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DIGITbrain project has started: Major innovation project will help SMEs join the digitalisation wave

The Horizon 2020-funded innovation project, DIGITbrain, has started, and the plan is for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies from all over Europe to benefit from AI-based on-demand production.

[Translate to English:] Projektet åbner op for en helt ny fremstillingsmodel, som giver virksomheder mulighed for rentabel on-demand produktion af endog meget specialiserede produkter. Her professor Peter Gorm Larsen. Foto: AU Foto.

The global manufacturing industry is in constant and rapid development, among other things driven by new requirements for personalisation and interoperability between new products and technologies. At the same time, legislation and standards are becoming stricter, the environment needs more protection and less pollution, and collective know-how is at risk because the workforce is growing older.

Keeping up with competitors therefore often requires significant investment in the latest digital technologies and advanced equipment, which is particularly challenging for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often cannot afford such investments, and which find it difficult to know in advance whether their investment will pay off.

DIGITbrain is a new pan-European innovation programme with support from the EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, of more than DKK 62 million. The programme will give SMEs easy access to digital twins.

A digital twin is the virtual representation of a product, a system or a process that simulates its physical properties in the real world in real time. By continuously collecting data from the physical counterpart, production companies can streamline their manufacturing processes via digital twins, and predict machine breakdowns or maintenance needs, for example.

The DIGITbrain concept will go further than other digital twin concepts currently being used by manufacturing companies, as it will develop a 'Digital Product Brain' to store data through the life cycle of a whole production line or a machine. By collecting this data, it will be possible to adapt and set up machines/production assets for very specific tasks as the need arises.

This will allow for a brand-new manufacturing model, Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS), which will enable companies to implement profitable on-demand production of even very specialised products in very small quantities.

The DIGITbrain project will demonstrate through real industrial solutions how the project and its services can be used to strengthen SMEs through MaaS.

The project officially started on 1 July 2020 and is a collaboration between 36 international partners. The project will run for 3½ years, and SMEs from all over Europe will be able to apply for the project via two open calls to be announced later.


Professor Peter Gorm Larsen
AU Engineering, Aarhus University
Mail: pgl@eng.au.dk
Tel.: +45 41893260