New jobs, the implementation of ground breaking technology and higher productivity are the likely outcomes at the culmination of an innovative technology programme designed to stimulate digital revolution amongst manufacturers in the North West.
Technical experts from 26 manufacturers including global leaders NGF Europe, Hyde Aero Products and Poppies Europe formed the 34-strong cohort on the first IN4.0 ACCESS Accelerator programme.
The training, developed and delivered by IN4.0 Group in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire, will now see delegates implement a host of new technological changes within their businesses, that increase operational efficiencies, help develop new products and systems, create jobs and stimulate growth.
The accelerator, hosted at The Landing at MediaCityUK, was supported by 35 industry partners including BAE Systems, Vodafone, Amazon Web Services, Siemens and NatWest who collaborated with delegates to share real-world, practical knowledge and experience of implementing Industry 4.0 practices.
According to figures from Accenture, Industry 4.0, hailed as the 4th industrial revolution, could boost the UK economy by £350 billion by 2030. In the North West, new research released by Make UK and BDO LLP suggest the manufacturing sector was worth £28.5 billion over the past year – and that figure would be accelerated by upskilling employees and implementing Industry 4.0 techniques.
Dave Holmes is Manufacturing Director at BAE Systems. He and members of the BAE Systems team shared their experiences of implementing industrial IOT and connected environments with the ACCESS delegates.
He commented “The ACCESS programme blends the very best of academic thinking with peer-to-peer learning and I was inspired by the open-minded approach that delegates took to sharing and discovering new ideas, to collaborating, challenging, and learning from each other.
“BAE Systems need an effective, progressive supply chain here in the North West and ACCESS showcased so many ambitious, pro-active companies, exploring how they can push boundaries and progress their manufacturing processes here in the region.
“The challenge isn’t to find out if the ACCESS Programme can work, but to discover if it can be scaled at pace to help close the productivity gap in the UK manufacturing sector. This is a huge opportunity for ambitious, progressive businesses, willing to learn from others.”
Collaboration and peer to peer learning were defining themes throughout the programme. Through the accelerator, Peter Lai, Continuous Improvement & 4IR Manager at NGF Europe, was introduced to Amazon Web Services. As a result, he is now scoping a project with support from IN4.0 Group, to integrate his computer network in Europe with that of parent company NSF in Japan.
He will soon reach proof of concept stage for a secondary project to validate the use of Internet of Things (IOT) devices into machines in his factory, with the ultimate goal of creating operational efficiencies within the St. Helen’s factory, which makes fibre glass for a range of industries.
Peter said; ‘I think the biggest thing I’ve taken away is all of the unique technologies and how it has moved on so quickly and how much I’ve learnt. Now I have a better knowledge of cloud based systems working with Amazon Web Services.”
Commenting on the success of the programme, IN4.0 Group CEO, Mo Isap, said; “Our first ACCESS programme delivered unique applied learning outcomes to our manufacturing cohort across the North West. The core themes of the programme were collaboration and peer to peer learning, with delegates sharing their own experiences as well as learning from the industry experts who have already implemented and reaped the rewards of many of the technologies and techniques ACCESS showcased.
“This project would not have been possible with the support of our partners in industry and academia. They made a bold commitment to develop and deliver the programme with us. As a result we’ve helped manufacturers understand the opportunities that digital adoption brings.
“This is about helping manufacturers gain confidence in new technologies and understand what is possible, so they can take those incremental steps towards change. They are all at different changes in their digital journey, there is no one-size-fits-all. Their experiences on the course have been unique to each delegate and now they can apply their newfound skills to test and apply some of the principles within their own organisations.
“The vision is for IN4.0 Group to become global leaders and pioneers in Industry 4.0, and to future proof jobs for our emerging talent, so they’re equipped to thrive and succeed in every region of the UK.”
The next ACCESS programme will run in September 2020. Spaces are limited and businesses are encouraged to sign up now to avoid disappointment.
IN4.0 Group will deliver an exclusive Internet of Things (IOT) course in partnership with Amazon Web Services in March 2020. Training will focus on capturing, visualising and analysing operational technology data to drive productivity.