The automation focused organization SHOP4CF has announced their offer of €100,000 for ventures in the manufacturing environment for use-cases where human safety and well-being at work can be improved, and the highly connected factory model pursued.
Smart Human Oriented Platform for Connected Factories (SHOP4CF), is an EU-funded project through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with a goal to showcase cost-effective automation solutions with a human-centric focus, giving time for workers to add value in creativity and agility areas and to not be replaced by automation. SHOP4CF’s vision understands that a productive future requires both machine skills and human resources.
Automation is the future for many industries and manufacturing is the obvious industry for adoption. According to SHOP4CF, around 10% of enterprises active in the EU are in the manufacturing sector with roughly 22% of all workers employed in the sector. Which represents a huge opportunity for automation enthusiasts and an incoming challenge for industry leaders and Governments.
Latest reports estimate that 96% of all workers in Europe are at threat from automation and 45-60% could be replaced by 2030. Continuing innovation in automation and AI is also adding more pressure for a technically skilled workforce and less demand for basic cognitive, manual and physical skills. The vision championed by SHOP4CF indicates that an inclusive and compassionate form of technological advancement is possible so that all can benefit from automation. While pursuing the highly connected factory model will not only allow a company to reap the benefits of the data generated, but also show new areas in production where automation can be considered.
While automation and reducing human labor, such as through robotics completing repetitive tasks, can doubtlessly lower costs and solve challenges, there are wider implications for widespread adoption of automation which EU policy makers are keen to predict and get ahead of.
Back in the US, recent estimates suggest that robot workers are being hired at record rates with factories and industrial organizations ordering around 29,000 robots during the first nine months of 2021, a 37% increase on the previous year. US policymakers would do well to take notes from SHOP4CF and increase the number of initiatives that are advancing the benefits of automation, and mitigating the challenges.
With 20 partners including ISDI, Bosch, Volkswagen and Siemens, SHOP4CF consortium, in their previous open call, helped five organizations and they received €100,000 each on a specific use-case in countries from Spain, France, Poland and Serbia.
In a company statement the accelerator’s partner Jesús Tapia, Head of ISDI Accelerator said, “The announcement of this new funding initiative will hopefully serve as the catalyst that sparks new innovations with widespread applications across Europe – the home of industrialized manufacturing – with minimal impact on skilled workers and entrepreneurs.”
Organizations backed by SHOP4CF will receive the €100,000 funding as well as an additional eight month support program with mentoring from the collective’s 20 constituent partners in the areas of technology and fundraising. This support is designed for business leaders and other stakeholders.
This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company