I4MS, Now Coming to an End, Has Helped the EU in Their Digital Transformation Process of Their Manufacturing Sectoradmin
- I4MS has been the Financial Support offered to SMEs and mid-caps aiding more than 100 SMEs across Europe.
I4MS Phase 3 launched in September 2017 is now coming to an end.
The main objective of I4MS has been to facilitate the digitisation of SMEs and mid-caps through access to funding, testing facilities and upskilling of their workforce.
I4MS Disruptors Awards Trophy in Digitalising European Industry Forum, Madrid 2019
Moreover, during phase 3, I4MS, through its central information point, an international online forum (https://fundingbox.com/c/i4ms), launched information about funding opportunities, inspiring success stories of SMEs having benefitted from state-of-the-art-technologies and facilitate the access to new technologies to manufacturing SMEs in Europe, that continue being active after the closure of the initiative. To date, the I4MS Community has gathered more than 1,000 European manufacturing players and providers.
Special emphasis has been put on strengthening European SMEs and mid-caps’ staff by offering training solutions on the different technologies, whilst creating a catalogue of more than 80 advanced trainings to re-skill workers and raise awareness about the benefits of I4MS digital innovations. That has helped the EU to maintain itself in float in the rough sea of digital tensions and high competition between China and the US.
One key element of I4MS has been the Financial Support offered to SMEs and mid-caps allowing more than 100 SMEs across Europe to access high-quality infrastructures, demonstrators and testing facilities in advanced digital technologies, improving their productivity, capacity to deliver products in less time and saving costs and energy. In summary, it has made available around 34 million Euros to this endeavour.
The challenge for European manufacturing SMEs now is to become more competitive, but digital tools and technologies evolve fast, therefore the EC will launch in late 2020 a new I4MS Phase. During Phase 4 the focus will be put on accelerating the design, development and uptake of advanced digital technologies, especially Artificial Intelligence, by European industry with a total funding of €71 million, being at least 50% distributed among SMEs and mid-caps.
After 3 years supporting SMEs in their digital transformation it is clear that I4MS has positively contributed to raise awareness about the use HPC cloud-based simulation (Cloudifacturing), robotics (L4MS), additive manufacturing (AMable) and, cyber physical systems and Internet of things (MIDIH) in the manufacturing processes, products and services.
The I4MS funded experiments has also extended recent advances of ICT beyond the traditional European manufacturing sectors (e.g. automotive, aerospace and machine tooling) to other industrial sectors such as in food, textile, printing and health care, in which efficient use of advanced ICT enabled SMEs to play a stronger role, putting Europe on the right path to compete in the volatile global digital scenario.