Helping European Manufacturers to Face Challenges of Rapidly Changing Markets
Brussels, Tuesday 18th October 2016: Leading manufacturing experts from research, academia, industry and policy presented the research results of the EU FP7-funded Use-it-Wisely project at an event in Neth-ER (Netherlands House of Education and Research) today.
Results will have widespread impact for European manufacturers, enabling the adaption of high investment complex products and services in rapidly changing markets. Speakers examined how this will affect the changing business environment, and customer needs.
Keynote speaker Dr Erastos Filos from European Commission DG Research and Innovation said:
"Use-It-Wisely has created innovative frameworks and tools using Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality, as well as business models that allow European manufacturers to face the challenges of rapidly changing markets. The research and development activities of Use-It-Wisely address sustainability and thus contribute to the achievement of the European Commission's Circular Economy objectives. The breakthroughs of Use-It-Wisely are applicable across many industrial sectors and will have a direct impact on Europe's competitiveness".
Use-it-Wisely achieved scientific breakthroughs by creating and validating a holistic systems engineering structure. This structure combines human-machine systems, product lifecycle management, business and organisational dynamics. The project's unique approach focused on six industry 'Clusters', bringing together researchers, manufacturers and their customers. This clustering approach gave the project a distinct advantage – by utilising existing links between research organisations and their respective industries, the project was more productive and resulted in greater benefits for the customer.
Use-It-Wisely comprised 20 partners from nine European countries across researchers, manufacturers and their customers. During the three year project, the clusters worked on addressing specific challenges in six sectors: power plant turbines; mobile rock crushers; space products; trucks; shipping; and office furniture.
The other speakers presenting to policy makers and industry groups at today's event included:
· Göran Granholm, Use-it-Wisely Project Coordinator from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd opened the event saying: "Use-it-Wisely will offer a comprehensive solution for improving existing products and services. Through effective upgrade innovation, we can achieve sustainable solutions for demanding customers. This will help industry struggling with keeping abreast of global competition, new technologies and changing requirements."
· Dr Riikka Virkkunen, also from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, presented the overall results and benefits of the project. Each cluster has developed tools and frameworks bringing innovative upgrades to high investment products and services. This allows agile adaption within changing markets and business environments. The cluster results have an impact in their respective industries, but also contribute to reducing waste and increasing competitiveness at a European level. All of the project results focus on the end-user and enhancing the customer experience.
· Karin Verploegen, representing Gispen, presented 'Sustainable Product and Service Upgrades' on behalf of project partners Gispen and TNO. Karin explained their aim was to prolong the lifespan of furniture by implementing the principles of Circular Economy. Gispen and TNO developed two tools to enhance sustainable business practices – designing for upgrades and re-use, measuring the impact of linear and circular use of products, and calculating the reduction of environmental impact.
· Professor Björn Johansson, from Chalmers University of Technology worked with Volvo during the project to enhance factory floor changes in the production of truck cabs. Chalmers worked with Volvo during this project to develop more efficient and better upgrade and change processes He outlined the challenges of continuous changes in the production environment and the subsequent requirements for the production system to be continuously upgraded.
· Tommi Mannerjoki from RD Velho spoke about research carried out on upgrades of mobile rock crushers. With new technologies becoming accessible in 3D scanning, Augmented Reality and Additive Manufacturing, Tommi and his project partners in Metso Minerals researched how to easily gather 3D information from mobile crushing machines and how to manufacture single parts. They tested two different 3D scanning techniques, 3D laser scanning, Augmented Reality, and Additive Manufacturing. Research results will allow better and easier communication between manufacturers, their stakeholders and customers, and for networking success for SMEs.
For more information, visit www.use-it-wisely.eu. Follow developments of the Use-it-Wisely project on Twitter: @UIWFP7. Use-it-Wisely received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 609027.