Historically, Catalonia has always been at the forefront of previous industrial revolutions. Today it still maintains its potential and its pioneer status in Industry 4.0 thanks to local talent and entrepreneurial spirit, a solid industrial base, a strong ICT sector and a strategic commitment to innovation and internationalization.
One of the areas that best exemplifies this transformation digital is advanced and additive manufacturing and 3D printing. This June 21-23, the first edition of the Fair “In(3D)ustry, From Needs to Solutions” was held in Barcelona. It was attended by major companies such as HP, Hofmann, REnishaw or Nexeo Solutions; technology centres such as Eureco and Leitat; and the main Catalan companies and distributors in the sector.
The global additive manufacturing sector was valued at 1,900 million dollars in 2011 and it is expected that total sales could reach 100,000 million dollars in 2020. In this regard, there are segments that are growing at rates of over 30% yearly.
Additive manufacturing has attracted the interest of companies, governing bodies such as the European Commission, and countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, all of which have launched various initiatives to support it. Also, in Catalonia, the Catalan Government has announced that it will promote the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Cluster in response to Industry 4.0 challenges and apply sector innovations through business collaboration.
Catalonia gives impetus to its commitment to Industry 4.0
Apart from this specific initiative, the Catalan government has designed an action plan to promote Industry 4.0 in Catalonia along five main lines:
- Support for R&D, innovation and investment in the Industry 4.0 field, with a budget of €406M coming from ERDF funds and the Catalan Government for the period 2014-2020.
- Search for international opportunities by organizing trade missions to benchmark countries in this field – such as the mission to Germany – and participation in European projects such as the Vanguard Initiative.
- Promotion of business collaboration for Industry 4.0 implementation under the Clusters Catalonia programme as well as the promotion of a new cluster specialized in advanced manufacturing.
- Both dissemination and identification of trends and opportunities in trade fairs and congresses held in Barcelona such as the Mobile World Congress, the IoT Solutions World Congress, the Smart City Expo and In(3D)ustry.
- Implementation of strategic projects such as the Industrial Ring 4.0, an i2CAT and Eureco initiative that aims to accelerate the convergence of industries and ICT.