The launch of Made Smarter Pilot scheme
At the start of the year, we attended the pre-launch of digital manufacturing week at the house of lords in London. The event set the stage for what’s been a busy year for many companies who are commencing their digital transformation journey. And this week saw Digital Manufacturing week take place in Liverpool.
We visited the event and spoke to many of the companies who were exhibiting. It was hugely interesting to see how fast the pace of industrial innovation and change is happening. The common word used by many of the companies was ‘collaboration’. What’s evident is that for Industry 4.0 to be a success, it relies on collaborative working. And for companies to work together rather than in direct competition.
Digital Manufacturing Week also marked the official launch of the £20m ‘Made Smarter’ pilot scheme. This was unveiled by the CEO of Siemens, Juergen Maier and Business & Industry Minister, Richard Harrington.
The pilot schemes are as a direct result of the ‘Made Smarter review’ which was produced last year. The document highlighted how all areas of industry (aerospace, pharmaceutical, construction etc) can further evolve or commence digital transformation.
The aim of the pilot scheme is to provide manufacturers with ‘management consultancy’ services around the adoption and implementation of industrial digital technologies (IDT). The key technology areas will include; artificial intelligence, data analytics virtual reality, additive manufacturing, IoT/sensors, 3D printing and robotics.
These will operate across five growth hubs within the Northwest. And are aiming to work with 3,000 local manufacturers and deliver detailed support and guidance to 600.
The pilots are of key significance to the rest of the country, as if they prove to be a success, it could result in a nationwide rollout of the programme. This is estimated to be worth £120m.
The next few years and beyond promises to be a hugely exciting time for industry as digital technology becomes widely accessible to companies of all sizes and is no longer exclusive to large-scale, global organisations.