Interreg is an EU funding programme for regional development which calls for thematic priorities for which researchers can apply with project ideas. The originator of the Machining 4.0 project is the project consortium coordinated by Sirris, a Belgian cooperation centre for the technology industry.
As Switzerland does not receive any funding from the EU regional fund, the Swiss project partners are financed by a combination of the Confederation and the Cantons.
A number of measures are to be developed and implemented within the framework of the project over the next three years in order to support the digital transformation of SMEs in the machining industry. The aim is to prevent the migration of manufacturing from high-wage countries to lower labour cost foreign countries.
Knowledge and know-how transfer is one of the measures. To achieve this, the project is planning an international online portal that will make the know-how of the machining industry on the subject of digitisation available in English. The homepage for the portal is already online at www.machining4.eu. An intelligent search function will enable interested parties to obtain comprehensive information on the current state of technology, existing technologies, best practices and potential technology partners.
In addition, demonstrators will be created at seven locations to illustrate the various aspects of digitization, from assistance robots to digital work preparation and entire learning factories. Together they will form a field laboratory network. One of the learning factories is being developed at the Institute for Mechatronic Systems (IMS) at the ZHAW, where it is already being used successfully in training.
The demonstrators are intended to offer SMEs the opportunity to study concepts and applications of digitisation, to contribute their own ideas and to test functionalities on a laboratory scale.
Further measures include coaching sessions and financial incentives: SMEs can apply for so-called "vouchers" directly on the homepage machining4.eu in the near future. Fifty selected projects receive financing for the first 12,000 euros in working hours with the voucher.
Swiss Mechatronics' task at Machining 4.0
In the coming months, Swiss Mechatronics will focus on drawing the attention of the metal-cutting industry to the cluster and on gaining active participation in the project. The cluster sees itself as the first point of contact for all Swiss companies that want to get involved in Machining 4.0 or are looking for know-how. Together with industry partners and members, Swiss Mechatronics will supply five so-called Technology Sheets and three testimonials with application examples each year as a Swiss contribution to the know-how platform. Know-how providers are asked to submit ideas for this.