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Cluster: Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics

There are many challenges for (SME) companies. The declining availability of a skilled workforce is increasingly visible. Costs of energy, materials and labour are increasing.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine show the global dependencies on supply chains, for example through scarcity of raw materials or war on talents and/or knowledge. Furthermore, there is the need for more circularity within the economy in order to bring more balance in economic growth, to safeguard nature, and to foster an economy with less waste and more re-use of materials.

Digitization and the automation of processes and products can help with these challenges. It enables smarter, more efficient, and flexible production. It can increase labour productivity and improve work conditions. It keeps our economic activities globally competitive, can re-shore production back to Europe and by doing so, increase the strategic autonomy of Europe. Key challenge is to make state-of-the-art technology easily accessible for SME companies in sectors such as ICT, artificial intelligence and robotics.

In Germany, the Netherlands and Europe, there are many programmes and projects to stimulate digitisation, advanced manufacturing and robotisation. In order to create an independent, resilient and attractive cross-border industrial region, the goal should be to connect these programmes and make them broadly available to SMEs and the industry. One example is the EU programme EDIH, but also national programmes aimed at creating the right mindset, developing training programmes and stimulating up-skilling of employees.

In the region of North Westphalia and the East Netherlands the following institutions are very active in Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics: