Supporting and accompanying industrial companies in their digitalisation process has been one of the major activities of the Luxembourg Materials & Manufacturing Cluster during the year 2019.

Projects such as those of Husky or Ceratizit are emblematic, but are far from being isolated cases.

Smaller structures also excel in this field, such as the SME Ferro-Tech, which won an award in the framework of the Grande Région Interreg Prodpilot project for its digital transformation (the cluster was also a member of the jury). This is proof of the importance of the approach for industrial players.

Cross-sectorial approach

“We brought together more than 150 people at the 1st cross-sectoral ‘Smart Manufacturing’ conference on 7 November”,  the manager of the Materials & Manufacturing cluster Caroline Muller proudly stated,. “This event was an opportunity to present the national strategy to Luxembourg industry and to receive feedback on concrete achievements and exchanges of good practices in the field of digitalisation for SMEs”.

This conference, the second edition of which is already planned for next November, was obviously one of the highlights of the year. 2019 was also marked by another major event: the first cross-sectoral HealthTech/ICT/Manufacturing conference in September, which brought together 250 participants. The conference dealt with innovative technologies applied to the health sector.

At the same time, the cluster pursued its primary mission of connecting and linking the players with each other. By this means, in 2019, more than 60 industrial contacts were identified and no less than 13 companies were supported for innovation projects.

Interactive app

In order to further improve exchanges and interactions between players in the sector, the Luxembourg Materials & Manufacturing Cluster has set up a mobile application: “Materials cluster”. It allows manufacturers to have simple and direct access to a group of materials analytical experts (Materials analytics group). This enables them to communicate and share information with other partners in real time.

Another theme is also closely addressed by the cluster: that of plastics, their recycling and the future of this commonly used material. Following on from the “Greater Region Plastic Conference” organised at the end of 2018, other initiatives were carried out and a workshop was organised in 2019 on chemical recycling technologies and its interest for the country.

“In the future, materials must not only be multifunctional, but also meet ecological and circular economy requirements,” points out Caroline Muller. “Ecodesign must be developed and systematically applied to all new product manufacturing: controlling the end-of-life of materials is no longer an option but an obligation. In this context, the recycling of all plastics, in particular, will be a priority.”

The continuation of efforts and developments in the area of digitalisation will also be on the agenda for 2020, at all levels. “Industry must progressively digitise/automate low added value tasks”, confirms Mrs Muller. “The idea is to be able to retrieve data on processes, analyse them and optimise them by means of data analytics in order to be able to control them digitally”.

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