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European Commission


Brussels, 19 March 2014

Advancing Manufacturing paves way for future of industry in Europe

The role of the manufacturing industry in Europe has declined in recent years. Over 3.8 million jobs have been lost in manufacturing in Europe since the beginning of the crisis. In the context of the European Commission’s action to reverse the declining role of manufacturing in Europe, the Report of the Task Force on Advanced Manufacturing for Clean Production was published today. The Report presents an overview of measures taken recently to foster the adoption of advanced manufacturing by European industry in order to increase the competitiveness of European industry. It is published at the eve of the European Council's discussion of the Commission plan ("for a European Industrial Renaissance") to increase the contribution European industry makes to EU GDP from the current level of 15% to that of 20% by 2020.

Manufacturing is a key driver of jobs and growth in Europe

In 2012, the manufacturing sector in the EU employed 30 million persons directly and provided twice as many jobs indirectly, manufactured goods amount to more than 80 % of total EU exports and manufacturing accounted for 80 % of private Research & Development expenditure.

Manufacturing currently faces important drivers of change such as the increasing scarcity of resources, the availability of big data, mass customisation which have the potential to modify the global industrial landscape. Anticipating and reacting to these trends will be a major challenge for the European manufacturing sector.

Advanced manufacturing improves competitiveness of the European industry

Advanced manufacturing includes all production solutions that can improve the productivity (production speed, operating precision, and energy and materials consumption) and/or to improve waste and pollution of manufacturing production both in traditional sectors and emerging industries.

Examples are:

  • Sustainable manufacturing technologies, i.e. technologies to increase manufacturing efficiency in the use of energy and materials and drastically reduce emissions.

  • ICT-enabled intelligent manufacturing, i.e. integrating digital technologies into production processes (e.g. smart factories).

  • High performance manufacturing, combining flexibility, precision and zero-defect (e.g. high precision machine tools, advanced sensors, 3D printers).

Advanced manufacturing technologies are of cross-cutting nature, providing a crucial input for process innovation in any manufacturing sector. Their uptake in production process would increase the competitiveness of the EU’s manufacturing industry.

The global market for industrial automation solutions is estimated at $ 155 billion in 2011, 35 % of it in Europe, and is forecast to reach $ 190 billion by 2015. In addition, the market volume for resource-efficiency technologies is estimated at € 128 billion. There are certain advanced manufacturing segments with particularly high growth, such as 3D printing, for which the global market volume is expected to increase from $ 2.2 billion in 2012 to $ 11 billion in 2021.

Faster commercialisation of advanced manufacturing technologies

Horizon 2020, the new Research & Innovation Framework Programme of the EU, will offer funding opportunities for research and innovation in advanced manufacturing. Public-private partnerships have been established such as Factories of the Future with an indicative budget of €1.15 billion and SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource Efficiency) with a €0.9 billion budget. New public-private partnerships in the area of Robotics and Photonics will also play a role for advanced manufacturing technologies.

In addition, technology transfer and demonstration activities will bring research results quicker to the European market.

Removing obstacles to demand for advanced manufacturing technologies

The European Investment Bank has introduced new measures that provide financing for advanced manufacturing. The Structural and Investment Funds provides also significant opportunities for European regions to modernise their industrial base via smart specialisation.

Incentives schemes on EU level to foster the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies by EU industry such as SILC (Sustainable Industry Low Carbon) and I4MS (ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs) could serve as sources of inspiration for Member States and their regions.

The Commission will present information campaigns to industry on business opportunities for sustainable manufacturing opened by the Energy Efficiency Directive.

A technology-neutral internal market legislation and enhanced cooperation with standardisation organisations on advanced manufacturing will help to avoid obstacles for the uptake of advanced manufacturing technologies in European industry.

Reducing skills shortages

Links between industry, education and training institutions will be strengthened, notably with the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on added-value manufacturing that will be launched in 2016.

Follow up and future activities

In 2014 the Commission services continue the partnership with Member States, Regions and industry to discuss potential measures in the medium-term that would contribute to improving the productivity and competitiveness of EU manufacturing industry.

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