A team of Industry 4.0 specialists at the Manufacturing Technology Centre is developing Europe’s first smart factory demonstrator for the manufacture of electronics assemblies, helping manufacturers go digital, transforming their businesses and meeting the demands of an increasingly challenging market.
The MTC’s digital engineering experts are working with key vendors to develop and evolve a range of digital processes that help electronics manufacturers improve productivity and quality, while becoming agile to meet the most aggressive time-to-market constraints.
To power the smart factory demonstrator, the MTC is using the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX), a standard developed by the IPC connected factory initiative sub-committee which enables industrial machines to communicate with other machines and systems across manufacturing facilities, including the supply chain, using standardised machine communication message sets. IPC CFX provides the baseline, powering the development of the MTC demonstrator test bed for electronics manufacturing. Any electronics manufacturing business is now able to trial and experience digital technologies in a risk-free environment, without disrupting day-to-day production.
The project is supported by OEM and technology supplier members of the MTC from a variety of industrial sectors, ensuring the project has industry steer as well as the latest in technology which has been integrated and proven within the demonstrator. This includes technology such as augmented reality.
Naim Kapadia, technology specialist at the MTC said, “Our goal is to showcase products going through a state-of-the-art digital production line, collecting data from each station and machine, creating visibility and showing the value that can be obtained from the many uses of the data. It is essential for industry to understand that digitalisation can now be achieved using inter-operable standard components which yield immediate results and short term returns on investment which are best seen to be believed.”
The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.