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Made In The North West Shortlisted 2019

Made In The North West Shortlisted 2019

We are excited to have been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Made in the North West Awards.

Now in its seventh year, the event is a celebration of all that is great about manufacturing in the North West region. It applauds the use of technology, the ambition to export, and the motivation to train and invest in people. It is a showcase for the region and its diverse industries ranging from life sciences to food, to automotive.

Metis Automation has been nominated for the Automotive Award for our paperless manufacturing MES software product Tascus.

The shortlisted companies will find out who has won at the Made in the North West dinner on 9 May 2019 at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.

The event is in association with the Department for International Trade, with Biffa and Made Smarter both sponsors. The Manufacturers Alliance is an associate sponsor.

Initiatives for Manufacturing Innovation at the Wirral Manufacturing Forum

Initiatives for Manufacturing Innovation at the Wirral Manufacturing Forum

Our Technical Director, Martin, attended the Wirral Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Forum earlier this month. It was a great opportunity to catch up with local manufacturers based on the Wirral. The theme of this event was business improvement projects and funding available in the North West, for manufacturing innovation. The two key projects being the Manufacturing Growth Fund and also Made Smarter.

The North West is a real focus for projects focusing on improving manufacturing productivity at the moment, due to it being a key part of the UK economy. In the North West, there are 14,500 manufacturing companies, generating 15% of the UK’s total manufacturing output.

Manufacturing Growth Fund

The North West Manufacturing Growth fund is designed to support consultancy costs, for manufacturing business improvements. This leads to outputs of improved productivity and job creation. Projects can be undertaken to improve Sales & Marketing, Operations, Systems, IT and Innovation.

Key Details

  • 36% grant funding.
  • Projects between £3-20k.
  • SME’s in North West are eligible (up to 250 employees and £50M revenue).

You can find out more about the Manufacturing Growth Fund here.

Made Smarter

Mannufacturing Innovation Made Smarter Logo

The Made Smarter initiative is aiming to increase Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) in the UK, by increasing leadership, adoption and innovation. A pilot scheme based in the North West was consequently launched in November 2018 and is testing out best ways to work with manufacturers to implement IDTs.

As part of the initiative, £20m in funding is available for North West manufacturers through 480 match-funded grants, for specialist advice & equipment.

It is aiming to raise awareness of the benefits and business opportunities of digital manufacturing. The benefits of adoption of IDTs in business include:

  • Raising productivity and international competitiveness of manufacturing businesses
  • Increased production efficiency
  • Reducing labour and materials costs
  • Getting ahead of the competition
  • Future-proofing your business

Support is available to SME’s in the form of business assessment from IDT experts, grant funding (50% funding if projects up to £40k), student placements and also leadership management training.

Examples of projects that would be undertaken by Made Smarter are:

  • Machine learning to improve production quality
  • Automation to improve productivity and upskill employees
  • Systems integration to link machinery across a manufacturing process

You can find out more about Made Smarter here.

Metis Automation helps manufacturers increase their productivity and profits with Paperless Manufacturing Software. To find out how you can benefit from manufacturing innovation, contact us now.

Digitalising Manufacturing

Digitalising Manufacturing

I visited the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry for a Digitalising Manufacturing Conference, where I had the chance to discuss the benefits that digital manufacturing can bring to manufacturing businesses, and also some of the roadblocks to its full adoption in the UK.

Impact of Digital Manufacturing

Carlos Lopez Gomez discussed the results of an Innovate UK funded study into the impacts of Digital Manufacturing globally. The study is aiming to collect and analyse evidence on the potential improvements from digital manufacturing. Most predictions of improved manufacturing productivity have focussed on expected, rather than observed impacts. So this Study is to provide some evidence-based research on actual improvements.

Few countries have reported data on observed impact, however, both Singapore and Korea have reported improvements of 30% manufacturing efficiency by adopting digital manufacturing technologies.

Business Value

Businesses surveyed in the report were asked what they found were the biggest business impacts of digital technologies on their business. They reported three key benefits:

  • Increased Revenue.
  • Reduced Costs.
  • Reduce Working Capital.

Business ValueHow Digital Manufacturing Helped
Increased Revenue• Increased Profit Margin
• Increased Sales of Existing Products
• Improved Product Performance
• Increased Customer Satisfaction
• Reduced Time to Market

Reduced Costs • Increased Manufacturing Efficiency
• Reduce Defects & Errors
• Reduce Maintenance Costs
• Improved Delivery Performance
• Reduce Equipment Commissioning & Tooling

Reduced Working Capital• Reduced Inventory

Business Value in Applications of Digital Manufacturing
Source: IfM

Manufacturers found that the biggest improvements came from reduced materials & labour costs, reduced defects & errors, increased output, and improved delivery performance.

In the manufacturing projects we’ve worked on we have helped Husco International to achieve their goal of zero defects manufacturing, and Mettler Toledo to improve their delivery performance by reducing production lead times. You can read the full case studies here.

Applications & Solutions

Businesses reported on digital manufacturing applications and solutions that led to the largest business impact. They found that the definition of manufacturing processes led to the biggest impact in reducing labour costs. An example of this would be defining a repeatable work process and using digital work instructions to ensure operators can quickly and repeatably follow the process.

The study also reported that manufacturers had achieved reduced costs by diminishing defects and errors in the manufacturing process. This was accomplished through good design and definition of the manufacturing process. Our clients use Tascus to guide operators through complex manufacturing processes. They use quality checks and inspection throughout, to ensure that defects and errors are eliminated.

Business ImprovementMost Impactful Technology Solutions
Reduction of Labour Costs• Process Design & Definition
• Resource Management
• Product design & definition
Reduction in Material Costs• Process design & definition
• Product development
• Process control & optimisation
Reduction of Defects and Errors• Product design definition
• Staff and workflow management
• Process design & definition
Increased Outputs• Packaging & Shipping
• Process control & optimisation
• Assembly

Improved Delivery Performance• Staff & workflow management
• Product & service quality management
• Production control & planning

We’ve worked with many manufacturers over the past 8 years, to implement business improvements in all of these areas. Our product Tascus helps manufacturers to increase outputs and reduce defects and errors in the manufacturing process.

You can read the full report here.

Smart Factory Expo 2018

Smart Factory Expo 2018

The countries’ largest digital manufacturing show – Smart Factory Expo, took place last week at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool.

The Smart Factory Expo is part of ‘Digital Manufacturing Week’ – the UK’s showcase for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It brings together expertise, ideas and opportunities in all aspects of manufacturing operations with exhibition floor presentations and drop-in advisory clinics, throughout six dedicated exhibition zones – Industrial Automation, Internet of Things, Digital Transformation, Smart Factory, Manufacturing Innovation, Industrial Data.

Running through the entire exhibition was ‘Innovation Alley’ – a showcase for manufacturing tech start-ups, ensuring that the whole 4IR ecosystem is represented. Exhibitors had the opportunity to engage directly with attendees and the discussion forums also allowed visitors to gain knowledge and hear best practice advice from thought-leaders in their respective sectors.

The Expo also launched the North West Pilot of the Government’s Made Smarter Review. This is a commission aimed at transforming the manufacturing industry with digital technologies to boost productivity, create more highly skilled jobs, and enable more efficient production systems.

New MES Features to Improve Manufacturing Productivity and Quality

New MES Features to Improve Manufacturing Productivity and Quality

We’ve had a busy couple of months at Metis Automation developing new MES features for our flagship paperless manufacturing software product Tascus.

In January, we began a series of customer interviews to get feedback on what features we could add that would bring value to manufacturers. As a result, we have recently added the following features:

  • Display smart work instructions. These can populate with values taken from step measurements. This makes it easier for your production operators to follow complex work instructions and reduces the chance of errors.
  • Display work instructions with CAD models. This means that you can cut out the step of generating work instructions as images, HTML or pdf. Instead, you can use product CAD models to give production operators product guidance.
  • Capture product images from USB cameras. These images will be recorded against the production step and time. You can track how the product looked at each stage of the manufacturing process. Our product report viewer allows you to view each production step result with the image of the product that has been captured.
  • Handle Non-Conforming Materials Efficiently. We’ve added workflows so that operators can quickly record any non-conforming materials, including the reasons for rejection. This allows you to quickly respond, classify and identify any materials or supplier issues.

Tascus Free Trial

As well as adding these new MES features, we’ve also launched a limited free trial of Tascus. This allows manufacturers to use the full features of Tascus free for 30 days, to evaluate how it can improve productivity and quality in their factory.

Metis Automation Presents at IIoT Roadshow

Metis Automation Presents at IIoT Roadshow

Martin Griffiths, Technical Director at Metis Automation presented at a recent National Instruments Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Roadshow at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Coventry.

Throughout the day, presenters from National Instruments introduced the Industrial Internet of Things, covering the following topics:

  • Data acquisition and data processing at the edge.
  • Control.
  • Communication & security.
  • Data management & visualisation.
  • Machine learning.

They also gave interesting case studies of how companies such as Jaguar Land Rover and China Steel, carried out IIoT strategies and are measuring ROI.

Improving Manufacturing Productivity and Quality with the IIoT

Martin outlined his views on how manufacturers can utilise the IIoT as a tool to improve their productivity and quality, to increase their global competitiveness. He gave examples of projects Metis Automation has completed, using our MES Software Tascus, giving a real competitive advantage. Our clients are using the IIoT to reduce manual planning and data collection in their factories to deliver higher quality, more customised products to their customers.