A new European Union report has shown that a €90 billion (£75 billion) resource efficient manufacturing sector could be created.
On the eve of the European Commission discussion on how to increase the contribution of European industry makes to EU GDP from the current 15 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020, the report suggests that advanced manufacturing including resource efficient processes would help to meet this target.
The report from the Task Force on Advanced Manufacturing for Clean Production, from the European Commission, shows that 3.8 million jobs have been lost in manufacturing since the beginning of the financial crisis.
In 2012, the manufacturing sector in Europe employed 30 million people directly and provided twice as many jobs indirectly. Manufactured goods amount to more than 80 per cent of total EU exports and 80 per cent of research and development expenditure.
With manufacturing facing important drivers of change such as the increasing scarcity of resources, the availability of big data, and mass customisation changing the global industrial landscape.
The report suggests developing an advanced manufacturing strategy that can improve productivity (production speed, operating precision, and energy and materials consumption) and/or improve waste and pollution of manufacturing production both in traditional sectors and emerging industries.
These new advanced manufacturing techniques could include increasing manufacturing efficiency in the use of energy and materials, integrating digital technologies into production processes through smart factories, and high performance and flexible precision manufacturing.
At present the global market for automated manufacturing solutions is estimated at €110 billion in 2011, and is set to reach €140 billion by 2015. The EU currently has 35 per cent of this market.
It estimates the potential market for resource efficient manufacturing at €90 billion and the 3D printing market will grow from €1.6 billion in 2012 to €8 billion in 2021.