The future of manufacturing: Industry 4.0
20/10/2015 (18:00 › 21:15)
Sofitel Hotel, 1 Place Jourdan, 1040 Bruxelles
The fourth industrial revolution — characterised by the increasing digitisation and interconnection of products, value chains and business models — has arrived. German industry will invest a total of €40 billion in Industry 4.0 every year by 2020. Applying the same investment level to the European industrial sector, the annual investments will be as high as €140 billion per annum.
Angela Merkel brings it up in almost every speech about business or the economy. She quotes that 40% is the share of worldwide manufacturing (a total of €6,577 billion) held by emerging countries. They have doubled their share in the last two decades. As part of traditional industrial economies, Western Europe has lost over 10% of manufacturing value added, from 36% to 25%. On-going investment will be key. She comments: "We enter this race with great confidence. But it’s a race we have not yet won.”
Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) have considerable scope to contribute to the renewal of European manufacturing, competitiveness and economic growth. KETs-based industries not only generate direct employment, but can be the basis of new value chains and clusters of high-quality economic activity. Advanced industries based on KETs will generate significant amounts of employment in design, R&D, and a range of other industry-based services. Overall, European competitiveness in KETs-related products (based on trade data) shows a mixed picture, with European industry competing effectively in advanced manufacturing technologies, advanced materials, photonics, and industrial biotechnology. In micro- and nanoelectronics and in nanotechnology, Europe appears to be less competitive.
Although the opportunity is clear, many challenges lie ahead. Adequate skill-sets are needed to expedite the march towards the fourth industrial revolution. And the threat of redundancies could create a general reluctance to change by stakeholders.
Lowri Evans, Director General of DG Grow will outline the Commission’s latest thinking on the benefits and collaboration possibilities within the Industry 4.0 framework.
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