Reasons for the Project

Chain project aims to contribute to the Digitizing European Industry initiative.  Currently we are suffering a 'de-industrialisation' process, in part due to the rise of manufacturing in other parts of the world and the growing automation. In 2012, in response to this decline in the relative importance of industry, the EC set a target that manufacturing should represent 20% of total value added in the EU by 2020. Industry 4.0 (I4.0) could boost the productivity and value added of European industries and stimulate economic growth. As part of its new Digital Single Market Strategy, the EC wants to help all industrial sectors exploit new technologies and manage a transition to a smart industrial system. What I4.0 is trying to achieve is the improvement of the manufacturing process by utilizing atomization and data collecting. The effects of which are brought on by the implementation sensors, microcomputers and transceivers that allow the whole factory to not only have its physical embodiment, as also as a cyber-physical structure. This fact and cloud computing and other state of the art technologies will allow the machines to communicate with each in real time allowing for better performance, larger flexibility in product customization, decrease in labour costs, lower waste creation and the downtime of machines would be optimized.

Chain project aims to provide a basis for the creation of new competencies for HE students and SMEs (managers and owners) to deal with the change brought by this “revolution”. Europe needs to learn to deal with a profound digitisation of society which is already blurring the lines between workers and self-employed, goods and services, or consumers and producers. there are challenges for SMEs in participating in I4.0 supply chains (costs, risks, reduced flexibility and reduced strategic independence).


The Project will produce the following results:
  1. Brochure - Chain Position Paper on I4.0, encompassing, in addition to the definition of I4.0 and its main defining elements, a discussion of innovation and I4.0, a review of theories of innovation and technological revolution and illustrative examples of the transformation impacting at the economy and society in general by I4.0 and particularly on SMEs.
  2. Battery of Case Studies - A collection of 8 prospective case studies of SMEs that in partner countries try to meet the challenges posed by Industry 4.0. The Battery collects the strategies and practices implemented in the context of the growing digitization and the challenges the new paradigm poses and the practical impacts on work, employment, skills and business models.
  3. Course: Strategic Digitisation of Organisations – The Course, based on a Manual for learners, is an innovative learning opportunity to empowering, extending and developing HE students and SMEs (managers & owners) knowledge and competencies, for assisting their role in meeting the needs of companies towards I4.0. The course is composed by five modules and organise in F2F sessions, including a practical Lab. Duration of 70 contact hours, 130 total hours and 6 ECTS. The scientific areas are Management and Engineering
  4. Strategic Guidelines - A concise and focused document for supplying HE organisations with relevant information for creating a new Curriculum capable of generating the new skills required by Industry 4.0 and notably by the European SMEs in the digital economy
  5. Interactive Documentary: Industry 4.0 - What future for European SMEs in the digital economy? – Web interactive documentary under a non-linear production that combines text, audio, films, photos and infographics. Aims to construct a discourse linked to the knowledge and reality of European SMEs in the digital economy. Being an interactive work, the narrative advances through the actions taken by the users through public interface. The viewer acquires control of navigation, in a way becoming the author or creator of its own personalized documentary and this way giving meaning and building own learning and reasoned opinion on the subject. The interactive documentary, by its very nature, will be only freely accessible online via the project website and in five languages (PT; BG; FR; DE and EN).
  6. An exploitation Compendium (with pen) for handing out to interested stakeholders, target audience and policy makers, a way to enhance the sustainability of the project and its main outputs. To be available in PT; BG; FR; DE and EN. It includes four of the Chain outputs - O1 Brochure – Chain Position Paper; O2 Battery of Case Studies; O3 Course – Strategic Digitisation of Organisations (with Manual) and  O4 Strategic Guidelines – offering a new HE Curriculum about Industry 4.0.