Submitted by UIA admin on Mon, 12/19/2016 - 10:15
Challenge addressed

In the Bilbao area manufacturing industries are moving towards a 4.0 dimension. This implies strong customization of products under the conditions of highly flexibilized (mass-) production. The required automation technology is improved by the introduction of methods of self-optimization, self-configuration, self-diagnosis, cognition and intelligent support of workers in their increasingly complex work.

The overall objective of AS-Fabrik project is to increase the competitiveness of the Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS) sector of Bilbao through a capacity building collaborative process that will prepare them to answer to the challenges of the digital transformation to industry 4.0 that the manufacturing sector must face in a very near future.

To do so, Bilbao City council will lead a strategic alliance between leading businesses and universities, service provider local companies, service oriented entrepreneurs and Basque Industry.

That will be possible thanks to the design, development and validation of a demonstrative model of a “Factory for the creation of advanced services for the industry” (AS-FABRIK),

This project will be based on a public-private collaborative process that will allow the achievement of the following specific objectives:

- To identify the mid-term needs of the manufacturing industry regarding Industry 4.0 concept

-To carry out different interdisciplinary training programmes for students, entrepreneurs and professionals so they can acquire the necessary skills to answer to the industry demands.  Target: 900 participants

-To build a collaborative working methodology to match the education and expertise needs from the industry with the offers of the service providers (individually or in cooperation). Target: 15 partnership agreements

- To create more and more specialised jobs in Bilbao as a result of the launching of new start-ups and new services. Targets: 120 jobs, 50% of them for people under 35, and 80% of it for graduates

Solution proposed

AS-FABRIK aims to shape a collaborative pilot Ecosystem for current or future workers of the KIBS sector (university students, entrepreneurs and professionals) so they can acquire the needed skills to attend the future demands of the manufacturing industry sector related with their digital transformation process.

As- Fabrik is structured around five pillars:

  • New education programs for university students, entrepreneurs and professionals addressing the new challenges of the industry 4.0 and the digital economy.
  • Networking actions among the main stakeholders (local policy makers and policy experts, universities, entrepreneurs, KIBS companies and industrial sector) to ensure a good match between demand and supply, supported by tailored IT tools.
  • Definition of new business models that cover the industry demands and specialized start-ups launching support.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) test Fab Lab for the market validation of new products/services.
  • Physical and virtual Infrastructure to host the above mentioned items


These actions will position Bilbao as a specialized territory in the development of the Digital Economy and its firms as internationally first level suppliers of the manufacturing industry

  • Ayuntamiento de Bilbao
  • Bilbao Ekintza - Public Agency
  • Mondragon Goi Eskola Politeknikoa J.M.A. S.COOP - Research Center
  • Mondragon Unibertsitatea Enpresagintza S.COOP - Research Center
  • MIK S. COOP. - Research Center
  • GAIA - Association of Electronic and Information Technologies in the Basque Country - NGO
  • Deusto Foundation - Basque Institute of Competitiveness - Research Center
  • Asoc. Cluster Audiovisual de Euskadi - EIKEN BASQUE AUDIOVISUAL - NGO
  • Mondragon Centro de Promocion, S.COOP - Business Support Center
  • IDOM Consulting, Engineering, Architecture, S.A.U. (IDOM) - Private Company
Expected results

At the end of this project, KIBS providers from Bilbao will have access to AS-FABRIK, the “factory for the creation of advanced services for the industry”, that is the main result of this project apart from quantitative values regarding employment, training and cooperation already mentioned.

This factory will integrate in a physical space all the methodological steps that during the project will have been designed and tested in order to shape new products and services for the new industry needs.

Thanks to the existence of the mentioned space, which will be managed by ENPRESAGINTZA once the project finishes, a transformation of the advanced services sector of Bilbao will be fostered.

 That means that any entrepreneur, graduate or professional from Bilbao will have an integrated kit of tools for their competitiveness reinforcing such as a business friendly collaborative environment, good business support services, entrepreneurial education, an international observatory, and advanced means for validation of feasibility of the business concept.

This new model will lead to create in Bilbao a new generation of young and advanced service providers that in a collaborative environment:

-Take part directly on their manufacturing customer’s performance, improving their productivity and competitiveness.

-Contribute to the economic development of Bilbao through innovative actions.

-Employ highly qualified people

-Make intensive use of new technologies.

Main milestones

March 2018: Contract and permission almost ready to start the works at the building. Initial results on the advanced services observatory with last trends on industry 4.0 will be identified. Main communication actions of the project launched.
September 2018: First specialised education programmes outlined (technical, business, research degree and customized training). Networking activities launched between relevant ecosystem stakeholders and first products drafted by start-ups. Works at the building already started.
September 2019: Partnerships on industry 4.0 made and 24 new products based on advanced services for Industry 4.0 designed. MVPs refined into 10 ICT prototypes. Works almost concluded and new spaces ready to be equipped.
January 2020: Educational programs for the industry 4.0 fully developed. Last partnerships created and floor space ready to be tested together with the new developed services.
July 2020: Building fully operative and services tested for at least 10 months. All the spaces are occupied: observatory space, specialized education space, networking facilities space and intercooperation space.

"We believe that investing in knowledge is investing in the future, and that entrepreneurs are called to be the builders of the economy of tomorrow. UIA – As-Fabrik musters all of our strengths and represents the spearhead of the future economy of Bilbao."

Juan Mari Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao
The project in numbers
companies compose the manufacturing sector in the Bilbao area (employing 855.000 workers)
of the GDP of Bilbao is generated by Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS)
of local employment is ensured by KIBS
students are enrolled in the three local universities (UPV, Deusto, Mondragon)
Contact of the project
Jordán Guardo Vazquez
Mayoral Advisor
Willem Van Winden
UIA expert

Project News

On the project's side - Interview of the AS-FABRIK project

The UIA Secretariat organised a series of interviews with the projects selected under the topic "jobs & skills in the local economy". What is the most innovative elements of their project to promote jobs and skills? What are the main changes they are expecting? What are the main challenges they are confronted with? Hear the feedbacks from AS-FABRIK project in Bilbao.


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