BIFOCAlps Newsletter n°1
BIFOCAlps - Boosting Innovation in Factory Of the future value Chain in the Alps

Pordenone's Technology Park confirms its vocation in technology transfer for SMEs and its skills and competences by winning, as project leader, a European funding for digital transformation of SMEs.

The project, which has a curious acronym BIFOCAlps, will develop the best technologies and experiences for a digital and sustainable manufacturing in SMEs, in an international area. In fact, Italians, Slovenians, Austrians, French and Germans they are the partners who do not need presentations for the innovators. To name a few, the University of Udine - Department of Management Engineering, CNR with its industrial automation group, the Technological Park of Ljubljana, and even many times referred to as the European excellence namely Fraunhofer Institute to which the french partner of Grenoble University adds its competences.


BIFOCAlps project is tackling a common challenge to many Alpine Space (AS) regions: due to globalisation, many enterprises in Manufacturing Sector (MS) are not as competitive as wished in global markets, resulting in increased levels of unemployment, abandoned facilities and remaining plants that need new products and new processes. On the other hand, AS has a strong R&D sector and specialisation on Industry 4.0 and Factory of the Future (FoF) technologies.


Aa a matter of fact, BIFOCAlps main objective is to boost collaboration and synergies among main actors of the Alpine region innovation system for a sustainable, smart and competitive development of the value chain of the MS towards the FoF. The main outputs are (1) a map of the MS at transnational level, to understand existing and potential best practices and technologies along MS value chain; (2) a methodology for enhancing FoF long-term sustainability through innovation and knowledge transfer and (3) guidelines of strategic actions for policy makers based on an impact indicator system, to monitor and allow evaluation of performance in line with regional smart specialization strategies.


Indeed, the innovative approach integrates a “bifocal” view (considering both upand down-stream value chain) and the transversal competences of the business, research and policy actors at transnational level. It will allow to gather best case scenarios of the AS and to integrate and implement them in the generalized methodology, which will build on previous results and will be transferable at cross-national and cross-sectoral level aiming to connect value chain and boost competitiveness of the whole AS in the long term. Indicative budget for implementation of the action will be 1,6M €.


Citing Mr. Valerio Pontarolo, President of Polo Tecnologico, it worth remembering that it’s an excellent partnership that let the Polo, project leader, facing to exciting professional challenges. But stimuli and emotions are the essential ingredients for a transformation of the manufacturing of our territory which will also have to be a social transformation. The Factory of the Future will no longer be just a big business but will certainly be managed by collaborative technologies with production professionals that do not exist today.


In fact, BIFOCAlps will map the best technologies and the most advanced performance of the productive processes of a vast European territory, namely Alpine Space, with the involvement of top-level stakeholders who will guide and accelerate the fourth industrial revolution: Industry 4.0.


BIFOCAlps will talk about the Internet of things, man-machine relationships, collaborative robots, transforming workers into process drivers to tailor customer questions. Economic and social development is linked to the introduction of new technologies, says Mr. Bertetti BIFOCAlps Project manager, and never in the past there were disruptive transformations such as these digital technologies.


By taking advantage of it intelligently and professionally, we will be able to manage a revival and a new manufacturing competitiveness linked to the quality of the project, to the customization of demand, to transforming the worker into a cybernetic process conductor.


Being LP, Polo Tecnologico hosted in its own premises the kick off meeting of the BIFOCALps project in the mid of December of 2016. The meeting has been structured in two days – the first day was devoted for all PPs while the second day was meant to embrace also public interested in the the FoF and digital manufacturing fields. A brief discussion of the days follows.


In the first two morning sessions Mr. Massimiliano Bertetti introduced the BIFOCAlps project describing it in detail touching issues of the WPM like the whole project workflow, remembering outputs, activities, deliverables, GANTT among others. Bertetti underlines the key facts of the project and the importance of two critical issues: project coordination and internal communication.


After that, Mr. Primoz SKrt, in charge as Project Officer from JS, described the project requirements, namely what an AS project has to fulfill in terms of eligibility, project changes and other administravie matters. In the second session, after lunch, Mr Florian Maurer from University of Vorarlberg, being in charge as Communication Manager of the Project, showed the entire Communication workpackage and related Workplan. He deepened rules, timetable and deadlines to respect. He underlined that JS has some strict rules to face to in this field and he reports the very first steps of the online communication. He showed the communication plan both paper based and online based and deadlines also to send contributions each.

Then the University of Udine presented the scenario about research methodology which lies at the baseline of the BIFOCAlps project. After that, by using posters, pens, pencils and interaction between PPS, UniUD made PPs aware both of the scenario itself and of the steps needed to build the path to gain a good and structured methodology.


After an intense discussion, PPs moved from Polo Tecnologico to visit LEF ( Lean Experience Factory) in San Vito Al Tagliamento which is the first Digital Innovation Hub in Italy about digital manufacturing and FoF issues. PPs were invited to see and to touch in detail best practises of lean management applied to operations. LEF is a school for managers, IT managers, board members, technicians who want to understand and to feel and touch the digital transformation which has to be applied in companies.


The second day of the Kick off meeting was enlarged to a public audience also in order to understand the BIFOCALps project, the mainstream of the digital transformation Polo is involved in thanks to this project. As a matter of fact, the morning session opened with welcome greetings from Mr. Valerio Pontarolo, President of Polo Tecnologico, which considered BIFOCALPs a new important “piece” of learning digital transformation in the strategic vision of the Technology Park. Autonomous Region FVG underlined the need of PoLo to be present in the Interreg Programme as an active actor, remembering S3 strategies and their importance in the new strategic vision of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. Mr. M. Agrusti, President of the Industrial Enterpreneurs Association, described the historical path that generated the macro regions and in this context valued the importance of the project as a key driver for the next future. He declared the support of his association to follow project activities and to step aside if needed. Finally, Mr Elio Catania, President of Confindustria Digital showed an outlook about digital transformation and the power of digital toolkit which has to developed and be assessed in order to understand and to follow the mainstream of this new trend. He underlines also the importance of Human Resources which have to be “discovered” and to be improved in order to be in line with the quick change.


After that, “Mainstream Industry 4.0” session took place. Mr. Franco Scolari chaired the session  and speakers were people from industry, academic and consultancy worlds who gave their vision about digital transformation in companies.  SMART-SPACE project was invited to present activities in order to create better and deepend sinergies along the project period and Mr. Roberto Sandrini, PM of the project showed briefly the overall project by skype.


Two “voices” from the territory were invited to present their solutions in the FoF field, namely, Mr. Marco Barbarin, CEO of Intermek, a company for the design of components and assemblies, using 3D CAM technology and processing them with software on single parts, declared that they invested in HR, machinery and software to integrate them for releasing better products. Mr. Massimo Santin from Tempestive, a high intensive system integrator based on software solutions for I4.0, showed the benefits from the adoption of internet related technologies and the power they could bring jointly.


Then, all the 11 PPs presented themselves to the audience and they showed their roles in the partnership adding their contributions in terms of competences and know-how. Mr. Bertetti integrated all the PP presentations with the BIFOCALps project, showing project activities, output and deliverables in respect of budget and time asking for PPs, in to do list form, to fulfill the very first duties about administrative and communication matters.


Finally Mr Maurer presented the importance of communication strategies inside the BIFOCAlps project and above all in a AS project because of new scenario opportunities. He underlined the importance of communication issues both internally in the partnership (leaflet, industrial papers, scientific papers,…) and externally ( website, articles,…).

European Regional Development Fund