Product and process innovation is a strategic target for the group, as it is a key factor in its development and essential to building competitive edge and maintaining it over time.
Analyses conducted on current industrial trends in advanced countries reveal structural changes that increasingly entail the outsourcing of lower value added components in industrial production.
EU analyses1 provide empirical evidence of the correlation between the intensity of innovation and performance in several indicators:
The graphs show that companies that are favourable to innovation excel on a range of indicators including human resources (expertise and training), research systems (publications and attractiveness to foreign PhD students), investments, financing and support (grants and venture capital) and intellectual assets (patents lodged and design rights in general).
The same can be said for employment figures (in the research and development sectors), as well as turnover volumes (exports of products with a high technological content and technological services) and diversification (new markets).
This research confirms the structural differences between the various EU economies, where Italy is considered a moderate innovator and is still slightly below the European average, where the leaders remain the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries.
This leads to3 certain guidelines for the revision of the industrial system4 in which, beginning with the restrictions created by the high cost of energy and ageing infrastructures, growth drivers are identified in the technologies that encourage the sustainable development of economies, such as the achievement of renewable energy targets in 2020, energy resource storage and redistribution systems, smart grids, new materials and hybrid and electric means of transport.
Therefore, the definition of the priority technologies on which to base Europe’s industrial redevelopment has led the European Commission to prepare a Framework for the Horizon 2020 project. As the evolution of the FP75, it identifies Key Enabling Technologies (KET), which correspond with the technological domains that represent key elements in promoting innovation and growth and that, accordingly, are placed at the centre of initiatives aimed at boosting the competitiveness of European industry.
KETs make it possible to innovate processes, goods and services in all economic sectors and, accordingly, are systemic as they tend to converge and integrate.
The MAG Group’s focus on the potential associated with KETs has motivated it to identify innovative solutions that have been either developed or researched in the scope of what are essentially new product development projects (see Errore. L’origine riferimento non è stata trovata.).
More recently, the group has begun analyses to identify potential industrial applications for its expertise acquired in the area of interconnection between industrial production and digital technologies, as part of the Industria 4.0 programme. Given the nature of group activities, focussed on the production of advanced products, the new manufacturing frontiers (3D printing, robotics and machine-to-machine interaction) offer interesting process developments in which the group plans to invest in the near future.
The group’s recent advancements in the H20 Framework are summarised below:
|Nanotechnology||Synthesis and effective manufacturing of nanomaterials, their components and systems||Development of structurally advanced “3D printing” materials (carbon microtubules)|
|Advanced materials||Technology relating to functional, multifunctional and structural materials||Development of DAMP (Diffused Anti Vibration Multilayer Panels)|
|Technology relating to sustainable industry materials||Development of surface treatment technology to replace chrome and cadmium|
|Challenge technology||Transition to a reliable, sustainable, competitive energy system||Development of control and actuation systems for primary and secondary flight controls and landing systems based on the use of electromechanical components (see NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PLATFORMS)|
|To create an intelligent, environmentally-friendly, integrated transport system|
Applications are developed through a network of partnerships with aerospace engineering departments at universities (the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Milan, the Pisa University and the Rome 3 University) and research bodies (Centre Recherche Industriel du Quebec).
Research and development applied to products fall under a few main lines divided into the helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft segments.
- Landing systems and the related hydraulic, electromechanical and electrohydraulic retraction and actuation systems, hydraulic and electromechanical flight controls (primary and secondary commands) and, eventually, fly-by-wire flight control.
- Control and energy damping systems (advanced sound and vibration reduction solutions), infotainment and cabin comfort control.
Innovation for transport and logistic development, defined as one of the five pillars6 of the third industrial revolution, the introduction of very light jets marked a groundbreaking change, winning One Aviation Inc. (formerly Eclipse Aerospace Inc.) the Collier Trophy7 of the US National Aeronautic Association (NAA).
In the wake of the creation of the E500 with the previous Eclipse Aviation Corp., the E550 dual reactor is the most sophisticated version of the innovative personal jet concept, combining energy efficiency, avionics and extremely advanced technology with a low purchase cost.
These elements, which gave rise to the category of very light jets in 2006/2007, gave a new group of users access to this type of private air transport and reinvented the concept of general aviation. MAG is active in this sector in the development of systems for a next-generation light jet featuring sophisticated technologies and highly advanced avionics. More generally, all solutions aimed at improving energy efficiency and pursuing sustainable mobility models directly or indirectly achieve a blend of technological excellence and environmental sustainability which embodies the concept of sustainable innovation.
“European Innovation Scoreboard 2019”, Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry, European Commission. ↩
EIS 2019, op.cit., Performance of EU Member States’ Innovation systems, p. 13. ↩
Jeremy Rifkin, Foundation on Economic Trends. The Third Industrial Revolution. How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World. ↩
José Manuel Barroso,“Mission Growth: Europe at the Lead of the New Industrial Revolution”, European Commission conference papers, 29 May 2012. ↩
Framework Program 7 (2006–2013). ↩
Jeremy Rafkin, op.cit. ↩
Award established in 1911 (the first Collier Trophy was awarded to Glenn Curtiss for his successful development of the seaplane), which NAA gives each year for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year”. ↩