Beverston Engineering Ltd is working with the Departments of the Built Environment and Electronics and Electrical Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University on a three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership to transform the business by embedding Industry 4.0 technologies into their manufacturing capability. The project is currently at the halfway stage and already having a positive impact on all partners involved.
At the forefront of the precision component manufacturing industry (aerospace, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas) for almost 47 years, Beverston Engineering has experienced the dramatic changes driven by the emergence of new technologies from the advent of the internet to the widespread adoption of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinery & CAD (Computer Aided Design).
The company joined forces with Liverpool John Moores University through LCR 4.0, a scheme to transform manufacturing business in the Liverpool City Region through digital innovation, helping SMEs to increase productivity by supporting the development of smarter processes, products and supply chains.
LJMU has a long-term commitment to KTP, having run around 140 projects since the scheme began in 1975, and is seeking to advance the UK’s global leadership in the Internet of Things technologies.
The Solution: Industry 4.0
Beverston believes that Industry 4.0 represents an extraordinary period of future technological disruption to the manufacturing industry, which will bring even greater and more rapid change than previous waves of industry disruption. Beverston’s forward-thinking strategy focussed on a vision of utilising Industry 4.0 in order to future-proof the business and to continue a pattern of strong growth, aligned with its mission to be the preferred supplier of high complex, precision machined parts. Early adoption was critical to secure competitive advantages over global competitors, to continue to meet increasing customer demands and allow the opportunity to move into new products and markets.
The KTP project has allowed the company to successfully start this journey, led by a highly-skilled KTP Associate, Amr Sufian, and the experienced academic team of Dr Badr Abdullah and Dr Mohammad Ateeq, both former KTP Associates themselves. The proposal was aimed at integrating Industry 4.0 technologies to improve all aspects of business visibility and manufacturing operational efficiency.
The aim of the KTP project is to leverage key technology pillars of Industry 4.0 in order to develop the next generation of smart production management systems. A full end-to-end solution will connect CNC machinery in the factory to the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, allowing for real-time production monitoring, which provides deeper insights and better decision-making in the manufacturing process. The objective is to enable Beverston to become more efficient, cut-down waste, embed Industry 4.0 expertise in its work force, and assist clients with reshoring their production.
In the first stage of the project a roadmap was developed with multiple stages to assist Beverston with its Industry 4.0 journey towards becoming a world-class smart factory, and a centre of excellence in the region.
The second stage involved architecting and laying down the foundations for the smart production management system. The IT infrastructure has been upgraded and the foundations laid for a secure, reliable, and a scalable IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) connectivity infrastructure to be established. A productivity display system was designed and developed as a central ornamental feature in the factory to facilitate staff engagement and encourage cultural change. It allows Beverston to be showcased as a centre of excellence amongst its prime clients, and also increases the potential to attract young people to work in the manufacturing industry.
A cutting edge IIoT system was also designed and installed in partnership with Yamazaki Mazak, a global giant in CNC manufacturing. This allows for a secure and reliable connectivity of CNC machines in the factory to collect real-time production monitoring data. Beverston is amongst the first few companies in the UK to use and future-proof such a system, building a long-term relationship with Yamazaki Mazak UK.
Further stages of the project are currently in development. Advanced connectivity, data transfer, architectural designs, and further industry 4.0 technologies and systems capable of integrating both worlds of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) are all planned as future work stages.
Prof. Michael Riley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology:
“This exciting project reinforces the benefit for strong relationships between industry and academia. At this time of rapid change developing innovative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century relies on the ability to explore new areas of knowledge and to integrate them in an industry 4.0 context. The KTP initiative provides an essential vehicle for such knowledge creation and transfer and we are proud to be part of projects such as this.”
KTP Associate Amr Sufian is leading the transformation:
“I am so privileged to manage such a high-tech, industry-led, innovative project in Industry 4.0 and transferring the knowledge from a local knowledge hub to another local industrial company with manufacturing excellence.
I have learnt a lot in the past 18 months about the manufacturing industry and the transformational change it is going through which will no doubt revolutionise and bring change that offers opportunities to overcome challenges of the next decade associated with sustainability, remaining competitive and attracting talent and young people.
My journey through this KTP so far has gained me significant experience in leadership and management of projects associated with innovation and cultural change, as well as enhanced my expertise further in industry 4.0 technologies, techniques, and applications.
The personal development budget associated with KTP has helped in my professional and technical development in the field, which will no doubt rapidly support me to achieve my career goals and aspirations.”
Rod Wah, Managing Director of Beverston Engineering reports on progress to date:
“Our Industry 4.0 KTP project has attracted a lot of attention within the manufacturing world. Our customers are very interested because they are certainly going to benefit from the efficiency gains that I have already seen because of the project. So much so, we have been awarded long-term new work from Rolls-Royce Control Systems due to the attractiveness of placing work with a supplier, actively seeking to improve performance in all areas through the project.
We have also been featured in several trade media articles, have held “Best Practise Sharing Events” with other engineering companies and won a prestigious award from the Knowsley Business Awards in Excellence in Manufacturing (over 50 employees), all as a result of our KTP project. The KTP is perfect for this type of project because you have a qualified graduate totally dedicated for three years, the resources of LJMU to call upon and all overseen by Innovate UK, who monitor the project to ensure success”.
This partnership received funding from Innovate UK.
Could a collaborative partnership with a UK university help your organisation innovate for positive change? Find out more about KTP and how to apply for funding here. Funding competitions for KTP are open throughout the year.
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