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2018 Industry 4.0 Summit and Factories of the Future Expo

Posted on 06/03/2018

Highlights from Industry 4.0 Summit

KTN and Innovate UK hosted stands to meet and connect with people, linking new ideas with funding, solutions and expertise.

Last week saw The Knowledge Transfer Network and Innovate UK partner the second edition of the annual Industry 4.0 Summit, along with the Factories of the Future Expo, at Manchester Central Convention Complex. Although the weather threatened to dampen spirits at times, most exhibitors and visitors managed to attend what was an engaging couple of days.

 

The trending technologies associated with Industry 4.0 are now well known, including robotics & automation, artificial intelligence  and additive manufacturing to name a few. Their benefits are also well promoted, with increases in productivity, connectivity and visualisation providing industry with real life potential for these innovative technologies.

The Summit was opened by Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK and leader of the Made Smarter Review, making the case for Britain’s Fourth Industrial Revolution and explaining what it all means for this country.

This led the way for a host of fascinating speakers, panel discussions and round tables on topics including supply chains, new business models, future factories, and innovation for growth. It was great to see a mixture of companies represented, from large OEMs to SMEs to research organisations, presenting their views on the journey to Industry 4.0 and some real-world case studies. Highlights included the leader’s symposium, where key industry leaders gave their thoughts on new opportunities. Ben Morgan from the AMRC, part of the HVM Catapult, discussed how connecting your legacy factory can produce the best out of what you already have (a first step towards realising the productivity benefits of Industry 4.0 perhaps). While Intel took a step into the future to ask, ‘what will my factory look like if I apply all aspects of Industry 4.0?’.

Day 2 also saw the Innovation for Growth section chaired by Ben Peace, who introduced 4Manufacturing®, where KTN have been helping manufacturers across the country engage in Industry 4.0. Ben was joined by Autocraft Drivetrain Solutions, ACE Lifts and Tharsus, who presented three great examples of the deployment of new technologies by SME manufacturers.

The Factories of the Future Expo that ran alongside the summit was a great chance for companies of all sizes to showcase their latest products, technology and developments. A walk around this expo was enough to witness the pace at which technology is moving forward. And if that wasn’t enough then the evening gave an opportunity for networking, including canapes served by an automated guided vehicle!

KTN and Innovate UK hosted stands to meet and connect with people, linking new ideas with funding, solutions and expertise. This included a KTN Innovation Showcase bringing together a host of innovative UK SMEs. These included HAL, RFID Direct, Active Data Metrics, Reeco, Flexciton, Metis Labs, Beaconzone and ClearChain.

Ben Peace, Head of Manufacturing at KTN said, “It was apparent to me that these companies have an appetite to work together, helping in the development of what is on offer to manufacturers. At the same time, they need to work with manufacturers as soon as they have a ‘minimum viable product’ to test their solutions in collaboration with manufactures and refine them over time.”

It was evident from all of the exhibitors on display that technology is experiencing a pace of change that is truly unprecedented, and this will inspire Britain’s next industrial revolution. The key now is introducing, promoting the uptake, and realising the benefits of these cutting edge technologies for UK manufacturers, a notion that was laid out in the Made Smarter Review, so they can build a productive, sustainable and innovative future.

KTN aims to help SMEs develop through the implementation and adoption of new technologies, using initiatives such as 4Manufacturing® where the focus is on digital technology for manufacturing. KTN can help identify key themes for your business using our specialist skills and experience, using this to connect you to new expertise, opportunities, markets and funding.

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Catch up on the highlights from the KTN team on the day