The lightweighting value chains across sectors encounters several technical challenges, which if overcome could enable further lightweighting (and related business opportunities) of varied products and technologies, something that has the potential to hugely reduce emissions from related sectors, among other benefits. However, overcoming these challenges on a major scale requires collaboration and interaction along and across different value chains, not taking place sufficiently today because of:
- lack of awareness at SMEs of what exactly large industries in their value chain need in terms of innovations, and how such large corporations could ‘fast track’ adopt proposed innovations.
- limited opportunities for SMEs to test and develop their technologies in existing applications.
- lack of flexible innovation assessment processes at end-users e.g. OEMs making them poorly equipped (as stated by major OEMS themselves on several occasions) to assess the potential of the different solutions offered by SMEs in a way that allows such SMEs to engage with them.
- scarcity of practical methods and techniques for both parties to engage with each other, leveraging the latest innovation practices while operating within existing innovation adoption frameworks (also regulatory).
- limited business environments and communities where both parties can co-develop their solutions.
AMULET aims to consolidate novel value chains for multi-sectorial industrial applications enabled by advanced materials and their related manufacturing technologies as Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), ultimately contributing to decarbonisation and resource-efficiency.
To do so, AMULET will:
- Create a unique self-sustainable business framework, inclusive to end-users and SMEs from established industrial supply chains to explore innovative lightweight-driven market opportunities novel to their current businesses under a collaborative approach. In order to become a EU network of reference, the consortium will facilitate three types of activities, involving a critical mass of at least 350 public and private members and aiming at leveraging complementary funding:
- Large-scale demonstration projects. Launch 2 Open Calls to select 72 Bottom-up projects, from which up to 50 will pass to the AMULET programme support services, and out of them up to 13 will complete the full programme, following a funnel approach. The up to 13 technological projects will focus on addressing key sectoral challenges in industry previously identified within the advanced materials domain, to be jointly addressed by cross-national consortia including SMEs and other innovation stakeholders. The demonstration projects at TRL7 will target the current challenges at EU level of the three types of lightweight materials (polymer-based composites, ceramic matrix composites, and light metal alloys) for four industrial markets: automotive, aerospace & aeronautics, energy and building.
- Technical advice & training. Set up a network of more than 50 experts from academia to provide continuous support in the advanced materials & manufacturing field to all SMEs interested in lightweight. AMULET will define and implement a complete catalogue of technical courses. Technical consulting and dedicated support for developing the winning solutions to a demonstration scale will be also provided, achieving TRL7.
- Business-to-business coaching. Set up a network of more than 50 experts from industry that will give continuous coaching for exploring lightweighting market opportunities in the targeted sectors and bring innovative ideas to a commercial scale. Business consulting and marketing strategy for taking the winning solutions to a market-readiness stage will be also provided, with the aim of achieving future successful commercialization of the up to 13 technological projects.
- Guarantee the long-term sustainability of AMULET’S lightweight community. To do so, the partnership will engage with the 10 regional administrations by direct intermediation of clusters to:
- Align itself with present and future regional innovation policies (e.g. RIS3), both involving regional public administrations and in constant dialogue with the EC (especially DG Regions) for prioritising lightweight and related technologies in their policy agendas;
- Ensure that the challenges and opportunities in the partner respective regions are well understood by policy makers and other triple helix stakeholders in innovation;
- Aid the establishment of innovation policy instruments addressing lightweighting challenges (if and when deemed relevant);
- Define a coordinated vision towards the EC for the consolidation of lightweight, suggesting and reporting specific recommendations for upcoming policy directives and R&D and investment programmes;
- Attract additional private and public funding to ensure network sustainability and development.
- Promote the cluster alliance, its members and stakeholders and its results, within Europe as well as globally, to showcase and reinforce the image of Europe in this field and generate more opportunities for the SMEs and the other cluster members. To do so, AMULET will foster staff exchange while defining and executing a dissemination plan with specific activities targeting different audiences (SMEs and end- users from established industrial value chains, scientific community, regional public administration, EC).