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Industrial giants benefit from startups' real-world manufacturing solutions
26 July 2021
FOUR CUTTING-edge UK technology startups will now have the opportunity to develop minimum viable products (MVPs) to help industry titans digitise and improve their manufacturing processes, after being selected to go through to the final stage of Digital Catapult’s Made Smarter Technology Accelerator Programme.
BAE Systems, Babcock International Group, Safran Landing Systems and Northumbrian Water Group will soon be able to reap the benefits of four industry-changing solutions, as the successful startups - chosen from a total of 14 as part of a competitive pitching process - each receive up to £100,000 funding to develop minimum viable products to be applied for commercial use. Winning concepts include a remote system for monitoring water quality, and an artificial intelligence tool to visually inspect items on the production line, identify defects and improve product quality.
Run by Digital Catapult, in partnership with tech sponsors Verizon and Software AG and funded by UKRI, the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator gives Industry Challenge Owners the chance to bring in startup expertise to fuel innovation, boost productivity and accelerate the fourth industrial revolution using advanced digital technologies.
The novel solutions respond to each industry giant’s unique challenge - with predicted benefits including streamlined manufacturing operations, improved product quality assurance, enhanced traceability in the supply chain, reduced emissions and waste, and prevention of unnecessary re-manufacturing.
The full list of successful startups going through to MVP stage includes:
- Machine Intelligence Ltd (BAE Systems, the scalable artificial intelligence for visual inspection challenge): the MVP will use machine learning to identify defects in manufacturing, improve the quality of the end product, reduce waste and save money
- JetSoft (Babcock International Group, Warrior base overhaul challenge): This solution both reduces reliance on paper-based reporting to improve shop floor efficiency, and utilises existing equipment to create automatic 3D inspections - improving understanding of faults and operating performance
- Total Control Pro (Safran Landing Systems, adaptive scheduling and performance monitoring challenge): Total Control Pro is developing a data-driven planning, scheduling and resource optimisation solution to tackle the challenges of complex planning and resource management. Evidence points to the solution recouping more than 30 minutes of lost production capacity per shop floor operator per day - representing the recovery of over 10,000 of lost production hours per year for a typical SME, as well as a 10% improvement in productivity and a 15% reduction in downtime
- Riscon Solutions and Inventia UK (Northumbrian Water, monitoring water quality within the distribution network and real time analysis challenge): this project delivers a cloud-enabled, remote water quality monitoring solutions.
Many of the remaining startups will continue developing their solutions outside of the programme - including CAE Tech, who have been using tech from the gaming and music sectors to support shipbuilding engineers to collaborate on design in real time.
Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult said: “In a staggeringly short space of time, this year’s programme has delivered a whirlwind of exciting solutions for our industrial partners - but four applications stood out as particularly impactful.
“I’m thrilled that these successful startups and scaleups - whose ideas vary from a water quality monitoring solution to ship hull inspection tools - will now be developing minimum viable products which could one day hit the market and solve very real manufacturing challenges.
“As manufacturing begins to bounce back, the Made Smarter Technology programme shows what brilliant things can be achieved when we bring together startups and industry greats to explore the application of advanced digital technologies.”
Juergen Maier, chair of Digital Catapult and co-chair of Made Smarter added: “The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is evidence of the UK startup community’s entrepreneurial spirit and technical ingenuity. As we turn our attention to economic recovery, it’s been highly exciting to bear witness to the energy and pace of the startups and challenge owners working together to tackle major industry challenges.
“We’ve witnessed every single one of the 14 startups on the programme taking game changing solutions from concept to prototype, and these four struck the judges as solutions which could send ripples through our manufacturing industries.”
Scott Lawrence, VP of Verizon Business, EMEA said: “The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator has reinforced the innovative role technologies such as 5G will play in the future success of the manufacturing industry. The opportunities are vast, and we have seen some amazing concepts generated by the talented startups taking part in the programme.
“Congratulations to everyone who has been involved to date and we cannot wait to see how the final four startups will take their initial ideas and transform them into reality for commercial use.”
Par Eliasson, industrial project lead, manufacturing engineering, Safran Landing Systems, said: “The Safran team is delighted to hear that Total Control Pro has been successful in the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator Programme. During the prototyping phase we were thoroughly impressed by the team and their ability to deliver and answer our challenge.
“The programme with Digital Catapult has enabled us to tap into the UK startup and scaleup community and given us a unique opportunity to enhance our digital capabilities. We are looking forward to the MVP stage and continuing working with Total Control Pro and Digital Catapult.”
Jim Sibson, head of research and partnerships for Babcock International Group added: “Innovation is often borne out of collaboration and the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator isn’t just testament to what can be achieved when we work together, but that real innovation doesn’t need to take years to have an impact.
“Ensuring the continuation of investment in projects through programmes like Made Smarter along with ongoing support to the companies that are making them happen will be absolutely fundamental to the future success of this country. We’re really proud to support the programme and I personally am really excited to see what they’ll deliver.”
The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator supports the wider Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge, with its ambition to raise productivity by 30% by 2030.
The successful startups and scaleups will be presenting their industry-changing Minimum Viable Products (MVP) at a final showcase event on 9 December 2021.