DMW 2021 – manufacturing innovation is at home in Liverpool

Posted on 6 Dec 2021 by The Manufacturer

The dust has now settled on what was a fantastic Digital Manufacturing Week 2021 in Liverpool. The event brought together ideas, high-calibre experience and energy across a range of events engineered to support manufacturers at all levels of their digital journey.

Digital Manufacturing Week (DMW) is a national festival of advanced manufacturing which every year attracts thousands of manufacturers, industry leaders, and technology providers. Every aspect of the week celebrates excellence: expert speakers, industry-shaping influencers, delegates from the best manufacturers, and the brightest emerging talent. These are all brought together to help businesses at all stages of their Industry 4.0 development, arming them with real insights from the industry The Manufacturer has been at the heart of for over 25 years.

Commenting on the show, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, says, “Welcoming more than 3,000 manufacturing leaders back to the Liverpool City Region (LCR) for Digital Manufacturing Week this November was an encouraging reminder of the huge advances being made in the city region to ensure a sector that is so fundamental to our economy is best placed to reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 technologies.

“If there’s a silver lining to be found in the disruption of the last two years it’s the profound shifts in attitudes, culture and investment priorities towards digital adoption that the pandemic accelerated. Changes which might otherwise have taken years were catalysed over weeks.

“My priority is to ensure that this continues at pace and that we are providing the infrastructure, funding and collaboration opportunities to make it so.

“That’s why we’ve backed and hosted Digital Manufacturing Week in Liverpool for six consecutive years now.  Bringing manufacturers together with potential supply chain partners from the worlds of machine learning, data analytics and IoT (to name but a few) and introducing them to the raft of academic and engineering support we have at our disposal can only help to increase the pace of digitalisation. Productivity and revenue growth will follow.

“The Liverpool City Region has a long heritage of advanced manufacturing prowess and today is an integral part of the largest manufacturing economy in the UK. Where we have seen growth and success in recent years is in complementing the long term presence of global leaders in the automotive, chemicals, bio-manufacturing, and FMCG sectors with agile, industry 4.0-ready supply chain partners.

“We have pioneered a range of initiatives to grow this section of our supply chain, from the backing we provided to establish a permanent and growing presence of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in the city region, to the ground-breaking LCR4.0 initiative. The first Industrial Digital Technologies business support programme in the UK, LCR4.0 saw our world leading Universities work with over 300 SME manufacturers to digitalise process and adopt emerging technology and has given rise to numerous successor support programmes.

“The fruits of this work were on display at this year’s event, particularly on Innovation Alley where technology with the potential to change the landscape of manufacturing was showcased.

“One such success story is CNC Robotics which first presented some of its work at Innovation Alley five years ago and graduated to its own stand at the Smart Factory Expo this year. CNC, itself a beneficiary of LCR4.0, works with companies as an external R&D team, specialising in robotics and associated technology to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to manufacturing problems. “The company took the opportunity to meet with small to medium companies requiring automated solutions along their supply chain – as they now have the capacity to operate globally.

“Making a debut on Innovation Alley this year was The Fermentation Station, a Liverpool-based sustainable manufacturer of fermented foods. It provided a compelling case study of success through automation, using sensors in its manufacturing processes to minimise the margin of error in batch production by regulating the amount of sugar used, providing precision and productivity gains.

“Digital innovation like this will only continue to happen if we are investing in our infrastructure. Our recently confirmed LCR Connect project will help make the Liverpool City Region the most digitally connected area in the UK, through a £30m investment in a 212km full-fibre, gigabit-capable network infrastructure. When complete, it will put the city region’s manufacturers in prime position to continue to lead the way in digital manufacturing.

“To further drive innovation and generate growth in Liverpool, we have also created a centralised Inward Investment Service, delivered by LCR Growth Platform. This offers prospective investors ‘one front door’ to the Liverpool City Region, with consolidated specialist support and guidance on everything the region has to offer.

“We were the gateway to the first Industrial Revolution. Our challenge now is to ensure we’re still leading the way in innovation, digitisation and advanced manufacturing which will stoke the fires of our economy for the next generation.”