Industrial giants to benefit from start-ups’ real-world manufacturing solutions

Four cutting-edge UK technology start-ups will now have the opportunity to develop minimum viable products (MVPs) to help industry titans digitise and improve their manufacturing processes.

This comes after being selected to go through to the final stage of Digital Catapult’s Made Smarter Technology Accelerator Programme. This initiative links up industry giants with the brightest start-up minds in a bid to truly unlock and harness the potential of faster technological adoption.

These industry giants and start-ups are jointly developing cutting edge solutions 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.

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 start-ups – 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 Business and Software AG and funded by UKRI, the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator gives Industry Challenge Owners the chance to bring in start-up expertise to fuel innovation, boost productivity and accelerate the fourth industrial revolution using advanced digital technologies.

The full list of successful start-ups 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 start-ups 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.

Juergen Maier, Chair of Digital Catapult and Co-Chair of Made Smarter added:

“The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is evidence of the UK start-up 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 start-ups and challenge owners working together to tackle major industry challenges.

“We’ve witnessed every single one of the 14 start-ups 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.”

A word from the start-ups

Pic sent by Digital Catapult
Simon Harding, Director, Machine Intelligence Ltd

“The prototype phase gave BAE Systems and Machine Intelligence a taste of what is possible. The Minimum Viable Product phase will allow us to create something amazing, that not only works for BAE Systems, but moves Machine Intelligence’s technology and solutions forward.”

Image supplied by Digital Catapult
Dorian Smellie, CEO, Total Control Pro

“The team at Safran Landing Systems has been truly committed to what’s needed. We make them agile; they hold us to account when it comes to diligence and process. It has the foundations of a very successful partnership!”

Image supplied by Digital Catapult
Roger Singleton, MD, Riscon Solutions

“I’m most looking forward to learning about how to take a product to market. Taking a solution from seed to shelf is not something everyone will get to do in their lifetime, and it’s a really exciting time for us.”

Images supplied by Digital Catapult
Tom Martin – Jetsoft

“I believe companies must digitise to survive, which poses challenges but should also be seen as a huge commercial opportunity. For Babcock, I’m confident that we’ll get the solution off the ground – working and delivering significant benefit.”

To hear more about the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator Programme, listen back to this episode of The Manufacturer podcast.


Images supplied by Digital Catapult