Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring [Digital Shoestring]

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

The digitalisation of manufacturing is a key enabler in the UK Government drive to raise the level of industrial productivity to match and exceed leading competitors. Whilst basic digital technology applications in manufacturing are not new, there are two key trends that predicate the timeliness of the proposed research: (1) manufacturing organisations are increasingly seeing information as a key strategic addition to their product offerings; (2) major innovations in computer science, control and informatics have created new opportunities for major breakthroughs in manufacturing. One of the critical challenges is how to support the digital manufacturing transformation of SMEs and introduce new methods of production that take into account the latest control, communication and AI technologies in a sector characterised by limited capital investment and research potential. Whilst there is significant body of knowledge in this area it is mostly focused on relatively expensive solutions which are often unaffordable to SMEs?

This project will therefore address a common concern that recent developments in digital manufacturing are unlikely to accessible by SMEs owing to the associated capital cost of upgrading industrial computing and communication environments. The project proposes a radically different approach to the digital evolution of a manufacturing operation by focussing predominantly on non industrial solutions to industrial automation and information challenges. It will seek to exploit very low cost commercially available technologies for mobile computing, sensing, AI and tackle the challenges associated with integrating these safely and securely into a small scale manufacturing environment. As well as conventional research activities, the project will more radically involve student hackathons as a means of stimulating low cost software development, will use an in-house technology transfer organisation to access SME organisations, and engage directly with the High Value Manufacturing catapult demonstration network as a means of reaching the maximum number of potential users. Stretch targets for the programme include the introduction of low cost product tracking, exploiting emerging industrial IoT platforms and AI-based flexible control using commercially available AI and voice recognition development environments.

The project will supplement the traditional research and development approaches with some innovative implementation development activities in which (i) undergraduate and graduate students in both engineering and computer science and integrated via a series of hackathons and software and hardware development competitions (ii) a series of workshops will be targeted at local start up and SME IT communities to engage them directly in the development of applications and products (iii) by working directly with technology transfer organisations to ensure that not only the final message but also the starting rationale for the work fully engages the SME manufacturing community.

Planned Impact

The project will deliver significant knowledge impact by developing for the first time a comprehensive yet economically feasible digital manufacturing transformation methodology, models and architecture applicable to a large set of manufacturing SMEs. The research will deliver a prototype tool for digital manufacturing readiness assessment which will industrially validated using a set of company specific tests. A new step-by-step methodology and prototype support tools for digital transformation of manufacturing SMEs will also be developed and using industrial scenarios.

Manufacturing companies are increasingly striving to obtain competitive advantage by offering a range of services associated with their products thereby delivering economic benefits in terms of employment and wealth creation. Direct impact comes through adoption of research outcomes by Industry. The architecture and solutions developed through this research will help IoT and industrial automation solution providers such as Siemens and Atos to offer new innovative and improved services to their customers - in particular tailored to the needs of SMEs. The SMEs and wider manufacturing industry would be able to exploit the opportunities offered by low-cost digitisation to improve productivity, competitiveness and market positioning. Our industrial partners have confirmed their intend to incorporate the research outputs into their manufacturing systems to enable them to digitise their operations. The planned onsite demonstrators will help them understand the challenges involved and also facilitate the transfer of knowledge through their interactions with the researchers while they are on site.

This work aims to enable low cost digital transformation of manufacturing SMEs with specific focus on reducing the total cost of asset ownership as well as contributing to increased reliability and safety of industrial systems. In addition the proposed research will contribute to significant environmental and societal impact in terms of reduced energy consumption due to the introduction of more efficient overall production processes as well as upskilling of labour and increasing the overall productivity level of the sector. This will also result in reduced impact of manufacturing on the planet's resources and improving quality of life.

We will use public events to showcase our lab demonstrators to wide audiences of all age groups, including many international visitors, thereby helping promote the excellent research done in UK and to generate excitement in the minds of young people attracting them pursue studies in STEM disciplines. The project will directly deliver highly trained post-doctoral researchers by providing them with the opportunity to work in the cutting-edge of this research, and interacting with world-leading academics and practitioners through attending conferences. In addition, the project offers ample opportunities for PhD research across multiple disciplines. We will also incorporate the research findings into appropriate teaching modules in our courses, and involve students from our undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the research project through their dissertations, final year projects, competitions and hackathons thus ensuring a pipeline of suitably-qualified engineers. Along with traditional research activities the project will employ innovative methods for distributed software development by supporting student hackathons which will help bring together students from different disciplines to work on multidisciplinary topics.

Organisations

 
Title Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring Hackathons 
Description This youtube channel documents a series of hackathons which invited university students to creatively address some of the real-world problems that manufacturing SMEs face through the use of low-cost, off-the-shelf and open-source technologies. The latest hackathon aimed at the construction of digital solution prototypes in the areas of quality control, virtual processing and smart corrective instructions. This required students to work with off-the-shelf and open source software and hardware, e.g. vision libraries, cameras and microcontrollers. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact Still to be seen 
URL https://bit.ly/DMSHacksChannel
 
Title Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring: Getting SMEs started 
Description An animation illustrating how the Shoestring programme works, and the benefits that manufacturing SMEs can gain by becoming involved 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact Still to be seen 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r48WRJRh5Gc
 
Title Shoestring - How SMEs can start digitalising 
Description A video showcasing the benefits of following the Shoestring approach to deploying digital solutions, together with a real-world case study and interviews with a manufacturing SME. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact Still to be seen 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GbFbYYPzjo
 
Description (1) A large study and an analysis has been completed with over 300 manufacturing companies in the UK, with around half of them being SMEs, to develop a prioritised list of the digital solution needs (categorised into 59 areas) of UK manufacturing SMEs; (2) a preliminary approach/pathway has been developed for manufacturing SMEs to identify their digitalisation needs and then deploy those as digital solutions, with minimal technical skills needed and by using low-cost and off-the-shelf (e.g. commercial) technologies; (3) more than a dozen industrial demonstrators (9 of which have had a first factory trial) have been built to showcase both the potential for using low-cost and off-the-shelf technologies as well as to trial the pathway that we have developed for digitally transforming manufacturing SMEs; (4) 3 hackathons have been conducted (one physically, one virtually, and one in hybrid mode) with around 200 participants in total, to both engage university students in the project and to kickstart the demonstrator/pilot building process; (5) plans have been put in place to start a Shoestring Unit based on some of the research outputs from this project so far -- funding has also been secured for the Unit, and key people are being hired; (6) our approach to gathering requirements from manufacturing SMEs through workshops has been documented and 'packaged' for others to use and we have successfully run similar workshops for the construction and logistics sectors; (7) we are in the process of developing and trialling educational and training material as part of a "train the trainer" effort, with a particular emphasis on defining and transferring the skills and expertise required to develop regional capability and capacity to support digital solution tailoring and deployments.
Exploitation Route (1) 'Tech savvy' employees at manufacturing SMEs (or a hired systems integrator) could use the approach/pathway developed as part of this project to put together low-cost (and possibly non-critical or temporary) digital solution deployments. (2) Other research labs, universities, technology providers, apprenticeship schemes, and Further Education colleges could use our prioritised list of digital solutions as well as our pathway in order to understand the needs of and build solutions on behalf of (or to train) UK manufacturing SMEs. (3) The industrial demonstrators we have built could be re-used or adapted by manufacturing SMEs to realise some of their digitalisation needs. (4) Solution and technology providers could get more business by embedding their technologies and solutions into Shoestring building block elements for integration in future solutions by SMEs.
Sectors Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL http://www.digitalshoestring.net
 
Description In general, Shoestring is developing a framework and an approach to allow small (SME) manufacturers to "put their toe in the water" in the digitalisation area - at low risk, low cost and low skills entry level. It provides an ideal framework for supporting the adoption of digitalisation across the UKs 1000,000+ SMEs. More specifically, (1) more than a dozen low-cost industrial demonstrators have been built, 9 of which have been pilotted in the factories of SME partners. (2) Funds have been secured (and further sought) to launch a Shoestring Unit based on project outputs. (3) Our approach to gathering requirements from manufacturing SMEs through workshops has been trialled by project partners and colleagues by running similar workshops with other companies/sectors in both the UK and overseas. (4) A catalog of 59 solution areas for SMEs has been developed and published in 2021 (5) Parallel activities in construction, logistics, medical devices, food & drink industries have been launched from the outputs of the Shoestring programme (6) More than 300 companies have participated in digital prioritisation workshops.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
 
Description Integration of Shoestring in Northern Ireland SME manufacturing activity
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to new or Improved professional practice
Impact Integration of Shoestring project to lower overall costs in Northern Ireland SME manufacturing activity
 
Description Integration of Shoestring into Making Scotland's Future programme
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Presentations to BEIS and Innovate UK on digital strategy
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Training of team of practitioners in North West England
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Improved educational and skill level of practitioners workforce in North West England
 
Description Digital Construction on a Shoestring
Amount £396,185 (GBP)
Organisation Digital Built Britain 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 03/2022
 
Description EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account Impact Starter Grant
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 03/2020
 
Description Industry-Academia Consortium for Digitization in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 04/2021
 
Description IoT-based Devices for Non-critical Support in Hospitals
Amount £14,007 (GBP)
Funding ID RG96447 
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2020 
End 09/2020
 
Description Low Cost Automation using Off the Shelf Technologies
Amount £362,279 (GBP)
Organisation Boeing 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 09/2019 
End 04/2022
 
Description Low Cost Industrial IoT-Oriented Digital Development Environment for Legacy System Integration
Amount £38,997 (GBP)
Funding ID RG96447 
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2020 
End 03/2021
 
Description Promoting the Internet of Things via Collaborations between HEIs & Industry (Pitch-In) - Low Cost Automation
Amount £68,652 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2019 
End 07/2020
 
Description Promoting the Internet of Things via Collaborations between HEIs & Industry (Pitch-In) - Low Cost Automation follow-up
Amount £39,237 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2020 
End 03/2021
 
Title Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring - Low-Cost Digital Solutions for Manufacturing SMEs: A Catalogue of Digital Solution Areas 
Description The aim of this paper is to present a catalogue comprising a set of digital solution areas associated with operational challenges that are relevant to a majority of manufacturing small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The working catalogue has been developed in consultation with over 100 manufacturing SMEs. The working catalogue describes 59 solution areas identified to the end of 2020. Out of all participants in the study, 86% ranked one of the top 5 items in the catalogue as a key priority for their business. These findings can help increase accessibility to digitalisation for manufacturing SMEs. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact List of prioritised digital solution areas identified through requirements gathering workshops with over 100 UK manufacturing SMEs 
URL https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/331197
 
Description ATOS 
Organisation Atos
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Addenbrookes 
Organisation Addenbrooke's Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Built a ventilator sharing device for COVID-19 patients with input from various collaborators at the hospitals
Collaborator Contribution Input was provided from hospital staff in relation to the technical requirements for a ventilator sharing device
Impact This was a collaboration between colleagues from various engineering disciplines, including materials, biotechnology, fluids, and digital manufacturing
Start Year 2020
 
Description BSI 
Organisation British Standards Institute (BSI Group)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description BT Lerson 
Organisation BT Lerson
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Buchanan 
Organisation Buchanan Orthotics Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2020
 
Description Composite Braiding 
Organisation Composite Braiding Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events. Currently developing a pilot based on machine vision.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2020
 
Description DOBB Industries 
Organisation DOBB Industries
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description Department of Health and Social Care 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department Department of Health and Social Care
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Designing/Deploying an Android/IoS app for facilitating the process of large scale university COVID testing with lateral flow devices
Collaborator Contribution Input and data for designing and deploying the phone app
Impact None
Start Year 2021
 
Description Digital Catapult 
Organisation Digital Catapult
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description ECS 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department IfM Education and Consultancy Services
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Handing some of the research and development work done as part of the Shoestring project over to IfM Engage for technology transfer
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Helping with technology transfer through the Shoestring foundation. Assisted with running requirements workshops throughout the entire duration of the project, as well as attendance at project meetings.
Impact The university has provided £30k to support some members of the ECS in facilitating the transition from the Shoestring project to the Shoestring Foundation
Start Year 2018
 
Description Fife College 
Organisation Fife College
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Presented Shoestring talks and demonstrations at their events.
Collaborator Contribution Attended meetings and presentations, hosted Shoestring talks and demonstrations at their events.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description Foresight Data Machines 
Organisation Foresight Data Machines Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description GMCC 
Organisation Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Green Custard 
Organisation Green Custard
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description HVMC 
Organisation High Value Manufacturing Catapult
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Harting 
Organisation HARTING Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events. Plan to develop pilot study using Harting hardware and site
Impact None yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description IIT Indore 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Indore
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Advising an intern, and carrying out a workshop in India to gather SME requirements
Collaborator Contribution Funded an intern to work with us remotely on demonstrator development, and supported us with carrying out a large workshop in India
Impact The intern helped develop an initial demonstrator for a UK SME (Composite Braiding, who has since become a partner). Prof Bhupesh helped organise and run a large requirements gathering workshop with SMEs in India.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Innomech 
Organisation Innomech Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events.
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description MTA 
Organisation Manufacturing Technologies Association
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description MakeUK 
Organisation Make UK
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Mazak 
Organisation Yamazaki Mazak Corporation
Department Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description MettaNoon 
Organisation MettaNoon
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description Microsoft 
Organisation Microsoft Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Exploring the possibility for the use of Microsoft's cloud computing solution (Azure) as part of the Shoestring project
Collaborator Contribution US$22k Microsoft Azure credits and input/advice on the Shoestring project
Impact Provided input on a visual design portal that is being built as part of the Shoestring project to facilitate the adoption of low-cost digital solutions by manufacturing SMEs. Microsoft has built a similar tool -- MakeCode -- but with a different purpose: to help kids learn how to code. Also provided US$22k of credit to use the Microsoft Azure cloud platform as part of our design portal.
Start Year 2019
 
Description OrcaScan 
Organisation Cambridge App Lab Limited
Department Orca Scan
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description PA Consulting 
Organisation PA Consulting
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description PCML 
Organisation PCML Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Deploying a digital manufacturing pilot for inventory management
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events. Access to their facilities, and input/advice on the Shoestring project
Impact Deployed a pilot for part tracking and identification, and for managing some of the inventory for PCML. This collaboration has so far led to an increased digital awareness for a couple of employees, and the pilot is expected to provide further economic benefit. This collaboration has also helped the research team apply our solution development approach to their specific problem.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Photofab 
Organisation Photofab Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Deploying a digital manufacturing pilot for data extraction from legacy panels
Collaborator Contribution Access to their facilities, and help with installing the pilot in the facility
Impact Currently deploying a pilot that uses machine vision to digitise the controls and outputs shown on legacy panels in factories. This collaboration with the SME has so far led to an increased digital awareness for the company's technical director, and the pilot -- once deployed -- is expected to provide economic benefit.
Start Year 2020
 
Description RTC North 
Organisation RTC North
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Shoestring presentations at project meetings and events
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description Raspberry Pi 
Organisation Raspberry Pi Foundation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Royal Papworth 
Organisation Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Built a ventilator sharing device for COVID-19 patients with input from various collaborators at the hospitals
Collaborator Contribution Input was provided from hospital staff in relation to the technical requirements for a ventilator sharing device
Impact This was a collaboration between colleagues from various engineering disciplines, including materials, biotechnology, fluids, and digital manufacturing
Start Year 2020
 
Description SERC 
Organisation South Eastern Regional College
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Presentation at project meetings and events
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description SMAS 
Organisation Scottish Enterprise
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Involvement in or feedback on events/studies carried out by SMAS
Collaborator Contribution Dedicated 1-2hrs per week to provide input/advice on the Shoestring project, and organised and facilitated requirements workshops
Impact SMAS have helped organise and facilitate requirements gathering workshops with over 80 people (primarily from UK SMEs). This has helped those SMEs assess what digital manufacturing solutions might be most beneficial for their businesses. These workshops have also triggered a number of one-on-one workshops with some of those companies.
Start Year 2018
 
Description SMC 
Organisation SMC Pnuematics (UK) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description SWBC 
Organisation South West Business Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description Siemens 
Organisation Siemens AG
Department Siemens plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Tangent Works 
Organisation Tangent Works
Country Belgium 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description Tinsley Bridge 
Organisation Tinsley Bridge Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Deploying a digital manufacturing pilot for data extraction from legacy panels
Collaborator Contribution Help with installing the pilot in the facility
Impact Currently deploying a pilot that uses machine vision to digitise the controls and outputs shown on legacy panels in factories. This collaboration with the SME has so far led to an increased understanding of specific aspects of machine vision for both ourselves and the company's technical IT manager. The pilot -- once deployed -- is expected to provide economic benefit. This collaboration has also helped the research team apply our solution development approach to their specific problem.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Total Control Pro 
Organisation Total Control Pro Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2019
 
Description Vos Voco 
Organisation Vos Voco Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Advertised Vos Voco's online service as part of a large virtual hackathon organised by the Shoestring project. The service was made into a hackathon challenge, enabling students to develop digital solutions based on the service.
Collaborator Contribution Dedicated 1-2hrs per month to provide input/advice on both the Shoestring project and Foundation. In addition to serving as a judge at our hackathon, also provided an interface to Vos Voco's online service for free, to be used as part of our hackathon.
Impact Some preliminary digital solutions were created by the hackathon participants using Vos Voco's online service and interface. This should help Vos Voco improve both their service and the interface based on student feedback and usage data.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Warren Services 
Organisation Warren Services Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Deploying a digital manufacturing pilot for visualisting shop floor data
Collaborator Contribution Original project partner. Attendance at project meetings and events. Access to their facilities, software engineering support, and input/advice on the Shoestring project
Impact Deployed an initial pilot for visualising data produced by sensors distributed across a manufacturing SME's shop floor. This has helped the research team apply our solution development approach to their specific problem. The second phase of the pilot is currently underway.
Start Year 2018
 
Description West Suffolk College 
Organisation West Suffolk College
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Presented meetings and events, contributed to education sector working group, provided configurator for testing
Collaborator Contribution Attended meetings and presentations, contributed to education sector working group, tested configurator and gave feedback
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description XpertRule 
Organisation XpertRule Software Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Project updates at least every 6 months, with valuable information including an updated catalogue with the digitalisation needs of UK manufacturing SMEs, an updated list of low-cost technologies for use in digitalisation, and freely available demonstrators built by the team
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at project meetings and events
Impact None yet
Start Year 2021
 
Title Lateral Flow Device Assist (Android App & IOS Apps) 
Description A simple smartphone app to analyse lateral flow tests performed by end-users. Features include test result interpretation, an end-user dashbhoard for confirming that the results were properly interpreted by the app, and the transfer of results to a centralised system. Designed, developed and currently being tested by 3-5 members of staff. The expectation for this digital solution is to be able to capture information from the most popular lateral flow devices: for pregnancy tests, covid-19, etc. 
Type Support Tool - For Medical Intervention
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2021
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact Not yet known 
 
Title Ventilator Sharer Device 
Description In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some members of the Shoestring team together with the wider IfM responded to a request from clinicians at Royal Papworth Hospital to develop a device that, if needed in an emergency, could be attached to a ventilator to enable two COVID patients to receive tailored respiratory support. Fully developed, and tested in hospitals to some extent. Currently going through the process of certification. The potential use of this device in other (e.g. developing) countries is also being assessed. Funded by various sources within the University. 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Medical Devices
Current Stage Of Development Market authorisation
Year Development Stage Completed 2020
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact None known yet 
 
Description Academic Workshop on Low Cost Digitalisation for Manufacturing SMEs 
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 This one-day academic workshop on low-cost digitalisation for smaller manufacturing companies (SMEs) brought together a group of thought leaders on the subject to discuss how existing and future approaches can stimulate more SMEs to start digitalisation. There was a virtual attendance by 75 people and the workshop featured invited talks by international experts (as well as members of the project team) on subjects releant to the project. The videos and slides will be made available to the wider public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Articles in Industry Magazines/Journals 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Articles published in:
Manufacturing & Management (July/August 2019), University of Cambridge News (2022), The Manufacturer (2022)

Interview for:
Manufacturing & Logistics IT (2019)

Webinars:
The Manufacturer (October 2019)

Feature article published in:
Centre for Digital Built Britain (Apr/2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021,2022
 
Description Demo Videos 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Videos of project demonstrators viewed on Youtube over 2500 times overall
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAYPiy_6F29qoJrVbQ21iMjWx52WuqK1s
 
Description Industry Digital Requirements Workshops 
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 Workshops conducted in:
Cambridge (02/19, 06/19, 09/19, 02/20)
Liverpool (11/19)
Edinburgh (02/19, 02/20, 03/20)
Birmingham (10/19)
Cranfield (07/19)

International:
Australia (07/19)
New Zealand (11/19)
India (12/19)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Industry Digital Requirements Workshops 
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 In-company (one-on-one) virtual workshops were conducted with the following companies: John Jenkins and Sons (25.02.2020), Composite Braiding (30.07.2020), Buchanan Orthotics (09.10.2020), Vision Engineering (02.02.2021), Kemdent (11.02.2021), and Prima Electronics (16.02.2021).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Invited Speaker at Industrial Conferences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation on Shoestring Project approach and results at industrial conference in:
Internet of Manufacturing (Farnborough - 05/2019)
Cambridge Wireless Conference (Cambridge - 06/2019)
ATI Conference (Birmingham - 11/2019)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited Speaker at Industrial Conferences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Keynote speech at IEEE CASE 2020 in Hong Kong (08/2020), Smart Factory Seminar Series at Kyunghee University (11/2021), Keynote as part of IMCC (Virtual) Conference at Northwestern Polytechnical University in China (11/2021), Invited Talk at the Virtual Workshop on Smart Manufacturing ( 02/2021) organised by IIT India; Keynote as part of the Senior Manufacturing Leaders Knowledge Playground Session (11/2021) organised by the Aditya Birla Group, India
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Invited Speaker at Industrial Conferences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation on Shoestring Project approach and results at: Silverstone Tech Cluster Special Interest Group event on Digital & Advanced Manufacturing (Cranfield - 06/2019), SW Manufacturers' Network Meeting (07/2021), Engineering and Manufacturing Forum organised by the Greater Manchester CoC (01/2021), Smart Manufacturing Alliance Launch Event (10/2021), Digital Manufacturing Week (2020, 2021), Smart Factory Expo (2019), MakeUK event on Encouraging Manufacturers to Adopt Digital Solutions (12/2021), MTC Talk (11/2021)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2021
 
Description Outreach Events 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation on Shoestring Project approach and results at: a public workshop (September 2019 - Project introduction video viewed on Youtube over 650 times), a Public Webinar (Virtually from Cambridge - 02/2021 - viewed on Youtube 100 times); individual presentations to various Scottish SMEs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfGK-0fSyFQ
 
Description Series of Hackathons 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact These high intensive competitions attracted over 200 students, from the Universities of Cambridge, Nottingham and Sheffield, who registered to create low cost digital solutions to address real-world digital manufacturing problems that face small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs). Various talks were given by the Shoestring project team and industrial partners during the 4 events (two in 2019, one in 2020, one in 2022), to describe the approach developed in the Shoestring programme and to encourage students to use aspects of the approach in their own developments in the competition. This has also led to the creation of a hackathons youtube channel for the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2022
URL https://bit.ly/DMSHacksChannel