Policy in Practice: The European Industrial Strategy
Policy in Practice:
Within the European Commission’s impressive industrial strategy for Europe are a number of key initiatives. Such initiatives include a dedicated strategy for SMEs, a digital single market strategy, circular economy package, new skills agenda, an investment plan and more. As essential actors for innovation in Europe’s strategic industrial value-chains, Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) will be key to the success of these initiatives. RTOs provide key enabling technologies and services, such as technology development, scale-up, infrastructures, and SME support and investment.
At The 2nd RTO Innovation Summit we present numerous RTO initiatives directed at achieving the European Commission’s strategic vision and enabling the twin transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership in European industry.
Just a few examples of current RTO actions promoting such industrial competitiveness include:
- AIT – developing solutions towards a sustainable energy supply for the future
AIT’s Center for Energy develops sustainable technologies and systemic solutions for our future energy system. The Center combines longstanding experience and scientific excellence with high quality laboratory infrastructure and a global network to offer companies innovative applied research services, providing them with a competitive edge in this promising market. The Center for Energy focuses on three key systems: sustainable energy infrastructure, decarbonisation of industrial processes, and innovative technologies and solutions for cities.
As an internationally-recognised energy innovation hub, AIT coordinates major European projects, such as the H2020 project ERIGrid 2.0. Committed to the holistic and cyber-physical systems-based validation approach, ERIGrid 2.0 will foster system-level support and education for industrial and academic researchers in power and energy systems research and technology development. Other RTOs involved in the ERIGrid 2.0 Consortium include CEA, Fraunhofer, SINTEF, TECNALIA and VTT.
- TECNALIA – Manufacturing process for low-pressure turbine outer case
TECNALIA in collaboration with GKN Aerospace (Norway) is developing a hybrid additive subtractive process to manufacture an outer case of a low-pressure turbine. This initiative is achieved on the Hybrid ADD+PROCESS machine-tool from the manufacturer Ibarmia, a machine developed from a collaboration between the University of the Basque Country and TECNALIA, that features Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) and Machining (milling and turning) capabilities. This work was carried out within the H2020 project PARADDISE.
A TECNALIA team developed the approach for Manufacturing by LMD of the complete case, following three steps: Design of a near net shape preform of the case (the preform contains the base, the rails and flanges of the case), definition of a representative profile to validate the fabricability of the proposed preform, and Manufacturing by LMD of the profile using Inconel 718 powder.
- Fraunhofer – Quantum information technologies
Since 2019, the Fraunhofer Competence Network for Quantum Computing takes on a holistic approach in developing quantum information technologies with applied research towards innovative hardware and software solutions. With partners from universities and the research organizations of Europe, as well as in cooperation with start-ups, SME and MNC, a network of currently seven dedicated competence centers unite the expertise of over fourteen Fraunhofer Institutes in the fields of photonics, material science, microelectronics with information, communication and computing technologies.
The activities of the network include the development of enabling technologies and components in quantum hardware design, quantum links, design and use of quantum algorithms in diverse application fields, including bench-marking, validation and certification processes as well as hybrid computational strategies for synergy with classical HPC and machine learning techniques. The mission of the Fraunhofer Network is to promote the formation of value chains of research and industry along this emergent technology in Europe.
- CEA – Software for smart modular robots
Developed by a consortium from the European robotics field, RobMoSys is a cost-effective way of extending robot use to various industrial sectors including agri-foods, manufacturing, farming and transport.
Consider managers from the agricultural, hospital and manufacturing environments. Each would like to use technology to improve their production processes, but they are not really satisfied by the robots currently on the market. Further R&D, and the corresponding operational and technological development would be too expensive for them. Through the RobMoSys software project, they can implement a cost-effective solution using available robotics components to meet their specific needs. The idea behind RobMoSys is to open up the possibility of assembling only those robotic functions that are really needed, like one might assemble computer components in a PC.
- RISE – Connected test bed for advanced materials
RISE’s new connected test bed, LIGHTest, provides crucial continuity during the Coronavirus pandemic, as essential projects for the future production of lightweight products can proceed, despite restrictions on travel and meetings. Current and future products must meet continually increasing standards for sustainable development and enhanced competitiveness – lighter weights, longer service lives and better utilisation of materials. LIGHTest primarily forms lightweight products made of composites and metals at two test bed nodes in Olofström and Piteå, both of which now have access to online testing.
The test bed enables companies, researchers and other stakeholders to develop and test future materials and products. To provide customers with uninterrupted support during the Coronavirus pandemic, numerous cameras and computers were set up in front of the press, along with sensors inside the press to measure temperatures and forces. This is all presented visually to the customer with different viewing options, with RISE also ensuring a high level of cybersecurity in any streaming. Customers can thus follow the entire process remotely and participate live by offering input and asking questions, allowing for real-time decisions to be made.
- VTT – AI solutions for industrial companies
Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions can optimise industrial processes and plants, and even lead to autonomous production, which industrial manufacturing is moving towards. This transformation is happening step-by-step: decreasing manual work, improving processes, increasing the accuracy of actions and quality of products based on knowledge and data. VTT helps industrial companies create AI solutions that turn data into better decisions and more efficient processes.
VTT’s multidisciplinary approach provides actionable decision-making support from operator level up. In process operation and maintenance, this decision-making support, implemented as part of a mill’s existing information systems, empowers process personnel to better understand the current situation and to take optimal actions. In the process development and engineering phase, our approach shortens the time from lab to fab, allowing industrial companies to, for example, to reduce the number of planned pilot experiments required.
- AIT – Digital urban planning
In the field of sustainable urban development, AIT has created a unique digital platform for researching new forms and technologies for the digital urban planning practice of the future – the City Intelligence Lab (CIL). The laboratory facilities include interactive projection screens and models that create an enhanced collaborative planning environment, and an AI-based urban planning model that combines real-time simulation prediction and generative design to explore sustainable solutions at the intersection of energy, climate and mobility for cities.
- TECNALIA – H2SITE: integrated systems for on-site high-quality hydrogen
Through advanced membrane reactor design that applies process intensification, startup H2SITE’s solutions provide a relevant cost reduction for on-site high purity hydrogen production, saving costly transportation and avoiding waste compression energy, with no leaks linked to the compression/decompression phases. The system is totally modular to achieve the desired production levels: from 2 Nm3/h to what you need, with maximum availability. Green hydrogen can be produced by taking advantage of renewable flows and feedstock such as BIOGAS, BIOETHANOL, or BIOMETHANOL.
TECNALIA and the Technological University of Eindhoven-TUE first began collaborating on European Projects around metal deposition technologies ten years ago. Then in 2018 we were honoured to receive the second EARTO Innovation award. In 2019, we decided to create a startup in Bilbao, and in 2020 we are working on acceleration towards commercial customers, thanks to ENGIE New Ventures.
Attend the Summit for greater insight on the RTO and industry initiatives promoting European Industrial Competitiveness.