The University of Manchester (UoM) has announced that it will issue a blueprint for advancement towards Industry 4.0 in the UK.
Paulo Bartolo, Chair Professor on Advanced Manufacturing at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE), said, “The University of Manchester is taking steps to cement its place as a world-leading hub for Industry 4.0 solutions in engineering, health and social sciences.”
From Industry the first to Industry 4.0
During the height of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester was one of the most productive cotton manufacturers. In fact, the eminent urbanist and historian, Peter Hall, described 19th century Manchester as “the first and greatest industrial city in the world.”
Moving towards Industry 4.0, Bartolo believes that the city of Manchester will play the same role now as it did in the 19th century England. “The city is developing expertise in areas such as cybersecurity and robotics, positioning it as a key location for companies developing Industry 4.0 technologies and with access to significant market opportunities,” Bartolo added.
Developing advanced manufacturing
The University of Manchester is among the largest universities in the UK and is involved in some of the pioneering research in manufacturing. At MACE, the Modelling and Simulation Centre is conducting research on heat transfer, fluid mechanics and welding technology. Furthermore, its Laser Processing Centre houses some of the state-of-the-art laser machines which have 3D printing capabilities.
Professor Bartolo believes that the University of Manchester has intellectual and physical resources to be a leader of the Industry 4.0 movement in the UK. “With our world-class academic excellence, as well as the geographic and cultural pull of its home city, The University of Manchester is uniquely positioned to be an exemplar of the leadership required from the UK’s higher education sector,” Bartolo explained.
“In other words, we have a track record in delivering on areas that are vital for Industry 4.0. This was made possible because of our success at grassroots level, with a critical mass of researchers at the forefront of Industry 4.0’s technologies and societal and economic impact.”
Taking additive forward
The UoM blueprint will define a business model based on industry and academic collaboration.
Talking about Manchester and its potential to be an Industry 4.0 city, Bartolo said, “Taking the example of advanced materials – a core technology propelling Industry 4.0 – we are home to around £420 million-worth of internationally-renowned research and business innovation centres.” These innovation hubs include National Graphene Centre and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, the Henry Royce Institute, a department of UoM for advanced materials research and BP International Centre for Advanced Materials.
Adding further to this, Tim Newns, CEO of MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said, “The University of Manchester’s proposition around Industry 4.0 aligns seamlessly with the Greater Manchester Industrial and Digital Strategy.”
“Technology and innovation in fields such as AI, robotics, additive manufacturing, virtual and augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and the convergence of these technologies, can make a considerable impact on increasing the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry.”
The complete details of the roadmap will be presented on 11 April at the ongoing Industry 4.0 Summit and Expo in Manchester.
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Featured image shows The entrance of the University of Manchester. Image via YouTube.