Smart Factory Test Bed Drives Manufacturing Innovation

The UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark has opened the country’s first R&D test bed facility dedicated to helping UK manufacturing develop digital solutions to drive innovation and productivity in their companies.

Greg Clark visited the Factory 2050 in Sheffield to see how a powerful private sector consortium led by Rolls-Royce and Accenture – and drawn from the aerospace, automotive and pharmaceutical industries – has collaborated with the University of Sheffield AMRC (long standing AREA member) to develop a connected facility that will de-risk investment in the digital technologies at the heart of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy and Made Smarter initiative.

Mr Clark, and the Minister for Business and Industry, Andrew Stephenson, were given a tour of the connected smart factory test bed which included real time data streams from remote machining activities, smart assembly using intelligent work benches and augmented reality, visual inspection linked to artificial intelligence and a reconfigurable factory cell.

The test bed aims to show the significant opportunities of applying digital technologies to manufacturing with 50% productivity benefit, 30% reduction in defects and 50% improved time to market increasingly being demonstrated.

The article features comment on the initiative from the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, Founder and Executive Dean of the AMRC, Professor Keith Ridgway and from The Director of Global Manufacturing at Rolls-Royce Dr Hamid Mughal. Read the full article here.

Read The AMRC’s AREA member profile

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