Of the 84 businesses that have received funding through the North West Industry 4.0 adoption pilot, 61 embraced industrial digital technologies which connect their disparate systems and unify data residing in different sources.
Integrating a variety of systems and consolidating data sources allows business leaders to spot trends in production and labour, correct maintenance and quality issues, and minimise safety, business risk and operational downtime throughout their production. The benefits of these can be seen in the entire supply chain eco-system.
SMEs from various manufacturing sectors have invested in other advanced technologies to solve their business challenges. 20 of the manufacturers are adopting Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) using sensors to collect critical production data to gain valuable insights about the efficiency of operations.
17 of the SMEs are adopting robotics and process control automation and 13 are focused on big data and analytics technologies. Meanwhile, other businesses are investing in 3D printing (6), artificial intelligence (2), augmented and virtual reality (5), and cyber security (2).
Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter North West, said: “Data and analytics are central to the 4th industrial revolution, so I am extremely pleased that so many SME manufacturers are putting data at the heart of their own digitalisation journeys.
“Capturing the data from across their processes and bringing it all together in one place is a vital first step for many manufacturers looking to solve problems and recognise opportunities. Simultaneously, many of these SMEs are also deploying sensors in their factories to collect valuable data.
“The next step, one which some forward-thinking SMEs are already taking, is to analyse the data using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
T&R Precision, an engineering company operating in the aerospace sector based in Foulridge, invested in a bespoke solution to fully automate a machining system by applying new software and hardware solutions to a 5-axis CNC machine. It is integrated with the quality control department, provides real time oversight to the management team and allows every order to be tracked and integrated into the supply chain.
The solution reduces the manufacturing process from 90 hours to 18, increases productivity levels and is forecast to increase revenue by 33% over the next three years.
Made Smarter www.madesmarter.uk