Caroline Muller, what do you remember about the year 2021 that has just ended?

“As in many other economic sectors, it was obviously a complex year for manufacturing companies with both financial and logistical challenges to be handled.

Some had to deal with delays in the planning of their innovation projects, particularly those most affected by the shortage of raw materials. However, others were finally able to launch innovation projects relating to the ecologic and digital transformation.

Unquestionably, the state aid put in place to support ‘post-COVID’ investments has been welcome and has enabled a good number of companies to get through the crisis.”

Finally, I would also like to mention the great success of the 2021 edition of Smart Manufacturing Week. Through the various online sessions, but also during the face-to-face part of the event, we discussed themes covering all aspects enabling companies to be sustainable, ecological and digital.

What are the major challenges facing the manufacturing sector in 2022?

“The first one is regulatory: players will have to be able to meet environmental requirements, particularly in terms of decarbonising the manufacturing sector.

Secondly, it will be necessary to find the appropriate resources and skills in the digital and energy fields in order to implement all these requirements.

Finally, companies should not give in to gloom and should pursue their innovation projects, despite the financial and logistical difficulties they face.”

What are the main projects that the Luxembourg Manufacturing & Materials Cluster is working on?

“Thanks to the complete mapping of the manufacturing ecosystem carried out in collaboration with Luxinnovation’s Market Intelligence department, we have a global and very precise view of the players in the sector. It is therefore possible for us to better identify and define the priority value chains to support. These may be local or regional. We are also working to strengthen cross-border collaborations.

In addition, we are continuing to work on the decarbonisation of the manufacturing sector, and we are developing a project to support companies in this field. This is also being done with the establishment of a Sustainability Innovation Hub within Luxinnovation, in close collaboration with other sectors, notably cleantech and the automotive industry. The hub will be able to effectively support companies in their sustainability efforts.

Finally, encouraged by the success of the 2021 edition, we are preparing this year’s Smart Manufacturing Week, which will take place in June. It will present use cases for manufacturing companies of all sizes, with the aim of showing how to become a smart and sustainable company. There will be round tables with companies and key players from Luxembourg, as well as matchmaking opportunities.”

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