The Better Factory initiative selected the 7 best international teams from its 1st Open Call. During the Jury Day that took place the past 1st of September, the best proposals for experiments were selected to start the Better Factory Programme.  

  • The selected teams, composed by one manufacturing SME, one artist and one technology supplier, will receive €200,000 in equity-free funding to customise manufacturers products and services portfolios, and to digitise current production processes throughout the 16-month support programme.  
  • The experiment consortiums will also receive technical, art and business mentorship to support the solutions developed during the project. The initiatives look to innovate with new products or services on the sectors of Plastic and Rubber, Furniture and Wood, Food and Agriculture, Construction, Metal and Machinery, and Textile and Leather.  

Better Factory initiative brings together key actors in the European technology, art, and innovation landscape to provide an integrated framework to deliver solutions for Manufacturing companies to create new and personalized products and innovative services around them.  

The first round of the initiative closed with 367 applications from Manufacturing SMEs, Artists, and Tech suppliers from 30 different countries in Europe, and after a matchmaking process, 23 teams competed for a place on the knowledge transfer programme. On the First Better Factory Jury Day, celebrated the past September 1st, 16 finalist teams pitched in front of a panel of experts which ultimately choose the seven best proposals for experiments.  

The Jury was composed of experienced technical experts and representatives from the Better Factory consortium: VTT (FI), INOVA+ (PT), European Dynamics (GR), WAAG (NL), GLUON (BE), Gestalt Robotics (DE), and In4Art (NL). Additionally, independent external evaluators were invited in order to help the consortium with the final decision.  

Meet the winning teams  

BCF – Better CNC Factory: wood waste reduction from CNC production by anticipating wasted sheet-material before production, and by developing optimization algorithms and new products that take advantage of this waste. Team: Fiction Factory – Manufacturing company (Netherlands), Jesse Howard – Artist (Netherlands) and IAAC – Technology supplier (Spain). 

FOLD: Modular robot for production of Stone Paper Innovative Products. Team: Europack Bulgaria M EOOD – Manufacturing company (Bulgaria), Isaac Monte B.V. – Artist (Netherlands), and Oviso Robotics SRL – Technology Supplier (Romania).  

ZOVOS-EKO: Move from manual toward semi or fully automated (collaborative) robot fabrication. Focused on the production of personal metal doors within standard industrial containers. Team: ZOVOS-EKO s.r.o. – Manufacturing company (Slovakia), Studio Libertiny s.r.o – Artist (Netherlands), and Rossum integration – Technology supplier (Slovakia). 

ODC 3D: Optimization of Digital Craftsmanship in 3D Printing demonstrate how craftsmanship and artificial intelligence can work together to improve energy efficiency and optimize the fabrication of products made with large-scale 3D printing and recycled plastic. Team: The New Raw – Manufacturing company (Netherlands), Gareth Neal – Artist (UK), Artific Intelligence (AI) – Technology supplier (Finland). 

SMARTHam: Supervised Manufacturing And Real-time Traceability in Ham production. Enable smarter and better-organized production that will ensure both implementation of production of more customized final products and their traceability in digital form. Team: Capanna Alberto SpA – Manufacturing company (Italy), Studio De Wilde – Artist (Belgium), SirmiumERP d.o.o.- Technology supplier (Serbia). 

DSBSF: Digital Solutions for Better Scales Factory. New solutions and support to achieve the necessary implementations for the growth and improvement of the service. Team: Delmac Scales – Manufacturing company (Greece), Sara Alvarez Vinagre – Artist (Netherlands), NO Solutions Development d.o.o.- Technology supplier (Serbia). 

MiniRoboFab: Exploring Product Customisation and Robotic Fabrication in a Small Factory. Design for compact, robotic cells (collaborating with human operatives) for one to three operations in a small manufacturing plant. Team: Ritherdon and Company Limited– Manufacturing company (UK), Nicola Ellis – Artist (UK), Digiotouch OU – Technology supplier (Estonia). 

About Better Factory  

Better Factory aims to help European manufacturers become more competitive in the global market by providing up to 200K EUR in equity-free funding to develop and deploy collaborative intra-factory experiments. Manufacturing Companies will discover new business models and digitise their factories to match the production of new or personalised products, thanks to the collaboration with Artists and Technology Suppliers during the lifetime of the Better Factory project and beyond.   

The Second Expression of Interest and Open Call round will be launched in early 2022 (exact dates are yet to be defined). Participants from all countries from the European Union and H2020 Associated countries are encouraged to apply to the Open Calls.  

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 951813.