You are here
SMEs and smart manufacturing – Standards as accelerators of industry change
The industrial sector is an important asset of the European Union generating growth and employment. According to the European Commission, “a strong industrial base is a prerequisite for the independence, autonomy and prosperity of the EU.” Nevertheless, the EU industry needs to undergo important transformations to meet environmental goals while remaining globally competitive. In the context of an uncertain future, it has become vital to innovate to meet changing circumstances.
SMEs have traditionally been a significant part of the European manufacturing landscape. In 2020, the European manufacturing sector included more than 2 million enterprises employing nearly 30 million persons. Around 59% of all enterprises within the sector are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These companies generate about 45% of the total added manufacturing value, they are an important pillar of the European economy.
One of the key drivers of the new strategy for the transformation of the European industry is digitalisation. The fourth industrial revolution, also referred to Industry 4.0 or Smart Manufacturing, is the next phase in the digitisation of the manufacturing sector, characterised by the rise of data and connectivity and human-machine interaction. Smart manufacturing also plays a crucial role in promoting environmentally sustainable practices within the industrial sector. Optimising processes and minimising waste through real-time data analysis and predictive maintenance, reduces energy consumption and resource usage.
Closing the SBS Meeting Standards campaign, this conference, moderated by Jenny Baker, focussed on the opportunities and challenges smart manufacturing brings to SMEs and discussed the role of standards in the digitalisation of manufacturing and the adoption of new manufacturing technologies.