Sub-sector best prospects: Include the sub-sectors in which U.S. companies would have the best opportunity of exporting.
Industry 4.0 refers to the adoption of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. It includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing.
Industry 4.0 creates what has been termed a “smart factory.” Within modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world, and make decentralized decisions. Using IoT, cyber-physical systems communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real-time, both internally and across organizational services offered and used by participants in the value chain.
Poland continues to grow as a manufacturing power in Europe, and there is increasing demand for new and innovative manufacturing technologies in Poland. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Polish manufacturing continues to grow and strengthen. In 2021, industry production was 14.8% higher than in the previous year. The Polish Government is pushing development and investment in new technologies, such as additive manufacturing, that will drive Poland’s economy to the next level, and there are grants and other resources available to support innovative R&D.
Poland is the fifth largest manufacturing country within the EU (based on sales figures), with manufacturing contributing 22.4% of the country’s GDP. Leading manufacturing sectors include food and beverages; automotive; metal products; rubber and plastic; electrical equipment; chemicals and chemical products; non-metallic mineral products; basic metals; furniture; paper and paper products; machinery and equipment; computer, electronic and optical products. Manufacturing production in Poland increased 11.7% in April 2022 over the same month in the previous year. The Polish Government’s economic development agenda heavily focuses on supporting innovation. Poland is an emerging innovator, placed 30th in the EU innovation ranking. In effort to assist Polish industry move to the next level, the Polish Government launched its Industry 4.0 Platform in 2019. The aim of this project is to increase the innovativeness of Polish companies, sharing information about 4.0 processes and developing competences in areas such as robotics and automation. The COVID-19 pandemic strengthened interest in digital transformation among manufacturing companies in Poland. According to the European Investment Bank (EIB) Investment Survey 2021, most Polish firms in the manufacturing sector (56%) have implemented at least one advanced digital technology.
Polish officials indicate that the amount of innovation investment in Poland has an approximate value of $7.6 billion, and more than 300 R&D centers have been created in the past few years, improving innovation. Manufacturing firms allocated a relatively large share of their investment to R&D (10%) and are most likely to prioritize the development of new products and services. One of the most innovative investments in recent years was 3M’s Super-Hub in Wroclaw, a modern production plant a model for the region. The project, called the “manufacturing plant of the future,” has a highly automated production and supply chain, as well as modern safety and security measures controlled by drones. U.S. companies such as Raytheon have partnerships with Polish educational institutions to increase engineering capabilities and develop the manufacturing process of their Polish partners and support engineering and robotics education among Polish students.
The Polish Government provides several incentives to support advanced manufacturing and industrial transformation through tax incentives and a robust grant system to support research and innovation in manufacturing. Grants are provided to support industry research, and experimental means of production that are likely to be implemented in manufacturing. These projects have a budget of $163.6 million and are supervised by the National Center for Research and Development (NCBR) and the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP). Specific European Projects within the Smart Growth Operational Program 2014-2020 also be dedicated for innovative projects. During the period of EU funding for 2014-2020 almost 89,000 Polish companies received a funding for innovation and almost 8000 R&D projects have been started. Since the new perspective has been launched for the years 2021-2027, €76 billion will be allocated for innovation, entrepreneurship, digitization, infrastructure, environmental protection, power engineering, education, and social causes.
Poland is investing in and developing its 5G networks and integrating its digital technologies with the cloud. The government sees the expansion of this infrastructure as key to making the transition to Industry 4.0 and has declared it will make further investments in fiber optics and a faster internet infrastructure. Poland’s 5G development began in 2020, and the 5G network is currently available in most large Polish cities. The “Analysis Mason” report, carried out with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, shows that the investment in 5G will bring Poland benefits of around €4.2 billion within a decade, and by 2040 the national economy will gain nearly €17 billion from the implementation of the 5G network. Industry experts also view extensive investments in digital technologies as an inevitable step because they are the only way to allow Polish manufacturers to stay competitive on the domestic and international markets, especially with labor shortages and labor cost increases.
While Poland is ripe for seizing opportunities in advance manufacturing, the country does need to overcome some obstacles that may hold Polish industry back (e.g., specific regulations and a lack of technological standards, shortages of experts in the field, limitations of existing digital technologies, and a reluctance to adopt new solutions). There is also a need to introduce ethical and legal standards for the use of artificial intelligence and robots; such standards are being discussed at the EU level.
New technologies will be especially important in the aviation, defense, and automotive industries. Polish suppliers comprise a large part of the manufacturing process in these industries, and manufacturers must meet the technological standards of their suppliers. Industry 4.0 is also spreading to logistics and storage operations. In terms of Industry 4.0, the most promising sectors are automotive and aviation, followed by pharmaceuticals and household appliances. Both the automotive and aerospace industries are important to Poland’s manufacturing sector. Automotive manufacturing alone employs more than 213000 workers. Motor vehicles sold production increased by 15.9% in 2020. Many Original Equipment Manufacturers, such as Fiat, Toyota, VW, and Opel, among others, have made investments in Poland, and their Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, such as Lear, Delphi, Federal Mogul, Tenneco, etc., have followed them. Factories in Poland manufacture engines (Mercedes-Benz, PSA, Volkswagen Motor), tires (Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone), parts and components (Valeo, Hutchinson, BorgWarner, Faurecia, Johnson Controls, Delphi). There are several R&D centers located in Poland, such as Delphi, Wabco, Faurecia, Nexteer, Tenneco, and Eaton. Poland is considered the region’s largest automotive market in terms of sales and services.
Each year, new investments in Poland’s automotive sector are announced. Recently, Mercedes-Benz opened their first engine and battery factory in Poland (Jawor in Lower Silesia). The new emission-free and powered by renewable energy plant, which began operations in 2020, represents an investment of over $650 million and has generated employment for 1,000 people. The factory represents an example of Industry 4.0 manufacturing.
Before 2020 aerospace was a dynamic and growing sector of Poland’s economy. Global demand for Polish-made products and increasing air passenger travel and development of associated infrastructure drove this growth. As a result of the pandemic, however, the aviation sector has suffered in recent years. The European Funds planned for 2021-2027 in the amount of € 25 billion may help the aviation sector to recover. Poland’s Aviation Valley forecasts that in 2022, Poland’s aerospace sector will return to pre-pandemic levels. Aerospace manufacturing is largely centered in the Aviation Valley and in the Silesian Aviation Cluster – specialized industry clusters with a large concentration of aerospace OEMs, scientific research centers and educational and training facilities, with more than 170 companies. International companies such as Sikorsky, Augusta Westland, Pratt & Whitney, and Airbus, among others, have made investments in the region. Most production focuses on helicopters, airplanes, engines, and engine components. GE Aviation established R&D facilities in Poland, and in 2019 Lufthansa Technik and GE Aviation opened XEOS, a new engine maintenance and repair operation, to service mainly GEnx-2B engines. Growth in these two sectors is heavily reliant on the development of advanced technologies and will drive demand for the latest in automation and additive manufacturing in Poland.
Recent analyses indicate that Poland has much potential in industrial automation and manufacturing technology. Opportunities for U.S. exporters include:
- Additive manufacturing equipment
- Sensors and instruments
- Electric motors and actuators
- Electrical relays and industrial control equipment
- Material handling equipment
- Industrial robots, including those used in spot welding, sorting, palletizing, and painting
- Machine tools for cutting metal and forming metal pieces
- Machine tools parts, both OEM and after-market
- Tools, dies, jigs, and fixtures for manufacturing applications
- Welding and soldering equipment
- Plastics and rubber manufacturing equipment
- Industrial molds
There are also good prospects for IoT, advanced analytic, virtual reality, augmented reality, and general innovative solutions as the key elements toward the development of Industry 4.0 in Poland.
- Ministry of Economic Development and Technology
- NCBR - The National Center for Research and Development
- PARP - Polish Agency for Enterprise Development
- GUS – Statistics Poland
- EIB - European Investment Bank
- PAIH – Polish Investment & Trade Agency
- Robotech Robotics Technology Conference (postponed until further notice)
- Toolex International Fair of Machine Tools and Processing Technology, Katowice, October 4-6, 2022
- Automaticon International Fair for Industrial Automation, Warsaw, March 7-9, 2023
- Przemysl 4.0 Conference, Warsaw (postponed until further notice)
- ITM Industry Europe, Poznan, May 30-June 2, 2023
- Magazyn Przemyslowy
- Automatyka B2B
- Industry 4.0 information portal
- Business Insider
For more information about Advanced Manufacturing, please contact:
U.S. Commercial Service Poland
Commercial Specialist: Katarzyna Slowinska