High-impact technologies and clusters: why it is promising
An important source of innovation is the Key Enabling Technologies, which Europe has highlighted as crucial for the development of high value-added products.
Although this term is not yet very common in Lithuania, business and industry should be more aware of the benefits of high-impact technologies.
These technologies include nanotechnologies, microelectronics and nanoelectronics, including semiconductor electronics, novel materials, biotechnology and photonics. These technologies include flexible manufacturing systems and digital technologies.
“The use of such technologies brings benefits to business and industry as it ensures efficient production processes, promotes energy efficiency and resource efficiency,” says Kęstutis Šetkus the director of the Science, Innovation and Technology Agency (MITA).
Partners from eight countries gathered in the international ClusterFY project, looking for answers and sharing good practice-how high-tech development contributes to the development of clusters business, and what regional and national policies are shaped in European countries. The project is coordinated by MITA for the second year. The project involves innovation policy and management experts from the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Greece, Slovakia, Spain and Lithuania.
“The project is aimed at improving cluster policy tools, identifying opportunities for more efficient use of high-impact technologies to meet user needs, addressing social challenges, and promoting transnationality. The goal is to enable clusters to engage in innovative business chains to become more competitive and to be able to develop new products and technologies” said Rima Dijkstra, ClusterFY Project Manager.
The fiber optic cluster (Fiber Optic Valley), which combines universities (Central Sweden and Gavle Higher Education), research organizations (RISE Acreo), small businesses (SenseAir) and large companies (Hexatronic Cables and Interconnect), is being developed in Sweden. The cluster unites about 60 members in total. Small businesses companies, benefited greatly from partnership and communication, are interested in the activities of this cluster, and therefore about 50 enterprises are involved in the activities. This cluster works with fiber optics, broadband and sensor technology.
The Mazowiecki ICT Cluster (Mazovian ICT Cluster), which brings together more than 150 members, is well known in Poland, including 125 small and medium-sized companies, universities and research organizations. This cluster is working with information and communication, telecommunication technologies, also is integrating interdisciplinary areas. Technology applications include the space industry, the creative and digital industries.
The most prominent example in Lithuania
The Laser & Engineering technologies cluster (LITEK™), co-ordinated by the Science and Technology Park of Institute of Physics, is successfully operating in Lithuania. The cluster connects nearly 20 high-tech companies and organizations operating in laser technology and precision engineering. The main objective of the cluster is -to increase the international competitiveness of the enterprises of the laser and engineering technologies sector, to raise awareness of the sector, to promote R & D cooperation among the members of the cluster and with the foreign partners, through cooperation in the development of innovations.
Thus, in the case of LITEK™, combining different areas of knowledge, continuous close cooperation, sharing ideas in the field of photonics and engineering, leads to more effective business performance and growing results.
“Participating in the cluster gives companies the opportunity not only to optimize costs by participating in exhibitions or exploring new export markets, but also helps to find business partners, obtain orders, and accelerate the product production cycle,” says Julius Paužolis, LITEK™ cluster manager. New, knowledge-based products and technologies, such as new generation high-power ultrashort pulse lasers for faster and more efficient production, are being developed in cooperation with research institutions.
A Europe-wide view of the photonics and engineering sector from the high-tech side shows twofold benefits. “First of all, photonics is an innovative and fast-growing sector, whose production volume grows 3.5 times faster than the average gross domestic product of Europe, itself generates thousands of new jobs,” said Julius Paužolis, LITEK™ cluster manager.
But more importantly, photonics, as a high-impact technology, also helps other manufacturing sectors modernize and compete in the global market. According to J. Paužolis, the “fourth industrial revolution” is taking place in the industry for some time now, in which photonic technology plays an important role and traditional manufacturing technologies give the way to laser and sensor integrated robots, 3D printers.
The digitizing for production, the need for laser technology in the industry is constantly growing, therefore, conditions and new technological niches are created for new companies in the cluster environment in the field of photonics and engineering.
The benefits of the cluster are the gateway to the world
“The presence in the cluster allows partners to target resources, knowledge and energy to strengthen their competitiveness in international markets. Opportunities for internationalization are available, so small companies are interested, “says Rima Dijkstra, ClusterFY project manager.
Since the beginning of this year, the LITEK™ cluster has been implementing an international Laser Go Global project aimed at developing European cluster collaboration in the field of cross-sectoral health, medical technology and photonics.
The consortium brings together six clusters from five advanced and fast growing European Union countries representing around 1600 companies and 100 science and research institutions in the fields of medicine, biotechnology and photonics. It will be explored targeted export markets in Australia, Japan, the United States, South Korea, Malaysia, Israel, Canada during the project period, information on the needs of these markets will be collected for European companies, developing new business relationships, sharing experiences on emerging markets, setting up business representations, delivering European company products and sales offers. It is expected that at least 240 companies will be benefited from this project, the export of innovative products to these target markets will increase by 20% in the future and around 20 million euros for research development will be attracted to cluster companies.
The text source: MITA