business applications

Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing Kick-Start Activities

  • EMITS referenceAO8872
  • ActivityKick-start Activity
  • Opening date24 January 2018
  • Closing date07 March 2018

The European Space Agency’s Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing Kick-Start Activities offers support and funding for companies looking to develop space empowered services for smart factories. Below, you can find information on the potential uses of satellite-derived information in high value manufacturing and the opportunities this presents. You can also find vital information on the Kick-Start funding opportunity. 

Industry 4.0 and the Future of Manufacturing

Manufacturing has traditionally been considered to be a process that turns raw materials into physical products. Nowadays, the production phase is only a small part of a much wider value chain which is becoming increasingly interconnected. 

An example of this is the so-called ‘connected factory’ which represents the vision of a digitized advanced manufacturing ecosystem where machine-to-machine communication is ubiquitous across the plant floor and with remote locations. The purpose of the connected factory is to connect, control and monitor virtually anything to drive productivity and profitability. Connecting the whole value chain from resource to customer and evolving towards a circular model is what enables the ‘connected factory’. 

Other evolutions are the new business models built on services instead of products which allow diversification for manufacturers. Big changes are coming from the introduction of latest trends in the manufacturing industry such as the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, cloud computing, big data and analytics, and new technologies such as additive manufacturing, advanced robotics, digital design, and smart and connected products. These global manufacturing trends and technologies are disrupting the industry and leading to the so-called ‘Industry 4.0’, also known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. 

The potential use of satellite-derived information and capabilities presents a number of opportunities in High Value Manufacturing, which are the subject of this Kick-start theme. 

Supporting Businesses Developing Space Services for Smart Factories

In the frame of Kick-start Activities, the European Space Agency offers support to companies for business case assessment and development of new Space empowered services for smart factories of the high value manufacturing chain, from resource to customer.

  • Zero-Equity Funding up to €60K per Activity
  • Technical & Commercial Guidance
  • Access to our Network & Partners
  • Brand Credibility 

The Value of Space to Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing services may need remote or global interconnectivity, robust communication, positioning, precision timing, remote control, etc. Space assets, such as satellite communication, satellite navigation, Earth observation, or human spaceflight, can enable these capabilities, for example:

Satellite Navigation

  • Asset location and tracking
  • Smart routing
  • Servitisation planning
  • Precision timestamping

Satellite Communication

  • Reliable and secure communication
  • Connectivity for remote locations and employees (e.g. in maritime or rural areas, on oil rigs, remote industrial sites)
  • Tracking and tagging of mobile assets or assets beyond line-of-sight 
  • Monitoring of conditions, infrastructure, maintenance/repair operations
  • Remote training and guidance
  • Secure communications
  • Backup to terrestrial networks

Earth Observation

  • Monitoring, mapping, change detection and forecasting of assets and resources
  • Environmental sustainability 
  • Meteorological services

Human Spaceflight Technology

  • Tele-operation for maintenance support, remote training, guidance, assistance
  • Augmented reality 

Relevant Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing Topics

For this Kick-Start theme, topics of relevance related to Industry 4.0 and high value manufacturing include:

  • Remote manufacturing
  • Optimisation of business processes
  • Transport logistics
  • Remote operations and maintenance
  • Servitisation
  • Environment and sustainability

Other topics may be proposed, provided that they may lead to the development of commercially sustainable services. 

What Are We Looking For?

  • Motivated team with business and domain expertise
  • Attractive market opportunity and customer engagement
  • Commercially viable service concepts
  • Technically feasible solutions enabled by Space 

Authorisation of Funding

For the Thematic Call on "Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing" Kick-start Activities, the following ESA Member States have already made funding available: Germany, Ireland, Norway and United Kingdom. In case your company/organisation resides in another country participating to the programme, you have to request a Letter of Support from your National Delegation.

How to Apply

  1. Register by completing online questionnaire on ESA-STAR Registration (minimum 'light registration')
  2. Download the official tender documentation (Invitation to Tender) and create 'Bidder Restricted Area' via EMITS ‘AO 8872’ from 24 January 2018 
  3. Write your proposal and obtain Letter of Support from National Delegation, if needed (see above)
  4. Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by 7 March 2018 13:00 CET

Funding Scheme

Kick-start Activities resulting from thematic calls are funded at 75% by the Agency for a maximum amount of €60K per contract.

Funded participation to ESA's Business Applications Kick-start Activities is open to any public organisation, commercial client worldwide or space company (be it as group of users, public body or non-governmental organisation) residing in any of the ESA Member States that are participating to the programme.

To date, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have subscribed.

Individual ESA Member States have already made funding available for specific Thematic Calls on Kick-start Activities. For more details, please refer to the section Authorisation of Funding above.

In case you intend to submit a proposal for a Thematic Call and your company/organisation resides in another country, you are encouraged to contact the National Delegation.