I4MS: A European initiative for manufacturing boosting the Hungarian standard of living

Hungary: leaping towards digitalization and Industry 4.0.

Manufacturing SMEs are in a front line of the fourth industrial revolution. At the same time, difficulties in implementing Industry 4.0 practices are slowing down the pathway to the digitalisation of society. Hungarian SMEs must access the support to be at the forefront of Europe.

According to a Corvinus University of Budapest study (2021), Hungarian SMEs are moderate innovators and invest less in their employees’ training: “The Hungarian government should promote SME owners’ and managers’ change of attitudes related to digitalisation and innovation. In addition, supporting employees’ training activities is also crucial to improve SMEs’ digitalisation and adopt I4.0 technologies”.

The same study points out the lack of data to define if government measures have impacted the development of high-tech manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services. Nevertheless, it remarks that supplier development and Industry 4.0 programmes are relevant enough in economic policy to expect some improvements. Economic cycles have also to be considered: “The role of the Hungarian government is to continue to support SMEs’ innovation activities and digital transformation to increase their role in high-tech manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services”.

“Digital Welfare Financial Programme” to develop SMEs’ digital infrastructure and digital competencies

In the case of digitalisation, the Digital Welfare Programme (2015), aim was to support digital transformation awareness for entrepreneurs and society. Two main strategies were adopted and harmonised to integrate the industry 4.0 principles for Hungarian SMEs:  

  • Digital Export Development Strategy: to enhance export by using ICT tools 
  • Digital Start-up Strategy: to support the creation and development of innovative start-ups with high growth potential 

The programme’s update (renamed Digital Prosperity Program 2030) aims to respond to the identified challenges and opportunities and continue supporting society’s transformation into digitalisation changes. 

In addition, since 2016, the free programme Industry 4.0 Sample Factories has offered to provide experience and knowledge for SMEs to learn about industry 4.0 technologies to improve their competitiveness. Interested SMEs are invited to register to be part of factory visits and demonstrations and to get to know the entire range of Industry 4.0 technologies through concrete examples.

I4MS, experiments of the innovation actions

At the European level, I4MS, ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs, is a European initiative supporting manufacturing SMEs and mid-caps in spreading information and communication technologies (ICT) in their business operations. One of the key services that the I4MS initiative offered SMEs was the possibility of testing with one of the technologies supported by I4MS. Innovation Actions provided end-users with technical support and cascade funding for implementing Application Experiments (AEs) based on their specific I4MS technologies. Hungarian SMEs were involved in two of them: DigitBrain and DIH World.

Premet is the Hungarian SME in ProMED, a DigitBrain experiment. The main objective of ProMED is to optimize the production of customized metal medical devices through the combined use of additive and subtractive manufacturing. A digital twin of PREMET’s production pipeline will be developed and used to simulate many fabrication processes quickly. Impacts are expected at a technical level since the product model can be replicable in any Advanced Manufacturing enterprise. At an economic level, the experiment will allow for production time reduction, cost saving, quality improvement and, indirectly, increase competitiveness, profitability and job creation.

The CAADEX experiment, also under innovation action DigitBrain, counts on Hungarian DIH Innomine, Manufacturing company Caadex and Business Intelligence systems agency. The experiment’s main objective is to reduce switchover times and increase the efficiency of the production line of snow guards for the roofs.

In the DIH World experiment, Smart buildings “Made easy”, Dél-Alföld region is involved as a referent site for the Z-wave technology which allows for connection and automating functions of smart buildings. The project team delivered practical training and developed optimized solutions for the different practical environments with the objective to make Smart Building functions available for all.

I4MS Stakeholders event: learn about tools and funding opportunities

On the 19th of October, the I4MS initiative will celebrate its final event in Budapest at the Bálna Center to bring together the manufacturing ecosystem. Networking and showcasing opportunities for European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs), European projects, SMEs, technology providers and other stakeholders of Industry 4.0 driving innovation and technology adoption across the EU will be the conference’s focus. The event will include an exhibition to discover the use cases, gamified networking activities, panels and keynotes about tools, funding opportunities and more.

Register for the event and join the European leadership and digital game-changers of the manufacturing industry 

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This publication has been paid by I4MS, a project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 951848. 


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