“New technologies are changing Europe's industrial landscape. The only way for European SMEs to compete on the global market is not on scale, but by seizing the opportunities of the digital transformation and competing on knowledge, efficiency and creativeness.” Peter Statev, Chairman of the Board, Maribor Conference
What is ICT Cluster doing in order to speed up digital transformation in Bulgarian SMEs?
DigiTech 4.0 - one-stop-shop, serving Bulgarian companies to digitize their business
In line of the ICT Cluster main activities and aims for supporting Industrial Modernization and Value Chain Linkages, in 2017 ICT Cluster together with Center of Excellence of Technical University - Sofia and Move BG established Bulgarian Innovation and Technology Hub – DigiTech 4.0.
ICT Cluster is the coordinating organization of DigiTech 4.0
The DIH is supported by 22 organizations including Sofia Tech Park , research institutions, business support organizations (clusters and industry associations), research and technology organizations, universities, venture capitalists, companies - technology providers, key enabling technology providers, training and educational institutions and government authorities.
DigiTech 4.0 is among the 34 DIHs supported by Smart Factories in new EU Member states programme ( https://smartfactories.eu ) and taking part in a Training & Mentoring Program for successful business plan development, leaded by PwC
DigiTech 4.0 is a part of several Networks of DIHs such as:
- AgROBOfood ( https://agrobofood.eu ) - a network of 39 organizations, dedicated to accelerate the digital transformation of the European agri-food sector through the adoption of robotic technologies
- DIH World ( https://dihworld.eu ) - pan-European network of DIHs accelerating the uptake of advanced digital technologies by European manufacturing SMEs
Mission and Vision
The mission: to drive digital transformation and smart manufacturing of Bulgarian companies
Industrial focus: automotive, mechatronics and ICT sectors in Bulgaria
The vision: to become a national center supporting companies’ competitiveness through digital transformation and thus to have a significant positive impact on industrial sectors in Bulgaria and the region.
The competitive advantages - knowledge, expertise, network and access to the necessary facilities and infrastructure for prototyping, process improvement, product development and testing.
DigiTecH 4.0. – portfolio of services
For more information, visit the DigiTech’s web page: https://industry4bg.com/
- Status Quo
In the framework of Smart Factory Project, financed by the Danube INTERREG programme, ICT Cluster performed a survey among Bulgarian manufacturing companies in order to identify the state and the position of these companies in the process of digitization and smart manufacturing.
The basic conclusions from the survey are:
- From a technical perspective (systems and solutions) the Smart manufacturing is not well perceived among Bulgarian SMEs,
- SMEs have difficulties to understand the benefits brought by the digital transformation.
- SMEs are facing a variety of challenges when it comes to the implementation of Smart manufacturing technologies, but the most important two are related to the lack of information/knowledge and investment for implementation.
- Only 16 % of SMEs currently use the Smart manufacturing systems/solutions in their organization.
- Advanced manufacturing transformation
As a coordinator of DigiTech 4.0, ICT Cluster became a member of ADMA adviser network aiming to support European SMEs in their “Factory of the Future” (FoF) development.
Using the European advance manufacturing methodology, developed by ADMA, ICT Cluster is leading Bulgarian manufacturing SMEs through their process of transformation towards next – generation factories.
ADMA`s transformation process:
The European Commission has launched a very important pan-European initiative to establish a European Advanced Manufacturing (ADMA) Support Centre ( http://www.adma.ec ) to help SMEs assess the possibility of adopting advanced manufacturing solutions and transforming their organisation towards next-generation factories with more competitive, modern and sustainable production.
In April 2019 DigiTech 4.0, coordinated by ICT Cluster, became a member of ADMA Support Centre and was certified to use and implement the methodology in order to support Bulgarian manufacturing companies to improve their business performance.
The ADMA transformation methodology:
The methodology consists of seven transformation domains, both technological and non-technological, to assist companies in terms of competitiveness, skills, technologies, intelligent production, customer focus, talent and etc.
Transformation 1: Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
Transformation 2: Digital Factory
Transformation 3: ECO Factory
Transformation 4: End-to-End Customer Focused Engineering
Transformation 5: Human Centred Organization
Transformation 6: Smart Manufacturing
Transformation 7: Value-Chain Oriented Open Factory
ICT Cluster’s team assess the maturity level of SMEs, help them set realistic expectations for transformation depending on their current state of development and provide a transformation and implementation plan.
SMEs that are interested to receive support to improve their business processes may contact our ADMA advisor – Krasimira Shindarova – email@example.com
Smart Factory Cooperation Platform
The Smart Factory Cooperation Platform (SFCP), has been developed within Smart Factory Hub project. The platform supports SMEs by providing a geographic overview and give some information about actors, good practices, projects and facilitators and, thus, foster the match between the demand (production/ manufacturing organizations) and supply (solution providers) tendencies.
- Bringing together solution providers and manufacturing SMEs
We enable innovative companies to present their digitization solutions to companies and partners across Europe.
If you have an innovative product or service that you want to present to the European market and which can increase productivity, increase efficiency, production efficiency, reduce risk or offer another solution for modernization and digitization of manufacturing enterprises - do not hesitate to contact us!
The mapping tool consists of five main panels of which some have additional four subcategories to choose from and the search bar with numerous filtering options. All of this is accompanied by the interactive map.
Users can lessen the inputted organizations list by selecting commands/values from four dropdown subcategories with a series of relevant options, namely Country, Market sectors, Organization type and Services provided, which allows them to perform a custom search.
There are also panels for projects panel, Funding schemes, Product and services and the Facilitators
Companies and other organizations can and are welcomed to register by clicking on the “Register your organization” button and filling in the requested data.
- Cross – regional Voucher scheme
Cross-regional pilot voucher scheme was developed within Smart Factory Hub project. The main aim of the scheme was to introduce smart and innovative solutions into production processes by supporting transnational transfer of smart solutions (i.e., Smart manufacturing) into domestic production-oriented micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The vouchers have to improve the efficiency of production-oriented micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through the transfer of smart and innovative technical solutions into production processes that in the context of demonstration projects show improvements in the areas of (1) cost-effectiveness, (2) quality assurance and (3) risks management, and consequently promote transition to Industry 4.0.
ICT Cluster provided two vouchers of the amount of 7 500 euro to two companies, in line with the execution of project Smart Factory Hub, that were approved and did feasibility studies on technology transfer of smart solution and the implementation of it into their production processes. The organizations that received vouchers are:
- Mechanical design and constructions ltd. -conducted a feasibility study for implementation of the automated welding systemthat will increasing productivity, reducing the cost of a welding operation, gain the ability to process larger volumes of products and reduces the probability of human error during execution
- Europack Bulgaria ltd. - managed a feasibility study on custom made ERP system with interfaces for other accounting and CRM systems. N.E.X.T platform is a production tablet based system for collecting in line data and will provide an internal quality control during the production process