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Industry 4.0 for SMEs: Interreg Europe SMARTY brings digitalisation closer to small businesses

News / 04-11-2019

Download the leaflet of the project >

Last month we attended the kick-off meeting of Interreg Europe SMARTY (Smart SMEs for Industry 4.0), held in the Italian city of Prato. This interregional cooperation project brings together both public and private entities from seven European countries (Belgium, Slovakia, Spain, Finland, Italy, Poland and United Kingdom) to work on establishing a common knowledge base on the obstacles faced by European SMEs when trying to integrate Industry 4.0 solutions to their businesses.

For this purpose, the project partners will share experiences and knowledge about how policies related to the European Structural Funds can promote digital transformation. The consortium will gather an exhaustive compilation of good Industry 4.0 practices already established in SMEs in their respective regions, which will serve as a starting point and guide for other small and medium-sized companies in different sectors. SMEs are recognized as fundamental actors of the change towards industry 4.0 and, nevertheless, they are at the same time the weakest link when facing this transformation.

Along this four-year project (SMARTY will run from August 2019 to July 2023), the partners will implement interregional learning activities to identify, analyse and share innovative solutions already validated in one of the participating regions that can help in the innovation processes of other regional contexts. These exchanges will take place in already planned interregional thematic seminars and brokerage sessions organised on a biannual basis. The events will cover key issues such as production performance monitoring systems (PPMS), predictive modelling and maintenance, virtual reality and simulation, smart logistics and network management, among others. The knowledge derived from these activities will result in the adoption of best practices and projects by the participating partners, thus allowing the introduction of innovative solutions in their own regional value chains.

Exchange of experiences is a key piece of interregional cooperation. The partners will make an important effort to remove obstacles by disseminating the most interesting experiences and/or practices. These findings will nurture a comprehensive database that will be published on the project website, open to the general public. The nature of these good practices may vary greatly depending on each experience (it could be part, for instance, of alternative management approaches, new methodologies, techniques or services ...). All of them must have been validated in their original contexts (geographical, sectoral ...), either through direct experience or through research projects, having been successful in achieving their strategic and operational objectives. These success stories can then become a reference due to their high potential to be transferred to other contexts, which will facilitate their adoption and multiplier effect.

The region of Castilla y León in Spain will be represented by ICAMCyL and the Institute for Business Competitiveness (ICE) of the Regional Government, which will join efforts to carry out an exhaustive regional analysis and mapping of good Industry 4.0 practices detected in the region. From ICAMCyL, we will primarily focus on all those case studies and success stories based on the integration of industry 4.0 solutions to the raw materials, mining and metallurgy sectors.

European cooperation to promote innovation

The fourth industrial revolution is of course not just a matter of technology, it is also a matter of cooperation between European regions. The uptake of advanced manufacturing solutions is still a challenge to SMEs: only one in five manufacturing companies have already used advanced manufacturing solutions. We need to build the capacity of the public administrations around Europe to help SMEs to embrace the Industry 4.0 revolution,” says Besnik Mehmeti, project coordinator for SMARTY.

A total of fourteen partners from seven European countries participate in the project, with the Municipality of Prato (Italy) as the lead partner. The consortium came together in Prato in October for the project’s kick-off meeting, where the first actions were discussed, as well as the overall work plan, exchange of experience activities and communication activities. The next step will be the first Interregional Thematic Seminar, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium, in February 2020.

Visit SMARTY website >

SMARTY is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the umbrella of the European Union programme Interreg Europe with around 1.99 M EUR ERDF (2.42 M EUR Total Budget). It runs over a period of four years and started on 1st of August, 2019.

Download the leaflet of the project:


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