The Factory of the Future Stops Over in Parma

The digital transformation, 4.0 training and skills, high level automation and an entire pavilion dedicated to robotics: at the Parma exhibition centre, on 28-30 May SPS Italia deals with the hottest topics for the manufacturing sector of tomorrow

di Noemi Sala

Here we are with the traditional appointment in Parma: on 28-30 May, the ninth edition of SPS Italia, the annual trade fair for smart, digital, flexible manufacturing organized by Messe Frankfurt Italia, will take place. This year sees a further expansion of the fair, with six pavilions and more than 800 exhibitors; the event has tripled in size. Pavilions 3, 5 and 6 will exhibit automation technologies and software solutions for the digitization of production plants, along with innovative products and applications. Pavilions 4, 7 and 4.1, on the other hand, form part of “District 4.0”, a pathway that branches into the following thematic areas: Advanced Automation, Digital & Software, the Competence Academy, and Robotics & Mechatronics. Each exhibition area includes working demos of scalable mechatronic solutions that integrate the different components of IT and OT. Industrial transformation now demands greater knowledge-sharing and a broader skillset than in the past.

Robotics and digitization are amongst the main topics
The next SPS Italia edition includes an entire pavilion dedicated to robotics, where players will be giving live demonstrations. Their representatives at the fair will also be participating in a research project organized by Politecnico di Milano (the Polytechnic University of Milan) under the aegis of Prof. Giambattista Gruosso of the Electronics Information and Bioengineering Department. The research project will explore the market, with particular regard to vertical integration, and examine the challenges and opportunities. For 2019, the focus will be on packaging technologies for the Pharma and Beauty segments. The findings of the research will be published next November in Milan.
There are also the digital transformation of manufacturing, and the increasing convergence between IT and OT. It is a real challenge, and any company that aspires to operational efficiency, cost containment and enhanced competitiveness and growth must embrace it.

4.0 training and skills are at the heart of this edition
Technological evolution is advantageous only if human capital evolves in parallel with it. This is why the 2019 edition of SPS Italia will be focused on the theme of training and skills. The trade show will include a Competence Academy that has been developed with input from universities, research centres, institutions, digital innovation hubs and competence centres. The opportunities to participate in active training courses over the three days of the fair include an initiative organized in collaboration with the Cariplo Foundation, involving the 76 technical institutes taking part in the “SI Project”. In addition, a number of industrial associations such as AIdAM (mechatronics) and ANIE Automation have asked some of their members to contribute by putting on demos of industrial applications, suggesting thematic pathways and organizing initiatives in the field of mechatronics and intelligent components. Organized in collaboration with Didacta and sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education and Universities (MIUR), the programme that begins at the SPS Italia fair will conclude in October.