within and between organizations. It is a subset of the fields of business, commerce and organizational theory. Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_development)
Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health or workplace health and safety (WHS), is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_safety_and_health)
Waste minimisation is a set of processes and practices intended to reduce the amount of waste produced. By reducing or eliminating the generation of harmful and persistent wastes, waste minimisation supports efforts to promote a more sustainable society. Waste minimisation involves redesigning products and processes and/or changing societal patterns of consumption and production. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_minimisation)
Material efficiency is a description or metric which expresses the degree in which raw materials are consumed, incorporated, or wasted, as compared to previous measures in construction projects or physical processes. Making a usable item out of thinner stock than a prior version increases the material efficiency of the manufacturing process. Material efficiency goes hand in hand with Green building and Energy conservation, as well as any other ways of incorporating Renewable resource's in the building process from start to finish. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_efficiency)