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Update on SPIR 2013 – Future production systems

January 10, 2013
The Danish Council for Strategic Research and the Danish Council for Technology and Innovation's detailed description of the SPIR theme 2013 on Future production systems


In 2013, the Danish Council for Strategic Research and the Danish Council for Technology and Innovation will be awarding up to DKK 64 million for a Strategic Platform for Innovation and Research within the theme "Future production systems".

The following is a detailed description of this theme. The thematic description will also be presented in the call, which is due for release on 5 March 2012.

Future production systems

The challenge

Danish companies are under global competitive pressure. At the same time, Denmark is witnessing relatively weak productivity increases. In order to sustain their global competitiveness, many Danish companies have relocated their manufacturing facilities to countries with lower costs and closer proximity to major customer clusters. Other companies are reliant on maintaining their production in Denmark because this is where the necessary raw materials are located. Given that the manufacturing sector is a significant national economic factor for Denmark, the challenge lies in facilitating production in such a way as to make it attractive for companies to locate their manufacturing in Denmark.

The development of efficient production systems is influenced by the overall effect of a large number of factors such as: a flexible workforce and production technology, options for rapid production switches, employee skills, design, resource-efficiency in terms of materials consumption, environmental and energy sustainability, occupational health and safety, organisation, close integration with customer development and needs etc. 

Research and innovation needs

Research and innovation under ”Future production systems” must pave the way for the development of new, efficient and enhanced types of production that will be capable of making production in Denmark more competitive and attractive to companies and society at large. Topics under this theme might address development in the use of technologies, materials, plant, organisational forms etc.; in sum, parts of, or entire, production systems.

Funding will be available for research and innovation at a high international level, which addresses issues such as:

  • Development of innovative and productive manufacturing technology, including optimisation potential via the use of IT systems
  • Managerial, training and organisational issues in relation to development and implementation of new technologies and production types
  • New types of innovation within the manufacturing sector driven by, for instance, development integration with customers, sub-suppliers and employees, together with market- and design-driven innovation
  • Flexible and quality-assured production systems that are also sustainable and resource-efficient
  • Lifecycle considerations relating to the financial, energy and environmental factors entailed by new types of production
  • Occupational health and safety issues, including, for instance, the link between automated production and plant operators
  • New business models for the manufacturing industry

The complexity and diversity of production systems steps up the need for an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to research and innovation within this domain. It will be relevant to incorporate a number of different technologies and specialist fields within production systems, including traditional mechanical engineering, information and communication technology (ICT), metrology, biotechnology, photonics, materials technology, sensors, robotics, intelligent production control, micro- and nano-scale technologies etc.

It is imperative that the issues are addressed not only from a technological perspective, but equally in relation to market, consumers and behaviour, as well as regulatory, resource economics and business economics aspects.
Research and innovation must be geared to challenges and development, and importance will be attached to the involvement of relevant enterprises, knowledge-disseminators (e.g. innovation networks) and private- and public-sector users as active partners in the research and innovation activities, and that the activities make up a cohesive whole without unaddressed sub-challenges. Insofar as the Danish research and innovation needs mirror international trends, it will be imperative for the identified Danish needs to be linked to and aligned with international activities.

See also the more comprehensive description of this area in RESEARCH2020 under the theme entitled: ”Future production systems and new types of innovation".