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£147 million investment in Manufacturing Made Smarter

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New funding has been announced to transform the UK’s manufacturing capabilities through the development and adoption of industrial digital technologies (IDT).

This investment will:

  • raise productivity by 30%
  • accelerate the drive to net zero emissions
  • create thousands of highly skilled jobs
  • allow the UK to shape the future of manufacturing.

UKRI has already awarded the challenge its first investment package of £20 million to 14 innovative projects in round one.

Winning projects include

Digitisation of aluminium welding – transforming UK bicycle frame-building

Frog Bikes is a British small and medium sized enterprise (SME) leading a project innovating the design of children’s bikes.

Using the latest digital technologies and manufacturing techniques (for example virtual design and testing, and automated, robotic techniques to join bicycle components together), they will create a lighter, better performing bike.

The system streamlines production, reduces cost, and, by allowing suppliers to use recycled materials, creates less waste. The project will bring these manufacturing techniques to the UK, securing control of the company’s supply chain and helping to reduce their carbon footprint.

The digital sandwich – digitised food supply chain

Raynor Foods, an award-winning UK sandwich supplier, is leading a project to create the ‘digital sandwich’. This is the world’s first national and ‘open’ software platform: a major piece of software that smaller programmes can operate within.

Food and drinks businesses can connect online using these programmes to share valuable data – increasing productivity, improving cashflow, boosting food quality and reducing waste within the supply chain.

Smart connected shop floor – real-time data integration with multi-sector applicability

GKN Aerospace is heading up a cross-sector team to trial a combination of digital technologies in live manufacturing environments.

These include artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, intelligent robots, augmented reality, and ‘smart’ devices that can exchange information between old and modern computer systems to enable a greater understanding of the data.

The £20 million funding is enhanced by industrial investments worth £30 million giving a total value of £50 million invested in sectors such as aerospace, automotive, and food and beverage.

The projects include IDT concepts such as digital twin, additive manufacturing, and Industrial Internet of Things.

About Manufacturing Made Smarter

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Manufacturing Made Smarter challenge programme, the innovation led for the national Made Smarter movement, will create a connected ecosystem harnessing the power of the UK’s leading companies large and small, large technology developers and new start-ups and spinouts, and our world-leading research institutions, increasing the number of collaborations up the value chain.

Round two of challenge competitions is now open – Manufacturing Made Smarter: Digital Supply Chain. Funding of £20 million will support innovative feasibility studies and industrial research projects. SMEs can apply for up to 70% funding towards project costs. Applications close 7 October 2020.

Chris Courtney, challenge director, ISCF Manufacturing Made Smarter said:

Digital technologies have the power to radically transform how we manufacture and deliver the products and services of today and the future. I am delighted that we have managed to secure the funding for this vital programme.

Our ambition is to support the UK to become a leader in the manufacturing industry and the development of the next generation of technology solutions that will shape how the world works.

The current COVID challenges all sectors are facing only underline the vital importance of manufacturing in the UK across all sectors. There are enormous opportunities to innovate in this area, we have world leading industries, a powerful scientific and research community, a vibrant technology sector. I’m excited to see how this powerful coalition transforms the future of manufacturing.

Further information

Round one: confirmed competition winners (project title and lead organisation)

  • Data-driven additive manufacturing for highly regulated industries
    DAEDALUS HIETA Technologies Ltd (Bristol – South West)
  • WeldZero
    ATS Applied Tech Systems Ltd (Nuneaton, Warwickshire – West Midlands)
  • Digital integrated and intelligent continuous (bio) manufacturing: an explosion of innovation
    Perceptive Engineering Ltd (Warrington, Cheshire – North West)
  • Digital servitisation demonstrator: from sensor to service to business success
    Baxi Heating UK Ltd (Warwick – West Midlands)
  • Digital design accelerator platform to connect active material design to product
    Astrazeneca UK Ltd (Cambridge – East of England)
  • InTiFi – industry for technologies into foundation industries
    Speciality Steel UK Ltd (Sheffield – South Yorkshire – Yorkshire and The Humber)
  • Next-generation digital design technology for formulated products involving complex materials
    Process Systems Enterprise Ltd (London)
  • The digital sandwich – digitised food supply chain, fusing IoT, blockchain and artificial intelligence data layers to improve productivity, traceability and reduce waste
    Raynor Foods Ltd (Chelmsford, Essex – East of England)
  • Smart connected shop floor
    GKN Aerospace (Bristol – South West)
  • Rapid sand casting production
    Raplas Technologies Ltd (Ascot, Berkshire – South East)
  • DIALOG – dynamic integration of automation with logistic
    Atlas Copco IAS UK Limited (Fintshire – Wales)
  • Digital designer robot: assisted self-service design for customers in bespoke manufacturing
    Account Management Online Ltd (Esher, Surrey – London)
  • SIMPLE – smart information platform and ecosystem for manufacturing
    Fully Distributed Systems Ltd (Loughborough, Leicestershire – East Midlands)
  • Transformative industrial digitisation of UK frame-building
    Frog Bikes Ltd (Ascot, Berkshire – South East).

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