The manufacturing industry, with approx. 680,000 employees in 30,000 companies and a gross value added of approx. 50 billion euros per year is the backbone of Austrian economy. Almost every fifth euro in Austria is earned by the domestic manufacturing industry, almost two thirds of the workforce depend directly on it. All the more reason why producing internationally competitive products is an essential factor for prosperity.
Therefore the goal is to keep the manufacturing industry in Austria and to make it fit for the future. Many outstanding production companies are located in Austria, not few of these are global and technological leaders. Still, the pressure from international competition is enormous and domestic industry can only survive if it can develop innovative technologies and improve in productivity.
The requirements are exacting:
- on the one hand, new high-tech materials, lower production costs and shorter development cycles;
- on the other hand, greater product diversity, resource and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, logistics and recycling issues and many more aspects. All this and more demand innovative solutions.
The RTI programme "Production of the Future" by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climat Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) (formerly BMVIT) has the following goals since the year 2012:
- Efficient resources and resource management, efficient production technologies
... to increase international competitiveness and to strengthen Austria's position as an industrial location
- Flexibilizing production
... to enhance Austria's production expertise
- Manufacturing high-tech products
... to underscore Austria's position as an innovation center
Funded Projects are placed in the following categories:
- Efficiency and quality in manufacturing
- Advanced materials, surfaces and coatings and nanotechnology
- Critical raw materials
- Bio-based industry
"Cooperative R&D projects", which also include "flagship projects", are the most important instrument. Over 80 % of the funds are awarded to these science / business research collaborations.
Particular emphasis is placed on "Industry 4.0", meaning advanced manufacturing with the support of information technology.