Almost all current roadmaps on industrial technology will highlight the need to push for higher digitalization of industry, set industry 4.0 as a goal, and work towards “the internet of things”. What is striking is that the core paradigm for which all these developments are intended, is not described. In fact, it is assumed that all such developments should be directed towards an optimization of the current mass customization paradigm. This paradigm, whether one calls it mass personalization or mass production represents absolutely no revolution!
XPRES distinguishes itself by proposing an entirely new paradigm for the industry of the future. Instead of treating sustainability and digitalization as separate objectives, XPRES uses both simultaneously to drive all R&D efforts. Projects such as ReCiPs, MAESTRO, CAP-4-SMEs and SYM-BIOtic are clear examples of such a radical approach: the industrial partners are assisted in changing their business models such that waste is minimized, resources re-used and data exploitation maximized.
The long-term vision was developed on the basis of three fundamental pillars: technology shift, social empowerment and economic support. The transformation of industry towards radically new and sustainable production forms will require similar efforts of society and economic structures, hence this approach. The main topics may vary and will certainly need continuous updating as the world treads totally new grounds.
This updated vision will form three new Priority Areas, which correspond to the “three pillars”: technology, society and economics.
By 2024 XPRES will have implemented a way of working in line with the new vision and demonstrated it through pilot industrial example showing clear impact on the sustainability pillars. This will be achieved through establishing a stable, cross-discipline, cooperation among incumbent and new faculties aimed at keeping the research profile always on the forefront of the international effort to develop and integrate technology towards the challenge of sustainable manufacturing.
Priority areas: Change of strategic area to reflect our current research
Digitalization and sustainability are the two of the most powerful influences in today’s industrial landscape. The digital transformation will enable new kind of industrial ecosystems of high-innovative actors acting together with their core expertise to provide value through new types of digital products and product-service-systems on a global market. Digitalization and sustainability have spawned a massive amount of research about how they will change management practice, and more broadly, business and society.
The intersection of these trends, however, remains largely unexplored territory. Examples of these two trends converging within the organization abound, from clean technologies to greening production processes and material. While attention is paid to these shifts individually, less attention is directed to understanding how these trends combine to reshape the market conditions in which organizations operate.
The priority areas at XPRES are:
- PA1: Industrial Transformation through digitalization, mechanization and automation
- PA2: Integrated mechanics, materials and production system design
- PA3: System-level efforts: challenge driven
Future role and development
The figure below summarizes the XPRES plans for the coming 10 years. XPRES is now strongly supported through financing by external projects (national & international), it has a growing network of industrial & academic partners, and has received several awards for its results. The ultimate goal is to truly establish a new paradigm through which industry and society can provide a sustainable and balanced cycle: A true industrial revolution by combining the goals of sustainability and digitalization supported by realistic business models and breakthrough technologies.