Luxinnovation, Luxembourg’s national innovation agency, has recently published the first-ever detailed mapping of the companies making up the country’s manufacturing ecosystem.
Although primarily known as a leading financial centre, Luxembourg is also home to a dynamic industrial sector that plays a key role in the national economy. In order to better understand the sector, Luxinnovation’s Market Intelligence department released the first detailed mapping of the manufacturing ecosystem ever done in November 2021. The mapping was carried out in close collaboration with the Luxembourg Materials & Manufacturing Cluster and the Digital Transformation department of the national innovation agency.
“Having an overview of companies that have manufacturing as their core business, as well as of service and solution providers that enable them to innovate and move towards a ‘smart manufacturing’ approach, is essential,” says Sara Bouchon, Director of Market Intelligence at Luxinnovation. “This mapping will make it possible to better monitor the evolution of the ecosystem in order to adjust any actions that may be necessary.”
In total, more than 750 companies are part of the manufacturing ecosystem in Luxembourg: 455 have production as their primary activity and 298 play a role as “facilitators”, as they provide products, solutions or services that enable the transition to smarter and more digitalised production processes.
In order to identify them, Luxinnovation has gone far beyond a mere statistical analysis. “To carry out the mapping, it was important to use other sources than the NACE codes, i.e. the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community. We found that 20% of companies whose main activity is production do not have a NACE code related to industrial activity,” explains Dr Bouchon.
High value-added activities
Almost half (46%) of the companies with production as their core business have less than 10 employees, and 72% less than 50. “However, there is a real focus on high value-added activities,” says Mohammed Toumi, Market Intelligence Analyst at Luxinnovation. “85% of companies with more than 50 employees have their production sites in Luxembourg. In addition, 22% of companies carry out engineering as well as research and development activities here.”
The shareholder profile of these companies is mainly national, since almost half (46%) of the companies with production as their primary activity are owned by Luxembourg entities or individual shareholders. 35% are directly or indirectly controlled by foreign owners (legal entities and individuals). The remaining 19% are either independent companies or entities for which the shareholding data are not known.
Concerning the “enablers”, suppliers of products, solutions or services for industry 4.0, the range of solutions is mainly focused on cloud computing (34% of companies), digital transformation (27%), ERP systems (26%), cybersecurity (22%) and web development (21%), bearing in mind that a company can obviously offer services in several different fields. “A wide range of solutions enabling production companies to move towards smart manufacturing are already available on the national market,” notes Dr Bouchon.
IP: 15 champions
In terms of intellectual property, 1,485 patents or utility models were filed over the past 10 years by 61 entities – mostly manufacturing companies. Although almost all (91%) of these patents were filed by 15 companies, a few start-ups stand out, such as Anisoprint, Leko Labs, OQ Technology and Motion-S.
Smart Manufacturing Week
To remain competitive, develop their resilience and address forthcoming environmental challenges, manufacturing companies constantly need to boost their efficiency and innovative capacities. Two key steps to achieve this is the uptake and widespread use of digital technologies and the adoption of an “Industry 4.0” approach as well as environmentally friendly processes. Luxinnovation organises Smart Manufacturing Week, a yearly three-day event that provides insights into tools, resources and good practices that can help companies – SMEs as well as large groups – move forward. It also addressed sustainable manufacturing practices.
“Every year, the Smart Manufacturing Week expands its scope, as industrial companies of all sizes constantly face new challenges,” says Caroline Muller, the manager of the Luxembourg Materials & Manufacturing Cluster at Luxinnovation. “Industrial companies have to adapt, and digital technologies are also there to support them in their sustainable transformation.”
The 5th edition of the Smart Manufacturing Week will take place in June 2022. International participants interested in strengthening their contacts with Luxembourg’s industrial sector are welcome to join.
The smart manufacturing mapping can be consulted in the form of an interactive dashboard on luxinnovation.lu/resource-centre.