production worker measuring part

Industry 4.0: Factories of the Future

As in previous years I am again working with Bax & Willems Consulting Venturing of Barcelona (a company founded by my brother Laszlo), co-writing two proposals for calls from the Horizon 2020 EU innovation programme. This initiative is a successor to the FP7 framework programmes of the past few years with a somewhat changed approach.

The first proposal—submitted last week—dealt with the role of human production workers in the “smart” factories of the future. These factories will have a pervasive networked infrastructure of autonomous robots, production machines, and sensors, all connected through the Internet-of-Things (IoT). This trend is especially strong in Germany where government has put a lot of funding in their “Industry 4.0” initiative—not surprising considering the German manufacturing sector is the strongest in Europe. However these factories will need skilled human workers, who in the future will be increasingly hard to find as factory-floor work will become increasingly knowledge-intensive. Our proposal addresses ways to use the smart factory ICT infrastructure to create attractive factory-floor workplaces for those future workers.

A second proposal on materials modelling is due in May. In both cases neither Panchromos nor Bax & Willems are partners in the consortia (each made up of over 10 companies and institutes): We were hired to write an excellent proposal to increase the likelyhood of being funded. If you think you could use our help, please contact me.