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Factories of the Future Roadmap

EFFRA vision for a manufacturing partnership in Horizon Europe


The EFFRA vision for a manufacturing partnership in Horizon Europe, launched in March 2019, highlights the importance of focusing on European impact. In order to do this efficiently, the manufacturing PPP under Horizon Europe should focus on key priorities under the common headline ‘co-creation through manufacturing eco-systems’:

  • Excellent, responsible and smart manufacturing systems
  • Zero-environmental impact, customer-driven value networks
  • Parallel product and manufacturing engineering
  • Human-driven innovation


Those key priorities can be realized through the deployment of enabling technologies and approaches including:

  • Advanced, smart material and product processing technologies, and process chains (additive manufacturing, joining, shaping, structuring, surface tailoring, etc.)
  • Smart mechatronic systems, devices and components
  • Intelligent and autonomous handling, robotics, assembly and logistic technologies
  • De-manufacturing, recycling technologies, and life-cycle analysis approaches
  • Energy and power supply technologies: storage, distribution and management solutions
  • Simulation and modelling (digital twins) covering the material processing level up to manufacturing system, and factory and value network level
  • Robust and secure industrial real-time communication technologies, and distributed control architectures
  • Data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and deployment of digital platforms for data management and sharing
  • New business and new organisational approaches, including links with regulatory aspects such as safety, data ownership, and liability


Currently, focus actions are being derived from the above elements, in order to detail and prioritise the required research and innovation actions that need to be called for in a rolling two-yearly process.


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Factories 4.0 and Beyond


“Factories 4.0 and Beyond” is at the heart of EFFRA’s strategic discussions with the European Commission on the key priorities and headlines for the ‘Factories of the Future’ work programme 2018-19-20.


The key priorities and research headlines described in ‘Factories 4.0 and Beyond’ are based upon the ‘Factories of the Future’ vision laid out in the ‘Factories of the Future 2020’ roadmap.


‘Factories 4.0 and Beyond’ provides an update of ‘Factories of the Future 2020’ by taking into account the increasing impact of advanced ICT technologies in manufacturing in synergy with advanced material processing technologies and mechatronics systems.


‘Factories 4.0 and Beyond’ identifies five key priorities focus areas and targets which EFFRA proposes for the ‘Factories of the Future’ work programme 2018-19-20:

  • Agile value networks: Lot-size one–distributed manufacturing.
  • Excellence in manufacturing: Advanced manufacturing processes and services for zero-defect and innovative processes and products.
  • The human factor: Developing human competences in synergy with technological progress.
  • Sustainable value networks: Manufacturing driving the circular economy.
  • Inter-operable digital manufacturing platforms: Supporting an ecosystem of manufacturing services.

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Factories of the Future 2020


The 'Factories of the Future' public-private partnership (PPP) under Horizon 2020 is centred on the priorities of ‘Factories of the Future 2020’, an ambitious and far-sighted strategic multi-annual research roadmap produced by EFFRA.


‘Factories of the Future 2020’ is the basis for research call topics and the overall direction of research in the ‘Factories of the Future’ public-private partnership under Horizon 2020.


The roadmap was developed over a period of 24 months though working meetings including discussions with the European Commission within the ‘Factories of the Future' public-private partnership Ad-hoc Industrial Advisory Group (AIAG) and close consultations with representatives of companies and RTOs organised in other related European technology platforms.

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Research Priorities

Against a background of mega-trends (such as globalisation, resource scarcity and the global knowledge society) and following the Manufacturing 2030 vision, European manufacturing sectors need to undergo innovation-driven transformations.


The 'Factories of the Future' PPP identifies and realises these transformations by pursuing a set of research priorities along the following research and innovation domains:

  • Advanced manufacturing processes
  • Adaptive and smart manufacturing systems
  • Digital, virtual and resource-efficient factories
  • Collaborative and mobile enterprises
  • Human-centred manufacturing
  • Customer-focused manufacturing

Each of these domains embodies a particular aspect of the required transformations towards the factories of the future.


Challenges and Opportunities

  • The research and innovation activities undertaken within the domains will focus on a concrete and measurable set of targets, described as manufacturing challenges and opportunities:
  • Manufacturing the products of the future: Addressing the ever changing needs of society and offering the potential of opening new markets
  • Economic sustainability of manufacturing: Combining high-performance and quality with cost-effective productivity, realising reconfigurable, adaptive and evolving factories capable of small scale production in an economically viable way
  • Social sustainability of manufacturing: Integrating human skills with technology
  • Environmental sustainability of manufacturing: Reducing resource consumption and waste generation


Addressing these challenges and opportunities is at the core of what the Factories of the Future PPP is determined to achieve.


Technologies and Enablers


Achieving the identified transformations requires a coordinated research and innovation effort, where manufacturing challenges and opportunities are addressed by deploying technologies and enablers identified as advanced manufacturing processes and technologies, mechatronics for advanced manufacturing systems, ICT, manufacturing strategies, knowledge-workers and modelling, simulation and forecasting methods and tools.


Download 'Factories of the Future 2020'