The initiative will invest 33 million euros to support the digitisation to lead growth of the European manufacturing sector.

March 7th – Created by the European Commission in 2013 in order to boost SMEs competitiveness in the digital era, ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS) begins its third phase to promote the digital innovation of manufacturing SMEs in Europe.

The aim of the I4MS is to ensure that SMEs in Europe can fully benefit from digital innovations to upgrade its products, improve its processes and adapt its business models to the digital age’s challenges.

The third phase will have a global budget of €33 million, which will be added to the nearly €110 million that have been already invested since 2013, to offer technological and financial support to SMEs to experiment with different ICT enabling technologies, digitised Industry 4.0 processes and innovative business models. The funding will allow SMEs and Technology Providers to run small scale experiments to test digital innovations, creating a win-win situation for different actors.

I4MS includes has funded four new projects that are focused in four technology areas: HPC cloud-based simulation (Cloudifacturing), robotics (L4MS), additive manufacturing (Amable) and, finally, cyber physical systems and Internet of things (MIDIH). These four IA will launch 9 open calls for experiments across 2018 and 2019, coming to its successful completion during the first quarter of 2020.

The I4MS experiments extend 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 would enable SMEs to play a stronger role.

Moreover, I4MS is launching an online community to foster the collaboration among the actors involved in digital transformation, the Disruptors awards, that will select the best experiments illustrating the benefits of implementing ICT technologies, and the Skills Observatory, which provides an overview of all digital skills and training materials focused on robotics, HPC and IoT, additive manufacturing and CPS, that are key to the industry’s success.

As part of the I4MS consortium, the FIWARE Foundation drives the engagement with industry stakeholders in Europe.