Helping to demystify industrial
digitalisation in UK manufacturing

Chancellor presents economic roadmap post-Covid

Having been given the political roadmap out of the pandemic and a view of a return to some sort of normality the Chancellor presented the economic roadmap out of the recovery in the recent Budget. Stephen Phipson, Make UK CEO, reports for Smart Machines & Factories.

Hannover Messe digital set to showcase in April

The corona pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of industry. At the same time, it has exposed the vulnerability of global supply chains. In the midst of unprecedented upheaval, industry faces a crucial question: Which strategies, measures and partnerships ensure competitiveness? Hannover Messe Digital Edition – the central platform for innovation, networking and orientation in the age of industrial transformation – provides the answers. Smart Machines Factories reports.

Collaboration to leverage software technology for the transformation of engineering education

Analog Devices, Inc. has collaborated with the University of Limerick (UL) and other prominent companies, including economic infrastructure technology leader Stripe, to launch a world-leading computer science programme called Immersive Software Engineering (ISE). Smart Machines & Factories.

Keeping competitive with food automation

With an overall turnover of €1,109bn and more than 4.5mn people employed across the continent, the food and drink industry is undoubtedly one of the most economically important industries in Europe. Add to this the fact that there are 294,000 European companies active in the industry and it becomes plain to see why the ability to remain competitive is vital for food manufacturers. George Walker reports.

The importance of innovation & digital transformation in production engineering

It is vital in every industry to make the most of technology and innovation, and few more so than in engineering. Chris Joy outlines why digital transformation is important for smaller engineering firms.

Smart Technology Zone

The IIoT journey starts with remote telemetry

The first rule of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) is that communications will fail. One challenge is rising volumes of data place increasing loads on both the main server and the communications networks connected to it. Craig Abbot explains why remote telemetry units (RTU) are vital for minimising congestion in intelligent power, utility, broadcast and transport applications.

Talking Industry: Small steps, big benefits

The theme of the third in the series of Talking Industry online panel discussions organised by DFA Media, the publisher of Smart Machines & Factories, was Industrial Networks, IIoT and Communications. The session chairman Andy Pye reports on the event.

New technologies exhibited in a virtual interactive platform

New technologies that can be used to achieve industrial transformation have take a progressive leap forward with the virtual exhibition from OMRON, which enables visitors to walk through a 360 degree virtual tour, guiding them around ‘the factory of the future’ – one in which different innovations have been introduced to increase flexibility, enhance efficiency and boost productivity.

Industrial Strategy to be given a refresh

The UK government is refreshing the national industrial strategy that will put science and technological advancements at the forefront of growth. In addition, the refreshed strategy is touted to focus more on levelling up regional economies, increasing innovation and adoption of technologies more widely. Stephen Phipson, MAKE UK, chief executive explains further for Smart Machines & Factories.

Half of manufacturing business leaders resistant to digital progress

Outdated attitudes towards technology amongst senior business leaders are at risk of jeopardising future business survival, new research has found.

Five key trends in smart warehousing for 2021 and beyond

2020 was a year like no other. So what are the implications for warehousing and fulfilment in 2021? Tim Wright looks to the future of the smart warehouse with five key trends.

How has 2020 reshaped manufacturing?

At the outset of 2020, none would have predicted the course that the year would take due to COVID-19. The global pandemic, and the response to it, upended many manufacturing businesses and fundamentally shifted what plant operations look like. Stephen Hayes looks at how the events of 2020 reshaped the coming years for manufacturing.

Smart predictions: The connected technology that will transform 2021

Although we have bid a grateful farewell to 2020, the disruption and uncertainty we experienced are spilling over into 2021. If there is one thing that we learnt last year, however, it’s that we need to accelerate the pace of transformative change. Connected technology is of critical importance in this process, and is likely to be one of the key economic drivers going forward. Matthew Margetts reports.

A universal digital foundation for new modular safety relay

Industry 4.0 encompasses so much more than simply optimising existing processes. Automation company Pilz has drawn up a universal, digital concept – from ordering through to commissioning with its latest modular safety relay myPNOZ. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

‘Solve for Tomorrow’ competition to bring Gen Z Ideas to Life

Samsung Electronics has launched ‘Solve for Tomorrow’, a youth competition, running for the first time in the UK. The programme brings compassion, education and technology together to help young people nurture and create solutions to their local community’s most pressing problems within four key challenge areas: education, sustainability, diversity & inclusion, and social isolation.

COVID-19 could be turning turning point for advanced technologies implementation

New research commissioned by Digital Catapult and the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator has revealed that COVID-19 could prove to be a turning point when it comes to UK manufacturers implementing advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the internet of things or 5G, with 77% saying that the pandemic has made their business more open to change and innovation.

AM: A serious alternative to existing production methods

There’s no question that 2020 proved to be a banner year for 3D printing / additive manufacturing (AM). Amidst the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the technology firmly cemented its position as a serious alternative to existing production methods. Carlos Zwikker* reports.

What will the SME manufacturing landscape look like post COVID-19?

Chris Evans* looks at the effect the pandemic could have on the future adoption of automation in manufacturing within SMEs.

Automated storage system helps manufacturer towards its smart factory vision

Stafford based Alpha Manufacturing has this year extended its investment in a TRUMPF 10 bay STOPA storage system to serve multiple machines at this sheet-metal fabricator's plant. The completion of the STOPA marks the culmination of Alpha's journey to automation and its 'smart factory' vision. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Made Smarter-supported manufacturers forecast 750 new jobs from £12.6M technology investment

Manufacturers supported by Made Smarter, the movement helping SMEs join the Industry 4.0 revolution, are forecasting the creation of more than 750 new jobs from £12.6M of technology investment

UK poised to be a world leader in innovation

Digital industrialisation could be worth as much as £455 billion to Britain’s economy over the next decade, and could turn the UK, and the Midlands in particular, into a science superpower. This is according to a new report by the Midlands Manufacturing Resilience Commission (M2R), Manufacturing Confidence, which shows Britain will become a world leader in innovation if it embraces digital manufacturing.

SME manufacturers must take a strategic approach to capitalise on technology adoption

Manufacturers are risking wasted time, money and effort adopting digital technology without a strategic plan for digital transformation, research by Made Smarter North West Pilot has revealed.

AI and robotics: enabling cost-effective production

What can European automotive companies do to future-proof their production lines, especially in relation to battery manufacturing? Robotics, automated quality control and artificial intelligence (AI) can help companies to tackle the strong competition they are facing from Asia. Henry Claussnitzer reports.

Taking the step-by-step approach to Digital Twins

Gaining insights into the operating health and service status of plant and machinery is a priority for Industry 4.0. As foot soldiers posted on the front line of operations, sensors collect intelligence with the power to be transformative for operating efficiency. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

How similar can humans and robots be?

Chloe Reynolds explains how manufacturers can use AR to further bridge the gap between humans and robots in assembly and more.

Data & Diversity: 5 things manufacturers need to seriously consider in 2019

John Roberts, director of Idhammar Systems, addresses 5 developments manufacturers need to seriously consider this year, and shares his predictions for the manufacturing industry in 2019.

MTC takes delivery of Spot the robotic dog

The Manufacturing Technology Centre has taken delivery of two agile robotic dogs as part of MTC Liverpool's Digital Manufacturing Accelerator programme. Named Spot, the robotic dogs can climb stairs and cross rough terrain which would defeat most robots.

Cyber-security in the emerging digital world

It seems a long time ago now since various malware attacks on the operational layer changed the security landscape and highlighted vulnerabilities in the de-facto automation architecture. However, as we move along the road towards Smart Manufacturing with a view to improving efficiency, productivity and reliability of supply using the principles of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the subject of cyber-security is becoming arguably even more important. Chris Evans, marketing & operations group manager at Mitsubishi Electric

5G to transform technology and business

Speaking at the New Street Research and BCG 5G Conference recently, Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group, discussed three major inflection points driving and changing the landscape of technology and business: 5G network transformation, artificial intelligence and the rise of the intelligent edge.

HVM Catapult and Made Smarter announce new Smart Factory Innovation Hubs

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Made Smarter, the UK’s manufacturing digitalisation movement, have announced a new HVM Catapult-led Made Smarter Smart Factory Innovation Hubs pilot. This will see its network offer companies the opportunity to reduce the risk of implementing new digital manufacturing solutions within their businesses.

Securing sensitive manufacturing data

There was a time when securing sensitive information was as simple as putting a lock on a filing cabinet. But with the rapid development of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cloud computing technologies, industrial data protection has become much more complex.

3D printing - the future of aircraft

Benjamin Stafford, materials science expert at materials search engine Matmatch, explores the future relationship of aviation and additive manufacturing.

Investment in digital skills powering UK manufacturing through COVID crisis

British manufacturing companies moved at speed towards digitalisation when the pandemic struck, with nearly half switching to digital working practices within two weeks of lockdown, according to new research, ‘Digital Skills for a Digital Manufacturing Future’, published recently by Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation and Sage. With just a fortnight’s digital installation and planning, 94% of companies said they had staff working successfully from home in industries often associated with manual tasks and a high proportion of production-based work.

Making the most of downtime

Injuries in sport are inevitable, but the greatest sporting comebacks haven’t been achieved by simply accepting the circumstances and waiting for recovery. The same philosophy can be applied to factory shutdowns. Chris Johnson explores the factory maintenance opportunities gifted by an unexpected pause in production.

The Smart way to Industry 4.0 with PROFINET based technologies

INCASE (“Industry 4.0 via Networked Control Applications and Sustainable Engineering”), co-organised by PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI UK)and the European Interreg Project, are free-to-attend seminars that will address the key practical issues arising from the use of digital communications technologies in automated manufacturing and process industry applications, with particular attention to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Securing, certifying and increasing production with additive manufacturing

Thanks to its recognised efficiency-enhancing benefits, additive manufacturing is a technology increasingly integrated within the production operations of companies around the world. Lee-Bath Nelson looks at how, with the right software solutions, manufacturers can enjoy safe, repeatable and trackable production while also ensuring that fundamental certification requirements are adhered to.

Creating a smart warehouse with enhanced Internet connectivity

Nick Sacke explains how deploying high performance units to provide enhanced Internet connectivity from day one at existing and new warehouses can offer tangible benefits for logistics firms as they rebound post the current pandemic.

Centrica Storage chooses Vodafone technology to build the gas processing plant of the future

Centrica Storage limited (CSL) and Vodafone will build the gas plant of the future at their Easington facility by launching the first 5G ready mobile private network (MPN) for the oil and gas industry.

Approaching quality in the digital era

British industry has a productivity problem. Compared with major competitors like the USA, Germany and France, its productivity lags. It isn’t because we’re not working hard enough ― studies have shown that British workers put in the longest hours in the EU. So, if we’re working longer, but are still less efficient, where are we going wrong? Mike John*, explores how the UK industry can start a quality revolution.

Siemens to power digitalisation at Treatt’s new global headquarters

Treatt, an ingredients manufacturer and solutions provider to the global flavour, fragrance and consumer goods markets, has partnered with Siemens Digital Industries (DI) to build a world class digital manufacturing facility at its £41m new global headquarters.

Moving forward through the manufacturing storm

Standing still isn’t an option for manufacturers in the UK. Neither is simply moving forward with a “business as usual” mindset. Researchers at the MIT CISR identified two drivers for successful digital transformation: an organisation’s experience maturity, and its operational efficiency. Smart Machines & Factories explains how the latest technology can reduce unnecessary production space to improve operations within the production line.

How COVID-19 is making STEM cool for careers

New research by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has revealed that young people have taken inspiration from healthcare professionals and engineers during the Covid-19 pandemic to enhance their perceptions of real and life changing engineering and science to consider these roles for future careers.

Schneider calls for an automation revolution

Schneider Electric is calling for a revolution in automation technologies, based on open standards, that, it says, will “unleash innovation and boost efficiency, resilience, productivity, agility and sustainability”. It has unveiled what it describes as “the world’s first software-centric automation system” and says the time is right for a bold move in industrial automation. It is urging industrial users, vendors, OEMs, systems integrators to embrace what it calls “universal automation”.

Made Smarter rolls-out leadership programme

A leadership programme equipping business leaders with the vision and the skills to pursue smarter manufacturing is being rolled out to leading universities.

New report highlights digital technologies essential for UK manufacturing competitiveness

British manufacturing companies have taken significant steps in adopting digital technologies with some 80% confident that Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) will be a reality in their businesses by 2025, according to new research, ‘Bouncing Back Smarter: Innovation Monitor 2020’, published by Make UK - the manufacturers’ organisation - and Infor.

Strategic acquisition enhances portfolio of high-speed industrial robots

ABB has acquired Codian Robotics B.V., a leading provider of delta robots, which are used primarily for high-precision pick and place applications. Codian Robotics’ product range includes a hygienic design line for hygiene-sensitive industries including food and beverage and pharmaceuticals. With the transaction, ABB is accelerating its engagement in the growing field of delta robots.

Smart Industry Exhibition and co-located shows rescheduled to take place on 5th-7th April 2022 at NEC, Birmingham, Halls 9 & 10

As a consequence of the Government’s recent announcement to the delay of events taking place from October 2020, and the continued uncertainty and local lockdowns, DFA Media, organiser of Smart Industry Exhibition and co-located shows, has announced the event has been rescheduled for 5th - 7th April 2022, which will take place alongside MACH Exhibition. The co-location of events include:

Made Smarter digital transformation workshops launched

Made Smarter has launched a new, streamlined process to enable more SME manufacturers to speed up their digital transformation.

Putting the logic back into logistics

Robot-led automation can make a tremendous difference to the efficiency, accuracy and - not least - to the flexibility of logistics operations in all settings. With developments such as e-commerce and omnichannel distribution set to transform the way consumers purchase and receive their goods, Nigel Platt* explains why robotic automation offers an increasingly logical solution for logistics.

How similar can humans and robots be?

Augmented reality (AR)allows you to experience an enhanced version of reality. From computer games to manufacturing, this technology can help humans gain repeatable and reliable results just as a robot would. Chloe Reynolds* explains how manufacturers can use AR to further bridge the gap between humans and robots in assembly and more.

Government invests £147m in Manufacturing Made Smarter to transform UK manufacturing

The Government will be investing £147m in the Manufacturing Made Smarter challenge to transform UK manufacturing capabilities through the development and adoption of Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs).

Restarting and reviving the economy

As we work to manage our emergence from the in-the-moment quest for survival that characterised the height of the pandemic, our politicians must turn their minds to the longer-term view and, crucially, how to rebuild the British economy. Dick Elsy, CBE, chief executive, HVM Catapult, reports.

Digital future beckons for manufacturing business

Sheet metal firm Salamander Fabrications has partnered with Siemens Mobility and The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to undergo an environmentally friendly project that will transform its operations to become entirely paperless.

Make UK leads campaign to protect skills

As we enter the Autumn and industry, the economy and the political world emerges from the late summer break all eyes will be on how far the recovery is becoming entrenched or whether there remain many long months ahead. Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation, comments.

A platform for knowledge at Smart Industry Expo 2021

Having been given the green light to go ahead by the Government, the forthcoming co-located events; Smart Industry Expo, Plant & Asset Management, Drives & Controls, Fluid Power & Systems, and Air-Tech Exhibitions – will return to Birmingham’s NEC between the 25th -27th January 2021, alongside MACH.

Manufacturers to recognise and celebrate successes of the sector

Now in its 12th year, the prestigious Make UK Awards acknowledge and reward the extraordinary work of the UK manufacturing sector. The 2020 Make UK Awards seek to recognise leading lights within the manufacturing industry, looking for those apprentices and businesses that have made significant contributions across the industry.

Foundations set for digital operations in upper tier COMAH site

By using an integrated solution, Siemens DI has enabled Kemira to optimise how it makes its polyacrylamide products, which are used for the cleaning of municipal and industrial wastewater, and consequently achieve increased productivity levels at its Bradford plant.

Inaugural Talking Industry digital broadcast tackles key manufacturing issues

Talking Industry, a series of digitally broadcast panel discussions, featuring leading experts from the automation and manufacturing industries, has been launched by DFA Media - the publisher of Plant & Works Engineering, Smart Machines and Factories, Drives & Controls and Hydraulics & Pneumatics magazines, took place on July 14th. Smart Machines & Factories takes a look at one of the key discussions during the inaugural event.


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