SMILE-DIH, the Digital Innovation Hub of Parma (Italy) for Manufacturing 4.0, is a legally recognized non-profit association founded by Unione Parmense degli Industriali and the University of Parma.

The goal of the SMILE-DIH project is to create an effective technology transfer between universities and industry, to support companies who want to change their business models through the digitization of business processes and implementation of innovative and lean methodologies, supported by intelligent technologies.

Our focus is on Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) what elements needed to improve the automation of production and make excellent functional processes.

With criteria strictly BOTTOM-UP and INCLUSIVE, we proceeded to:

  • define the business model of the Hub;
  • define the portfolio of services offered from the hub;
  • map the regional ecosystem and indicate the list of possible use cases to be developed in the next phase.

Internet Of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems are the engine that should accelerate the competitiveness of companies in the local economic system in which the HUB is included: throughout the Region Emilia-Romagna and an area – in which the Unione Parmense degli Industriali’s strategy are shared – composed of the Italian provinces of Pavia, Cremona, Mantova, La Spezia, Massa Carrara and Livorno. The University of Parma and the Regional Competence Centers have the knowledge to help companies in the development of new technologies, their applications and dissemination.

The development of new technologies and new applications, creating an effective exchange of best practices, new business models and the development of innovation processes more open, transparent and replicable is the added value of the EU proposed project called I4MS.

SMILE specific objectives are: to build a collaborative community, discover new technologies, to set up a steering board including manufacturing firms, to set up a board of companies and expert consultants, showing various prototype solutions, do outreach and communication.

The application of Lean methods have been shown to have success in the optimization of production processes (and not only in production in the strict sense …), but Lean don’t work if designed and monitored with a made technique of only pencil and paper.

To be fully exploited, Lean must be supported by brand new software tools fully integrated with the production environment and workers operating in the field.

But technology, by itself, are particularly effective in the short to medium term. To achieve long-term competitive advantage, you need to combine technology with adequate and sustainable business models.

For more information, consult the SMILE-DIH sheet on the European Commission’s Smart Specialization Platform.