A European project to help SMEs develop innovative products
IK4-IKERLAN is participating in the Smarter-SI project, set to bring innovation to enterprises
- The centre will be providing its experience in the sphere of integrated smart systems
- The initiative has a budget of 4.5 million euros and is scheduled to take 36 months
In order to overcome the hurdles that SMEs experience when it comes to committing themselves to innovation, the European Union (EU) has recently launched the Smarter-SI project that has funding of 4.5 million euros and which aims to get SMEs to adopt and market intelligent systems. These devices enable the environment to be scanned, offer the user information or even make decisions and generate responses on the basis of the data processed.
IK4-IKERLAN is one of the participants in this project, led by the German Institute of Microelectronics HSG-IMIT, and which kicked off halfway through February. The initiative seeks to introduce a European platform of co-operative production for the design, prototyping and manufacturing of smart systems as opposed to the current model based exclusively on manufacturing.
What is more, Smarter-SI is aiming to provide a channel of communication so that SMEs can access consortia for the design, manufacture and testing of intelligent systems effectively and involving costs more in line with their economic reality.
One of the products that will be produced within the framework of this project is a portable system to analyse toxins or allergens in food. This system will be capable of simultaneously analysing various components in order to detect these substances in food, although the technology underpinning it could be adapted for use in other agri-food or veterinary spheres, too.
The role of IK4-IKERLAN
IK4-IKERLAN is a member of the consortium running the project and will be offering its experience in microtechnologies; they are a key component in the development of intelligent systems owing to their contribution towards the information capturing capability, data processing and interaction with the environment of these smart systems.
The Basque R&D centre has been designated co-leader of the working group that will be evaluating the concept of co-operative factory and manufacturing chain, and will be reviewing the spheres of polymer microfluidics, flexible electronics, encapsulation, interconnection and integration.
What is more, it is leading the development of an industrial prototype and is supervising the open call that will be made during the project to attract SMEs that have proposals for smart systems with a market potential.
“The main aim of the project is to create a forum for convergence between SMEs, technology providers and the funding mechanisms that will allow innovative products to be developed,” explained the researcher Aitor Ezkerra, who heads the Department of Microsystems at IK4-IKERLAN.
In his view, one of the main distinctive traits of this project is based on the following: instead of focussing on the design of technologies of an exploratory nature, it will help to develop, in conjunction with the enterprises themselves, products that have market perspectives and which can be marketed.
In addition to the members mentioned above, the consortium running the project comprises the German centres CIS and VDI/VDE, the Swiss CSEM, the Swedish IVF and the Irish Tyndall.
IK4-IKERLAN is a leading centre in technology transfer and in the contribution of competitive value to companies, thanks to its capacity to offer comprehensive solutions by combining various technological domains. This is possible due to its high degree of expertise in six major areas: embedded systems, power electronics, microtechnologies, energy efficiency and storage, mechatronics and advanced manufacturing.
Name: Smart Access to Manufacturing for Systems Integration (Smarter-SI)
Funding body: European Union
Programme: Horizon 2020-ICT-2014-1
Contract number: 644596
Project leader: Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft