PTC drives digital connectivity for BAE Systems’ Factory of the Future

Posted on 10 Jun 2021 by The Manufacturer

Digital technology solutions from PTC are playing a key role in driving digital connectivity at BAE Systems’ Factory of the Future programme.

PTC, the global supplier of advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions, has tapped into expertise from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) helping to connect its first-of-a-kind facility in Warton in the North of England.

PTC’s Thingworx and Kepware software gathers real time data to help manage supplies, processes and maintenance activities in the 40,000 sq ft factory. The platform connects, accesses and controls industrial data from different robots, autonomous robots, machines and intelligent workstations inside the facility. This powerful control of data allows operators to create and view live data screens that support workflow planning and real time decision-making.

Inside the ‘Smart Factory’ – adaptable software solutions create live data that can be used in ways that made decisions faster, smarter and more cost effective.

Intelligent connectivity is helping BAE Systems drive Industry 4.0 into its manufacturing capability and clearly demonstrates how UK industry is working collaboratively to drive efficiency and reduce the costs associated with building future military aircraft.

Changing technologies

Alex Griffiths, Senior Integration Engineer at BAE Systems, said: “We have intelligent workstations that deliver tools to engineers by autonomous robot before operators even know they need them. Our challenge is to create the optimal production environment for aircraft manufacture, where we can switch from one short batch product to another – with minimal effort and cost in the process.

“It’s about changing the way we make things and moving away from traditional techniques, looking at how we can create production lines that can be adapted quickly to take on different products, whether that is a low volume unmanned vehicle requirement or a future fighter aircraft.”

He continued: “In order to achieve that vision, we had to ensure we had a connected, intelligent factory and this is where PTC brought real solutions to the shop floor through the systems it provides. Adaptable software solutions creates live data that we can use in ways that made decisions faster, smarter and more cost effective.”

PTC, which works with some of the world’s largest manufacturing businesses, has placed Thingworx at the heart of BAE Systems’ connected factory in Warton. This technology accelerates the digital transformation journey by enabling Industrial Internet of Things implementation, unlocking practical solutions that can improve quality, troubleshooting maintenance issues, accelerating innovation and speed to market, whilst also reducing costs.

Intelligent data

Dave Grammer, General Manager for UKI at PTC, concluded: “We have been working with various businesses within BAE Systems for over two decades and data is definitely recognised as one of the most powerful tools when it comes to manufacturing performance and new process/product introductions.

“Controlling industrial data and using it intelligently has created the perfect environment to develop and test technologies that will potentially transform the way military aircraft and combat systems are implemented. It is also giving young engineers early access to IIoT platforms and software, which can only be good news for their career development.”

About PTC

PTC, which has its UK base in Farnborough, is a global company that provides a host of technology solutions to help industrial companies create value for themselves and the rest of the world. This is achieved through a combination of Augmented Reality, Industrial IoT, Product Lifecycle Management and CAD solutions.

For further information, visit or follow @ptc on twitter. More details on Factory of the Future, can be found at

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Visit our Smart Factory Expo on 10-11 November 2021 – more details and registration here.

Images courtesy of  PTC