The ISC recommends the launch of a full-scale IMS program. This recommendation
is based on the results of the IMS feasibility study, which was set up to test
the feasibility of international collaboration in advanced manufacturing and
which has demonstrated that international collaboration on IMS can be a win-win
The international committees have reached a number of conclusions related to
the feasibility study and the value added of international collaboration in
this domain and have developed recommendations related to a full-scale program
including some open issues. These conclusions follow.
Experience gained in the IMS feasibility study indicates that the added value
which could result from a full-scale IMS program for the participants
(industries - large and small, academia and public administrations/governments)
would include the following.
- (i) The guiding principles embodied in the Terms of Reference for the
feasibility study were adhered to and were proven to be workable and necessary.
The committee structure which was put in place in the feasibility study allowed
each of the committees to concentrate on specific issues and allowed rapid
progress to be achieved in a limited time frame.
- (ii) The experimental framework for international collaboration - i.e.,
modalities, technical themes and IPR guidelines - developed in the feasibility
study was thoroughly tested and proved its worth. The process of bid
preparation, proposal evaluation and selection, resulted in the launch of five
international test cases and one international study. Feedback on improvements
in these processes was obtained. There was limited time for consortia to
prepare proposals and the consortia had limited time to produce concrete
- (iii) The experience gained by the partners in the five test cases and one
study is invaluable. Overall, 140 entities, of which 73 were companies and 67
universities/research institutes, participated in the test cases and study.
Entities from all regions were actively involved and have demonstrated that
collaboration in the field of advanced manufacturing on an international scale
is feasible. Cultural, language and technical barriers were rapidly overcome.
International collaboration provided added value which outweighed additional
overheads incurred through collaborating on this scale. Further added value
came through exploiting diversity of, and global access to, technology and
- (iv) Overheads of collaboration were found to be substantial and are
estimated at 25 per cent. However, this high overhead rate should be seen in
the context of a start-up exercise. It could be expected to reduce in a steady
- (v) The infrastructure put in place in the IMS feasibility study
facilitated international collaboration. The potential for industrial interest
in international R&D collaboration in the area of advanced manufacturing
seems to be high. This is indicated by industrial participation in the test
cases, by the fact that some of the collaborations will extend beyond the
feasibility study, and by the high level of general interest in the IMS
feasibility study and its results.
- (vi) The feasibility study fostered in each region a better understanding
of the other regions, their cultures in general and manufacturing expertise in
particular. The importance of manufacturing to the global economy was stressed,
as was the increasing need to share information and work together towards
- (vii) Experience with formation and operation of the test cases
demonstrated the following:
- Consortia must be industrially based and comprise at least three partners,
each from a different region.
- The proposed research must be of high quality and of relevance to industry.
- The value to be added through international cooperation and the cost
effectiveness of proceeding in the manner proposed are to be clearly and
- Details of equity and balance provisions are to be documented and agreed
on by all partners. There must be a high degree of international interaction
between the participants and the collaboration structures must be clearly set
- Management and communication costs should comprise a small proportion
(about 20 per cent) of total costs.
- There must be a commitment to dissemination of results.
- Facilitates the elimination of redundant R&D effort.
- Facilitation of worldwide partnerships and provision of a platform to join
- Provision of access to complementary technology (which might not be
available within a region) and possibility of comprehensively studying
- Possibility of gaining a better understanding of global markets.
- Sharing of development costs, burden and risks; acquisition of technical
abilities in areas of manufacturing technology where it would be difficult to
acquire them independently.
- Guidance for research into the application domain and towards global
- Technology trials on a large basis, involving a worldwide user community
which would ensure more general applicability of the technology that is
- Acceleration of global standardization related to manufacturing, and as a
result of this, contribution to worldwide diffusion of manufacturing
- In addition for SMEs, co-operative relationships could be forged with
large companies and academia, through which limited, regional-level
transactions could be expanded to a global level.
- Further extension of co-operation worldwide and the possibility to engage
in research with industrial partners.
- Increase the professional level and image of manufacturing. Provide focus
for worldwide manufacturing research.
- Improved quality of education and training which would facilitate the
transfer of knowledge to future generations.
- Ensure state-of-the-art information is broadly available for curricula
Manufacturing is a primary generator of wealth and is critical to establishing
a sound basis for economic growth. Manufacturing industry is subjected to a
range of pressures, some of which can be solved, in the view of the ISC, by
- Obtaining better value for money in publicly funded R&D.
- Assigning clear priority on an international basis to methods for solving
problems common to manufacturing industries in all regions including
environment, safety and quality of industrial life.
- Improvement of social welfare and healthy growth of economies through the
resulting improvement and diffusion of manufacturing technology.
Accordingly, the ISC makes the following recommendations:
The time period between the end of the feasibility study and the beginning of
the full-scale program is termed the transition period.
- (i) The ISC recommends the launch of a 10-year full-scale IMS program in
international collaboration in advanced manufacturing, with a review in the
seventh year for a possible renewal.
- (ii) A full-scale IMS program should be a catalytic agent for global
cooperation in manufacturing, addressing not only the advancement of the state
of the art in manufacturing but also the raising of existing levels of
technology in many companies, including SMEs.
- (iii) Terms of Reference and a framework in which to conduct the
full-scale program need to be agreed upon between the regions. The ISC
recommends that the guiding principles embodied in the Terms of Reference for
the feasibility study should be retained, and in Part III offers
recommendations for revised Terms of Reference.
- (iv) The ISC recommends that the initial Participants in a full-scale IMS
program would be the Participants who were involved in the IMS feasibility
study. Additional Participants could be considered on a case-by-case basis. It
should be ensured that any eligible party (industry, academia or research
center) in the Participant's region which is interested in participating and
has the resources to do so can take part in the full-scale IMS program.
- (v) The ISC recommends that a management structure consisting of a single
international management committee, regional secretariats and a small
interregional secretariat should be established. The infrastructure in each
region to facilitate international collaboration should be strengthened. Each
region will be responsible for supporting the costs of its own participation.
- (vi) The ISC supports the approach of defining broad themes for
collaboration, but within these themes to select sharply-focused industry-led
projects. The ISC recommends that a full-scale IMS program should cover the
full innovation cycle, and allow for projects in manufacturing which fall
within any phase of the product life cycle.
- (vii) The ISC recommends the IPR provisions, given in Appendix of Part
III, as a minimal set of rules to which consortia should adhere. The ISC
acknowledges the importance of IPR issues and confirms that only projects
conforming with the IPR provisions should be supported. Explanatory notes of
IPR provisions should be provided to potential bidders.
- (i) The ISC recommends the target date for the start of the full-scale
program be 30 June 1994, but the IMS program should begin as soon as the
conditions in Section 7 of the Terms of Reference (Part III of this document)
are met, but not later than 31 December 1994.
- (ii) During the transition period the Participants should make every
effort to ratify Terms of Reference for the IMS program expeditiously and to
complete appointment of members to the International IMS Steering Committee
after the last intention of each Participant is conveyed to the other
Participants within a reasonable period.
- (iii) The ISC recommends that test case activity should be allowed to
continue on an ad-hoc basis during the transition period, the decision to
continue being based on individual consortia and regional considerations.
However, no new test cases should start during the transition period.
- (iv) The ISC recommends that any meetings held during the transition
period should be informal. The Committee members could be called upon to give
advice and or assistance in the transition period.
- (v) The ISC recommends that secretariats should remain in place during the
- (vi) The ISC recommends that regional activities such as holding of
symposia, etc. continue during the transition period.
- (i) The involvement of SMEs and universities needs further consideration.
Mechanisms at the international level could be developed using as input the
experience gained in regional programs.
- (ii) It is necessary to draft the documents and refine the processes of
bid making, evaluation, selection and launch which need to be put in place.
- (iii) Further work needs to be done to develop explanatory notes of IPR
- (iv) A model consortium cooperation agreement which makes provision for
all aspects of the legal framework for individual projects would be desirable.
- (v) A process must be devised to ensure effective communications between
the IMS management structure, the interregional secretariat, the regional
secretariats and the IMS project consortia.
- (vi) Case studies of successful consortia should be developed.
- (vii) The question of a broad-based and evenhanded distribution of results
has turned out to be beyond the scope of the feasibility experiment and still
needs to be addressed in the full-scale IMS program.
- (viii) An international glossary, and organization of topics of interest
would be beneficial as a vehicle for communicating areas of interest and
collaboration for a future IMS program.
- (ix) Provisions should be made for each consortium to address the
opportunity for other regions and or organizations to join the consortium after
the initial formation stage. That is not to require that such late joining be
possible but rather that it be addressed by each consortium as a possibility.
- (x) A regular method of distributing IMS program opportunities and
information which allows regional secretariats to keep their regions up-to-date
needs to be defined. For example a speakers bureau, traveling demonstrations,
electronic information networks, etc. could be made available to each region.
- (xi) The IMS Symposia served a useful purpose and should be continued.
They should provide information on the current state of manufacturing which
some may use for ranking IMS projects.