BIFOCAlps newsletter n°5
Project progress:

In the last month the BIFOCAlps partners worked to finalize the work package WP3 and to deliver the remaining deliverables. The work package WP3 aims to provide a reference system to track effective improvements after transfer and adoption of enabling FoF-practices along the manufacturing value-chain.


According to the specific objectives, a framework was developed in the initial stage of the work package combining a qualitative maturity assessment with quantitative indicators on various levels, enabling an impact evaluation beyond financial figures. Applied continuously in companies, this impact indicator system offers a strategical management tool to support the path towards the factory of the future.


At the moment, the project partners are closely working together on the last work package WP4. WP4 aims at stimulating adoption and transfer of FoF practices and technologies among main innovation actors based on the results of previous thematic work packages. Main objectives lie in analysing national strategies and support programmes and to sensitize public authorities to existing challenges and critical fields of action in order to succeed the path towards FoF. In the beginning of WP4, each project partner was involved in identifying and presenting 3 to 4 existing programme/initiatives on country level. Altogether, 17 records from 5 countries were gathered and analysed. 


The analysis of these initiatives revealed a number of critical insights. One of the crucial challenges related to Industry 4.0 and FoF is currently related to HRM aspects. Most programmes address the technological needs (e.g. Wireless communication, Automatization, ICT Security, Network Infrastructure, Artificial Intelligence, Sensors etc.), but equally important are organisational needs (e.g. Risk management, Process/Production/Quality management, Training system etc.) as well as knowledge level needs (e.g. Competencies to develop FoF, Knowledge/networking ability, Understanding of a new transformation etc.). The matter is closely related to fruitful cooperation with the educational system, where additional, well-prepared and focused training of employees is essential. In addition, University programmes represent a crucial source of appropriate training. Therefore, Universities should be more flexible and responsive to needs of the industry.

Policy Development for Factories of the Future

Within work package WP4, BIFOCAlps partners organized the conference “Policy development for Factories of the future” which was held in Bled on 31th May 2018, as a part of the parallel Management International Conference (MIC). Two 2 round tables were organized on the conference focusing on:

  • Policy strategies and motivation tools for SMEs to join digitalization processes in FoF
  • Managing digital transformation (required competences/skills of the employees in the market)

Within the discussion in round table 1, the need to not only evaluate national educational programmes, but also revolutionise them was stressed. Form the kindergarten to university level. Also, a change of professors is a must.


The importance of user friendly (design management, anthropologists mixed teams…) was stressed additionally - as a balance to engineering aspects of R&D. Therefore, users have to be part of the R&D process. It is important, that representatives form ministry, companies and universities agree on this topic. 

Future tools represent a big opportunity for companies. The participants highlighted, that only 5% of companies are interested in such technologies. They also stressed the difference between information and data. Companies often collect data but do not change them into information useful for business. There was a lot of interest and additional questions on ECQA in round table 2.


The representative of the Ministry of Slovenia, Ms. Tina Ušaj also asked the public (audience) what we expect from the Ministry. The Slovenian initiative of introducing topics of creativity and innovation into educational system was given. With the remark, that all the materials, studies, concept are already prepared according to national requirements. This suggestion was in line with the conference conclusions, that FoF competencies (e.g. critical thinking, creativity, innovation etc.) should be introduced in the educational system.

Wrap up National Policy Events

France: the French project partners ViaMéca and Grenoble INP organized the first national training workshop “How to make FoF-oriented support programs for SMEs more efficient in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region?”. The event took place in Saint-Etienne on the 19th of June, 2018. The workshop successfully achieved its objective, aiming at sensitizing national policy makers to BIFOCAlps-outputs, identified gaps and strategical fields of action in order to support the path towards FoF.


Italy: the Italian project partners CNR, Polo Pn Centre and DPIA organized the national training workshop in collaboration with the SMARTSPACE project in Milan on the 29th of June.

The workshop was an useful opportunity to discuss with policy makers and industry representatives on supporting initiatives for the FoF, existing gaps and industry needs still to overcome, and arose fruitful exchanges among participants. In the event participated both delegates from the Innovation General Directorates of Lombardy and FVG regions.


The Austrian, German and Slovenian Policy Events will be announced soon.



Wrap up ICE/IEEE conferene Stuttgart: Era of connectedness - The future of Technology, Engineering & Innovation in a digital society

The ICE/IEEE-conference, which took place in Stuttgart from 17.-20.5.2018, is a scientific conference, which deals with the topics “engineering”, “technology” and “entrepreneurship”. Within three days, contributions from all over the world were presented in Stuttgart. Combined with keynotes from outstanding speakers the conference provides its guest the state of the art in these key topics.

Within the conference, the BIFOCAlps project chaired a workshop session on the third day, which had a practical agenda and was addressed to companies. The topic of BIFOCAlps’ workshop was “Simulating, Testing, Modeling – using a digital twin in manufacturing industries”. The keynote in this workshop was held by Mathias Stach, CEO of ASCon Systems, a young and innovative company from Stuttgart providing solutions for digital twins. After the keynote, Jürgen Jähnert, CEO of bwcon GmbH held an expert interview with Mathias Stach to discuss and deepen further questions. In addition, the audience was invited to discuss with Mr. Stach and Mr. Jähnert what they did eagerly.


Besides the workshop, BIFOCAlps project results were also present in some paper sessions. In total. three project partners had the chance to introduce the conference-participants a to their specific outputs of the BIFOCAlps project.

Wrap up Automatica Trade Fair Munich

During the Automatica Exhibition, ITALCAM in cooperation with the Cluster Mechatronik & Automation and CRIT (Center for research and analysis of technical and scientific information) organized several B2B meetings between Italian and German companies. Automatica is the annual trade fair for automation and robotics which takes place in Munich attracting every year thousands of visitors.


On the 21st of June at the M&A collective Cluster the pitching round was introduced by the presentations of M&A Cluster Project Manager Alexander Schäferling and of ITALCAM Project Manager Martina Agosti. They both emphasized the fundamental role of SMEs in the innovation process of the Alpine space. In this regard, Martina Agosti presented the European projects BIFOCAlps (Interreg Alpine Space), whose main objective is to foster the technological development of SMEs and the cooperation among them.

Warp up WIRE2018 conference Innsbruck

During the week of innovative regions in Europe 2018 (WIRE2018), which took place in Innsbruck (4-6.7.2018), the BIFOCAlps-project was presented by Quentin Courbon (Viameca) in the workshop “Cooperation between regional innovation ecosystems: inspiration from Alpine Regions”.


This workshop focused on how to use EU policies and instruments in a coordinated manner, across governance levels, to support transformation towards resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth at territorial level. Practical examples on regional innovation ecosystems from Alpine Regions were showcased to highlight the importance of interregional cooperation and to make proposals for further synergy and better coordination between the different programmes and instruments.

BIFOCAlps Final Event



We are delighted to announce you that the BIFOCAlps' Final Event will be organized on the 18th September 2018 in Dornbirn / Austria.


In this final event, the project partners will recap the BIFOCAlps project and provide solutions to successfully innovate towards a smart Factory of the Future.


Key facts:

Announcement: Announcement

Agenda: Agenda

Location: Fachhochschule Vorarlberg

(Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences)

Adress: Hochschulstraße 1, AT-6850 Dornbirn

Travel & accomodation: Travel & accomodation


We are looking forward to welcome you and to share and discuss project results and outcomes with you!

European Regional Development Fund