CECE and CEMA call for EU policy actions to successfully digitize ag and construction sectors

CECE and CEMA have presented five key EU policy actions needed to ensure the successful digital transformation of the agricultural and construction machinery sectors.

Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE)


At their joint political conference, CECE-CEMA Summit 2015, held in Brussels on September 23, the presidents of CECE and CEMA (the European Agricultural Machinery Association) presented to the EU institutions a manifesto with five EU priority actions for a successful digital transformation of the construction and the agricultural machinery industries.

Smart regulation to cover virtual testing and self-propelled vehicles

Doing this, the two industries underline that when it comes to mastering the transition towards higher-value digitized machines and processes, EU legislation has a prominent role to play. Digital technologies are set to transform the two industries and products in the years ahead and will reshape the value chains they service. For manufacturers and customers alike, this means considerable change, challenges and opportunities. "We need a smart regulatory framework that helps to unlock the full potential of the digital economy," said CECE President Eric Lepine upon the presentation of the manifesto which explains what this could mean in practice: A smart regulation would, for example, make sure that relevant EU regulation recognize virtual testing of machines so it can replace, reduce and refine conventional tests in the future. Also, the current requirement that a human needs to be in control of a vehicle at all times may need to be reviewed. 

A reliable, secure and trustworthy cyberspace is needed

Digital economy needs a harmonized, European approach to achieve a high degree of interoperability and compatibility of digital technologies and systems. Users and manufacturers should have a reliable, secure and trustworthy cyberspace. In line with this, European approaches are needed to establish clear and appropriate rules governing questions such as the ownership, management and exploitation of digital data flows and the role and function of cloud-based platforms in the digital economy. Also, EU programs such as the European Investment Plan have a role to play in supporting competitiveness and the uptake of innovation in the areas of construction. An adequate broadband infrastructure across the entire EU also is an essential precondition for a successful digital transformation.

Demand for highly skilled workers

Digital transformation would trigger a growing demand for highly skilled workers. The industry claims that digital skills should be integrated more strongly into educational curricula and ongoing skill development programs in relation to manufacturing, engineering and construction. To tackle the estimated shortage of ICT professionals in Europe in the coming years, Member States should work to establish mutual recognition of ICT qualifications across the EU and promote cross-border mobility.

As a special part of the program of the summit, a select group of young engineers showcased a number of highly innovative industry projects, showing what the future in the sector will look like. For the construction equipment sector this included a Pivoted Drive Unit of Road Milling Machine by Tobias Stinner of Wirtgen; a Parallel to Surface by René Müller of Wirtgen; the Green Wheel Loader by Oliver Koch and Markus Schneider of Technical University of Dresden; and the Closed Loop Proportional Hydrostatic Drive System by Henry Hudson and Niall McNamee of Caterpillar. Their profiles and detailed information on their projects are available on the summit's website.