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Made Smarter digital summit to inspire manufacturing SMEs

Andrew Milner and Stephen Rumney , Contactless Check Solutions, Maryport

SME manufacturers from Cumbria using digital tools and technology to transform their businesses will share their inspiring stories at a free online summit.

The virtual conference, Made Smarter: The journey to digital manufacturing, on Wednesday, March 10, will show manufacturers how to leverage and fast-track digital technology and tools for a year of recovery, growth and resilience.

The Cumbria Clock Company, a clock repair and restoration specialist based in Penrith, will talk about how it is introducing a bespoke digital management system to give the business complete oversight over its operation, increasing productivity and efficiency, cutting costs and reducing its carbon footprint.

Contactless Check Solutions, a Maryport fire door manufacturer, will discuss its journey to develop an industry-first solution to make safety inspections faster and more accurate.

Meanwhile, Storth, an agricultural machine manufacturer based in Holme, will share how it was able to use robotics to continue operating while welders were self-isolating at the height of the pandemic.

Other SME manufacturers sharing real-life stories of their experience of Made Smarter’s North West Adoption programme include: Fabricon Design, Arden Dies, Bindatex, Crystal Doors, Starlight Bedrooms, Beverston Engineering, and DA Techs, alongside Envirosystems, Bloom-in-Box, Brainboxes, Parity Medical, Twin Fix, and Plastic Card Services.

Curated by manufacturers for manufacturers, the conference also features a line-up of industry heavyweights including Juergen Maier, chair of the Digital Catapult and co-chair of the Made Smarter Commission; and Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation; Andrea Hough, managing director of ATEC Engineering Solutions; and Glyn Jones, service delivery director at BAE Systems and chair of the Made Smarter Pilot Steering Group.

Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Manufacturing has always been at the heart of Cumbria’s economy, representing almost a quarter of our overall economic output.

“We have a long and proud manufacturing heritage from making gunpowder to our current position as world leaders in nuclear and advanced manufacturing.

“In order to stay ahead of the global competition, we are committed to maintaining a first-class manufacturing environment and investment is clearly a key component of this. That’s why this conference is important.

“It provides an excellent opportunity to show Cumbria’s manufacturers the great support that the Made Smarter North West Adoption pilot has provided to the businesses that have benefited from it and how this has helped improve growth, productivity and efficiency gains.

“Whatever you make, wherever you are in the region, the journey to digital manufacturing conference offers you the chance to learn from the experiences from industry leaders, hear directly from your peers, and gain the know-how you need from experts about taking the first or next step.

“By using the support available, including Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership, manufacturers can build resilience, accelerate growth, keep up with the competition in these uncertain times, and seize the opportunities offered by digital tools and technologies.”

To register your interest, visit https://www.madesmarter.uk/conference

The one-day programme, running from 9am to 5pm, will be hosted virtually using an interactive online platform and include panel discussions and roundtable debates, interactive workshops; demonstrations of the latest digital manufacturing technologies; and one-to-one advice sessions, giving businesses the vital intelligence needed to start their digital journey or take the next step.

To ensure the Made Smarter message reaches as many people the conference is free to access for anyone from the spectrum of UK manufacturing and engineering, including aerospace, automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical, construction, defence, electronics, energy, food and drink, nuclear, plastics, security, steel, space and textiles.

Juergen Maier said: “I am delighted to be participating in the conference to share my passion for the benefits of digital technology and celebrate the positive impact that Made Smarter’s adoption pilot is having on individuals, businesses, the environment, and the UK economy.

“For manufacturers by manufacturers, this summit is a must-attend event for anyone working in the sector to learn how to make their product or process smarter.

“In these tumultuous times COVID-19 has, without doubt, demonstrated that digital tools can enable and accelerate innovation, and create resilience.

“Grasping the digital opportunities has never been more important for businesses to recover and return stronger.”

Sessions will cover themes including: the Made Smarter vision, achievements and future; building resilience through digital tools, and how technology can help manufacturers enhance and improve sustainability, exports, new product development, and the supply chain.

Manufacturers will be able to access practical, actionable advice through workshops including: how to get started on a digital journey, led by Made Smarter’s technology advisers; and how to lead the digital transformation in your manufacturing business, led by Lancaster University Management School;

Technology Demonstrators Alley will showcase the latest solutions available to manufacturers which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, create simulations of their plants and processes, as well as how 3D printing, automation, and robotics can solve business challenges.

There will also be the opportunity to speak one on one with a variety of business advisers to explore the advice, support and funding available to manufacturers.

Made Smarter: The journey to digital manufacturing will be hosted by the Made Smarter North West Adoption pilot, which has been driving technology adoption in the region for two years.

The pilot has worked with 1,200 makers in Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool, providing advice, expertise and financial support to help them grow their business, increase competitiveness and reduce inefficiencies through digital tools.

Support has been given to 550 businesses, including expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, a leadership programme, and funded digital technology internships.

Donna Edwards, North West pilot programme director at Made Smarter, said: “This conference is a unique opportunity to showcase to UK manufacturers the tremendous achievements of the pilot, the value technology can bring to the sector, and give real-life examples of makers who have started their digital journey, reporting growth, productivity and efficiency gains, and job creation.

“Whatever you make from wherever you are in the UK the journey to digital manufacturing event offers you the chance to learn from the experiences from industry leaders, gain the know-how you need from experts, and hear from peers who have been through the journey.”