Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering

Abstract

Industry and Manufacturing are changing with the advent of smart digital, autonomous and intelligent technologies. Values for manufacturers are changing from production to technological knowhow and design; ownership models are changing from outright ownership to collaborative and long term partnership; media are continuing their shift from physical to digital; there is an increasing focus on distribution of work and service; and the partnership between the manufacturing sector and the technology sector is increasingly key. This shift is taking place in the societal and business context of the UK in the 21st Century. In order to harness the potential from this shift, the changes in human skills, capabilities and working environments needs to be considered, alongside the development and change in business models that underpin industry and innovation.
European colleagues have responded to this notion with a systems approach by coining the term 'Industrie 4.0'(or Industry 4.0). Changes to future industrial systems in the digital age demands funded research in order to ensure that the UK is well placed within an international context to respond to the challenges presented from industry and to implement new science and engineering into real world systems as quickly and effectively as possible.
This proposal outlines a Network Plus activity that will bring together core colleagues from the Manufacturing, Digital Economy, Design, Human Factors and Business communities to build new collaborations between leading academics and industry partners. The network will move beyond Industry 4.0 to develop new 'state of the art' perspectives on future industrial systems, which will encompass technology advances, and human, business and social perspectives, to ensure a full understanding of the realities of implementing digital technologies into future industrial systems. There will be a particular focus on ensuring that challenges addressed within the Network Plus are driven by the current and future industrial context.
The Network Plus will a) identify relevant elements from these existing activities to conduct international benchmarking and establish the UK lead in specific elements of relevance to Future Industrial Systems in the Digital Age; b) enhance cross-sectorial learning; and c) identify new, discipline-bridging, agenda-setting opportunities for feasibility studies leading to scientific insight and future funding applications from national and international funders.

Planned Impact

This Network Plus will generate impact for the following groups:
- Industry: through new knowledge generated in feasibility studies, including new insight into data sets examined via feasibility studies, new partnerships formed through industry participation in networking events, new research potentially directly funded by industry, and competitive advantage both for specific industrial network participant and industry within the UK as a whole. Industry will benefit through participation in Network Plus events, supporting academic placements in industry, and feasibility studies, and through the resources produced by the Network Plus, including a road map and accessible demonstrations of Future Industrial Systems in a Digital Age. These outputs will help industry identify suitable collaboration partners for future research, and determine opportunities for investment in new technologies.
- Policy makers: through identification of key challenges and opportunities for the UK in future industrial systems, demonstration of potential technologies to be deployed within industrial settings, and prioritisation of requirements for research and capital investment, and use of the road map produced as part of the Network Plus which will identifies strengths and opportunities for UK industry and academia for future Industrial Systems in the Digital Age. This will enable them to decide on financial priorities, encourage partnerships between key industrial and academic stakeholders, and influence standards and regulatory frameworks.
- General public: through new insight into the future notions that will be embedded in digitally-led industrial systems. This will be achieved through accessible dissemination resources such as videos.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Enable Programme - Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Leadership Group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Collaboration with the Manufacturing Technology Centre of the HVM Catapult in relation to the second round feasibility studies 
Organisation Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Network Plus has provided input into the ongoing development of policy and research around the industry strategy
Collaborator Contribution The MTC contributed £60k towards the funding of 5 feasibility studies (as part of the second round of funding, 6 having been previously funded). These monies added to the funds provided by the EP/001246/1 funding and enabled an additional study to be awarded (the plan and budget had been for 10 projects). The MTC was actively involved in the reviewing of the submitted proposals as well as the final funding decisions.
Impact It is too early in the lifecycles of the funding projects to identify outputs or outcomes as only 2 of the 5 projects have kicked off, with the remaining 3 due to kick off in March/April 2018
Start Year 2017
 
Description 2017 Industrial Systems in the Digital Age Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The 2017 Conference was held on 20 and 21 June at the University of Glasgow, attracting nearly 90 delegates, representing over 40 institutions/ organisations. There were 3 keynote talks, 6 feasibility studies presentations, 2 presentations from industry perspectives, 11 oral presentations and over 30 poster presentations. Delegate feedback has been sought via an online survey post conference - of the responses been submitted to date, all have said that they were either Satisfied (35%) or Very Satisfied (65%) with the event overall and 95% would recommend the conference to a colleague.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://connectedeverything.ac.uk/activities/events/conference-2017/
 
Description AFRC Digital Manufacturing Workshop (Feb 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On 10 February 2017, the AFRC held a research focussed workshop on the theme of digital manufacturing, where academic experts were given the opportunity to meet, discuss and capture current research and discuss potential future opportunities in digital manufacturing. The Network Plus was promoted by one of the speakers and, together with some personal representation by the Network Plus manager, resulted in the sign up of new members to the Network as well as plans to undertake future related activity with a number of organisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://hvm.catapult.org.uk/news-events-gallery/events/digital-manufacturing-workshop/
 
Description Appetite for Engineering Conference 2017 (Feasibility Study PI Nik Watson) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Over 150 senior executives from all areas of the food and beverage production sector came together at Appetite for Engineering to discuss challenges and opportunities and they left inspired to consider new solutions to tackle old production problems and to adopt more innovative and novel approaches to ensure their continuing success in this competitive sector. Dr Nik Watson presented the Network funded BrewNet feasibility study at this conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://appetite4eng.co.uk/speakers
 
Description Connected Everything: 2017 Summer School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The Machine Learning in Manufacturing Summer School: Addressing the Challenges of Industry 4.0, which took place from 12-15 September 2017 at Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, was a collaboration between Professor Darek Ceglarek from Warwick Manufacturing Group and Dr Rajesh Ransing from Swansea University. The Summer School was funded by Connected Everything: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age, the EPSRC Funded Network Plus and kindly sponsored by Natural Computing Applications Forum (NCAF) and Neural Computing and Applications (NC&A) Journal.

Industry 4.0, Digital Manufacturing, Big Data Analytics have created new opportunities for cross-fertilisation of machine learning and manufacturing streams. The objective of the Summer School was to bring together research students and early career researchers in statistics, the machine learning and data mining community with interest in manufacturing as well as manufacturing researchers who wanted to see how information technology and artificial intelligence could help them. The summer school aimed to bring those interdisciplinary teams together. 30 Postgraduate students and early career researchers attended.

Amongst the topics explored were Predictive Analytics and Data Visualisation in Manufacturing; Supply Chain Management and Connected Enterprise; Automated Inspection and Image Processing; and Human-Robot and Robot-Robot Interactions.

Leading experts from manufacturing industries spoke on the current challenges they were facing in their journey towards Industry 4.0. They identified expectations from machine learning community and presented a number of inspiring and thought-provoking case studies. In addition, there were group discussions, hands-on examples on industry-relevant problems, and a mock EPSRC style panel review meeting.
Students were asked to bring a poster of their current work/interests and prepare a 'reflective' presentation starting with their machine learning problem and sharing their experience on what worked best, what could have done better, what did not work as expected, and any topics that they want to suggest for group discussions. The purpose of the presentation was to facilitate peer discussions and Q&A in order to gain feedback.

Time was also allocated some time for group discussions on topics of delegates' choice.

Students also received the chance to take part in the Summer School Competition: a chance to win £1000 prize, sponsored by the Neural Computing and Applications Journal, on the Uni-pol Challenge on data analytics and machine learning. It was an opportunity for machine learning experts to make a difference.

The organisers are also preparing a special issue of the Neural Computing and Applications Journal. Plans are in place to hold a similar event next year at Swansea and continue then every year at different University locations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://ncaf.org.uk/
 
Description Digital 4 Industry [D4I] Industry Forum event December 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented the work of the Network to the group, with specific focus on our activities around the identification of the research challenges underpinning the move to industrial digitalisation. Presentation was used to kick off a workshop session and identification of strengths and gaps in this work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Digital 4 Industry [D4I] group meeting (August 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Hosted the D4I group meeting at the University of Nottingham, which was attended by 40 industrial representatives, members of professional associations, academics and those working within the HVM Catapult.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Disruptive Innovation Festival (online, November 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dr Mariale Moreno (Cranfield) and Windo Hutabarat (Sheffield) gave a presentation on their Circular Economy 4.0 feasibility study, funded by the network, raising the profile of their project and the network
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Industry 4.0 Summit (Feb/March 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Industry 4.0 Summit was held over 2 days. The Network had a stand as part of the event's exhibition. The primary focus of this stand was to publicise our 11 funded feasibility studies, although other activities were also highlighted. A number of interesting discussions were had and we were able to signpost interested delegates to the appropriate contacts for further discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description MTC Annual Conference 2016: Digitising Manufacturing 2016 Policy, End Users & Society (Nov 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This conference built on the previous year's event. Over 100 delegates from academia and industry attended this day conference, which focused on understanding how to drive digitisation of the UK manufacturing sector. Speakers from Sweden and Germany provided a European context. The Network Plus was publicised in one of the talks, which generated interest and sign up of new members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.the-mtc.org/Industry%204.0%20Conference/Digitising%20Manufacturing%202016%20-%20Conferenc...
 
Description Manufacturing for the Future event (London) (Jan 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organised by Digital and Physical Science South, this workshop focussed on the relationship between "physical and digital" to consider how ideas of the Circular Economy and more generally environmental and social issues, Servitisation, Automation, and the whole 'maker approach' should influence the future of manufacturing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Network Plus Kick Off Meeting (Oct 2016) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 59 delegates representing UK universities, Catapults and industry attended the Network Plus kick off event on 17 October 2016. The delegates heard presentations from the HVM and Digital Catapults, the FCO Science and Innovation Network and the EPSRC, as well as insights from representatives of the academic community on the current issues facing research supporting the digitisation of industry. Delegates then took part in a series of workshop activities. On key activity focussed on identifying thematic areas about which the Network would focus future event activity over the next three years.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description UK Manufacturing Forum (Warwick, December 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This event brought together leading academics, senior figures from industry and the HVM Catapult to explore both emerging trends and opportunities for collaboration across the national manufacturing ecosystem to lever the greatest benefit for the UK and multiply our economic impact. The work of the network was presented by Executive Group member Professor Roger Maull (University of Surrey)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://hvm.catapult.org.uk/news-events-gallery/news/uk-manufacturing-forum-research-uk-success/
 
Description UK-China Food Detection Forum (Jiangsu China, Nov 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Nik Watson was invited to this event in China to present his work on the BrewNet feasibility study being funded by the network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description University Outreach day at Ricardo Knowledge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Ricardo Knowledge held a University Outreach Day at their new Centenary Innovation Centre to showcase their expertise, research, support and training facilities. Professor David Brown represented the Network at this event and promoted its work to the industry as well as academic representatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017