The primary purpose of Pitch-In’s manufacturing theme was to accelerate the adoption and utilisation of Internet of Things (IoT) technology within UK industry. The UK Government review on industrial digitalisation titled Made Smarter put forward that digital manufacturing was key to industrial competitiveness and sustainability.
IoT is a vital enabler of digital manufacturing, open, cloud-based IoT operating systems are set to transform manufacturing companies by connecting their assets and physical infrastructure to the digital world, and go beyond traditional organisational boundaries. By doing so, it will allow organisations to harness big data from billions of intelligent devices, products, organisational entities, enabling them to uncover transformational insights across their entire business and potentially offer new services for customers.
Some estimates rank the Industrial Internet opportunity at $32.3 trillion. The impact of implementing future digital technologies in manufacturing and supply chains will result in increased competitiveness and exploitation of opportunities whilst reducing risks and building impetus.
However, Industrial IoT is far from being mature and readily deployable. While the UK Manufacturing sector is one of the early adopters of the Industrial IoT, several technical, and cultural barriers around the deployment of highly networked and interconnected systems need to be addressed to bridge the gap between basic research and technology commercialisation.
Technologies developed in universities need to be tested, experimented and de-risked to allow rapid and smooth implementation. The Pitch-In manufacturing strand focussed on building a sustainable and cost-effective digital transformation IoT framework for industrialists.
Some of the topics we explored include:
Low cost automation: how can IoT technologies be deployed using off-the-shelf, low cost components so that they can be adopted by SMEs and companies further down the supply chain?
Supply chain automation: How can IoT based technologies help in data capture and optimal decision making across a number of interconnected organisations?
Legacy technologies: How can legacy technologies, and existing machines be adopted seamlessly to work with IoT?
Quality analytics: Can IoT improve quality control and optimisation in factory operations in real time? Through a set of mini-projects, workshops and events, existing or emerging research that addresses the above questions will be shared and explored with industrial partners, and local and national wide manufacturing networks.