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Preface The price of work in low-knowledge production is too high in many Western European countries. After the recession in 2008, structural change has speeded up, and many companies are moving their activities from Europe to low-salary countries, such as China and India. Mass production in particular is facing problems. Furthermore, in many countries the exodus of the manufacturing industry has led design and other industrial activities to relocate as well. All possible actions and means of research should be employed to avoid this. The speed of globalisation is increasing and at the same time the economy has been highly uncertain. For several years the business environment has been struggling to avoid a new crisis instead of pursuing sustainable growth. These days have been exceptionally hard for the industry – companies have been waiting for better days, and have thus postponed ordinary investments and decisions for too long. That has prevented them from focusing on long-term business visions. The best way to ensure that manufacturing remains a major part of industry in Europe is to specialise in types of production in which special skills are required and the price of the workforce is not a key factor. This is easiest with products that are highly innovative. Due to historical reasons, the industrial forms of manufacturing activities are quite different in different parts of Europe. The global factory of the future will comprise a company network that extends to countries where salaries are low, to countries where levels of competence are high, and to expanding market areas. It is vital to have effective business models. We must have confidence that it is possible to create successful business in Europe also in the field of manufacturing, because production will still be a vital element in creating national welfare. To maintain and enhance the competitiveness of production, new innovative approaches and methods should be developed and implemented. Companies have taken a particular interest in investigating and developing new approaches, such as network manufacturing and broadranging implementation of industrial information technology. Digital factory solutions that react quickly to unplanned events and challenges will ensure the economical and technical feasibility of individualised production. Unique and eco-efficient material design – including raw material selection, material performance and recycling aspects – is an essential part of manufacturing. In future, additive manufacturing may give the ability to produce highly complex designs. This will have a huge effect on resource use and logistics – and lead to radical changes in value networks and business models. The great challenges facing the manufacturing industry are the transition from resource-oriented production to knowledge-oriented production and the transition from goods-oriented logic to service-oriented logic. This report describes VTT’s research results that will help the manufacturing industry to deal with these challenges. Production matters. Risto Kuivanen Rauno Heinonen

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VTT Research Highlights 3  

Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)

VTT Research Highlights 3  

Production matters. VTT in global trends. Kai Häkkinen (ed.)