European Space Agency's Call for Proposals: Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing Kick-Start Activities

The purpose of the connected factory is to connect, control and monitor virtually anything to drive productivity and profitability. Connecting the whole value chain from resource to customer and evolving towards a circular model is what enables the ‘connected factory’.
Applications are closed
a year ago

The European Space Agency’s Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing Kick-Start Activities offers support and funding for companies looking to develop space empowered services for smart factories. Below, you can find information on the potential uses of satellite-derived information in high value manufacturing and the opportunities this presents. You can also find vital information on the Kick-Start funding opportunity.


Manufacturing has traditionally been considered to be a process that turns raw materials into physical products. Nowadays, the production phase is only a small part of a much wider value chain which is becoming increasingly interconnected. 

An example of this is the so-called ‘connected factory’ which represents the vision of a digitized advanced manufacturing ecosystem where machine-to-machine communication is ubiquitous across the plant floor and with remote locations. The purpose of the connected factory is to connect, control and monitor virtually anything to drive productivity and profitability. Connecting the whole value chain from resource to customer and evolving towards a circular model is what enables the ‘connected factory’. 

Other evolutions are the new business models built on services instead of products which allow diversification for manufacturers. Big changes are coming from the introduction of latest trends in the manufacturing industry such as the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, cloud computing, big data and analytics, and new technologies such as additive manufacturing, advanced robotics, digital design, and smart and connected products. These global manufacturing trends and technologies are disrupting the industry and leading to the so-called ‘Industry 4.0’, also known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. 

The potential use of satellite-derived information and capabilities presents a number of opportunities in High Value Manufacturing, which are the subject of this Kick-start theme.


In the frame of Kick-start Activities, the European Space Agency offers support to companies for business case assessment and development of new Space empowered services for smart factories of the high value manufacturing chain, from resource to customer.

  • Zero-Equity Funding up to €60K per Activity
  • Technical & Commercial Guidance
  • Access to our Network & Partners
  • Brand Credibility 


Industry 4.0 and High Value Manufacturing services may need remote or global interconnectivity, robust communication, positioning, precision timing, remote control, etc. Space assets, such as satellite communication, satellite navigation, Earth observation, or human spaceflight, can enable these capabilities, for example:


  • Asset location and tracking
  • Smart routing
  • Servitisation planning
  • Precision timestamping


  • Reliable and secure communication
  • Connectivity for remote locations and employees (e.g. in maritime or rural areas, on oil rigs, remote industrial sites)
  • Tracking and tagging of mobile assets or assets beyond line-of-sight 
  • Monitoring of conditions, infrastructure, maintenance/repair operations
  • Remote training and guidance
  • Secure communications
  • Backup to terrestrial networks


  • Monitoring, mapping, change detection and forecasting of assets and resources
  • Environmental sustainability 
  • Meteorological services


  • Tele-operation for maintenance support, remote training, guidance, assistance
  • Augmented reality 


For this Kick-Start theme, topics of relevance related to Industry 4.0 and high value manufacturing include:

  • Remote manufacturing
  • Optimisation of business processes
  • Transport logistics
  • Remote operations and maintenance
  • Servitisation
  • Environment and sustainability

Other topics may be proposed, provided that they may lead to the development of commercially sustainable services.


  • Motivated team with business and domain expertise
  • Attractive market opportunity and customer engagement
  • Commercially viable service concepts
  • Technically feasible solutions enabled by Space 

Deadline for submission: 7 March 2018

Source: European Space Agency

Illustration Photo: Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (credits: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: Corporate / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

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