Europe’s 2020 agenda for digitization and Horizon 2020 plan for R&D funding are significant initiatives to facilitate a more sustained and competitive economy. These long term strategies will eventually trickle down to the manufacturing sector and play a significant role in the future of manufacturing in Europe. The manufacturing sector currently accounts for nearly 15% of Europe’s GDP and will play a significant role in their long-term economic development. In this blog, experts at Infiniti explore some of the key forces that will drive transformation in the future of manufacturing in Europe and disrupt their manufacturing sphere.
Future of Manufacturing in Europe
Nearshoring in Eastern Europe
Although Western Europe is often considered the hub for manufacturing activities, Central and Eastern European countries including Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Czech Republic are expected to become pivots for manufacturing innovation. The easy availability of cash grants and tax incentives, and the accessibility of skilled researchers are some of the key factors enabling this shift.
Rise of industry 4.0
With large sums of money being allocated as a part of the Horizon 2020 R&D funding program, we can expect significant advancements in computing, sensor technologies, and robotics in the future of manufacturing in Europe. If this becomes a reality, the future of manufacturing in Europe will not be far from achieving the vision of connected enterprises.
Carbon neutral manufacturing processes
The growing climate change and carbon emission concerns are putting pressure on manufacturing companies around the world to resort to more eco-friendly production processes. From a manufacturing industry standpoint, it is vital to optimize current energy consumption in the plant and focus on electricity from renewable sources. Moreover, the EU plans to reduce 40% of its carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As a result, we can expect to see several top manufacturing companies embracing the concept of carbon-neutral processes in the future of manufacturing.
Demand for highly-skilled workforce
The demand for low-skilled manufacturing jobs is on a steady decline. The future of manufacturing in Europe will soon undergo a structural shift as a result of rising demand for highly skilled and efficient workforce. Human-centric factories will become a reality that encompasses attributes such as dynamic work environments, skill development, and factories aligned to social environments.
Disruption of nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is one of the key enabling technologies in Europe’s Horizon 2020 plan. This will proliferate new opportunities in sectors such as food and beverage, where non-scale polymers can be used to prevent oxygen from spoiling the food. This also means that companies in the manufacturing sector will soon be focusing on the use of nanotechnology in their production and packaging process to enhance the output.
Energy and geopolitics
From a political standpoint, an important talking point is the lifting of the Iran Sanctions, and Russia and China coming together due to the economic climate in both countries. As a result, there was a cheaper dumping of goods, as was seen with the steel industry. Iran will provide more of a growth opportunity when compared to Russia and China, with certain sectors including aviation and automotive expected to see opportunities galore.