ATI provides £975,000 in funds for smart factory technology

By Georgia Wilson
LISI Aerospace (BAI UK) and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) secure £975,000 in funds for smart factory techno...

Latest announcements from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and LISI Aerospace (BAI UK) detail that the two organisations have received £975,000 in funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).

“The investment shows that BAI UK are committed to advancing the fastener industry with a unique and impactful approach; the award of ATI funding adds credibility to that ethos,” commented Mark Capell, General Manager of BAI UK.

Unlocking productivity gains, new markets and reducing waste

Funding received from the ATI will be used to unlock productivity gains, new markets and reduce waste in the fastener industry by integrating industry 4.0 technologies.

Harnessed for high-precision aerospace fasteners, the pilot production line at BAI UK’s Rugby facility aims to pioneer the use of machine learning, data analytics, indirect fault detection, and other cutting-edge digital technologies to define the ‘smart factory’.

BAI UK is a part of LISI Aerospace, third largest supplier of aerospace fasteners in the world. The company is searching for proactive ways they can lead the industry through innovation while faced with international competition, tighter margins and an ageing workforce.

“The project goes far beyond the technology, it serves as an investment in the remarkable manufacturers in the UK, the fantastic workers we employ, and does so in a more environmentally sensitive way. The project will reduce wastage and operator interaction; ultimately aiming to provide an all-round better manufacturing process,” added Capell.

AMRC’s role in the project

AMRC - part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult - is an international leader in manufacturing research with expertise in industry 4.0 technologies.

“This project shows the value of Industry 4.0 to all levels of the UK supply chain and has the potential to break down barriers to technology adoption which can push UK manufacturing into a new era. Implementing these technologies is also a chance to reduce environmental impact by reducing waste and providing the data for LISI to understand where they are wasting energy and where they can get better life out of tooling and consumables in a more sustainable way,” concluded Gavin Hill, Project Manager at Factory 2050.

Both BAI UK and AMRC will work closely with machine builders and tooling providers during the 27 month programme to streamline the technology introduction process. The two will also investigate how these technologies can provide value to aerospace as well as the wider manufacturing world.

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