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02 Mar 2023

New Facility Set to Transform Manufacturing Opens in the U.K.

New Facility Set to Transform Manufacturing Opens in the U.K.

The University of Nottingham, based in Nottingham, England, unveiled a ground-breaking facility for manufacturers - the OMNIFACTORY - at a special ceremony on 1 March 2023. Brian Holliday of Siemens Digital Industries, co-chair of the Made Smarter Commission, officiated, with keynote remarks from George Freeman MP, Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation. 

This £3.8m concept factory employs digital technologies to enhance the traditional manufacturing process, creating a cost-efficient production line. Located at the Jubilee Campus, the test bed floor utilizes a blend of robotics, artificial intelligence, and reconfigurable technology to automate the transformation of its layout to the specifications of each new product.

Svetan Ratchev, Director of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, said: “OMNIFACTORY is a unique facility that will allow us to develop, demonstrate and rapidly implement the latest digital manufacturing technologies in industry.”

Svetan continued: “Working closely with our industrial partners, we aim to transform current practices and improve productivity across different sectors by developing the next generation of smart, highly agile, and efficient factories, which will also support localised manufacturing supply chains. By leveraging technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, we can dramatically accelerate the development and sustainable manufacturing of new products and deliver significant societal, economic, and environmental benefits.

“Manufacturing processes have a significant impact on the environment, with a large proportion of the carbon footprint of some products being created during their production and logistics. By creating a new generation of smart, highly efficient factories embedded in local supply chains, we will contribute to the net-zero agenda and make a significant step towards the circular economy.

“OMNIFACTORY is a national testbed for future factory technologies, and we welcome new businesses to join us and explore the future of manufacturing.”

The five-year project has been funded by Innovate UK and aligned to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme, but OMNIFACTORY’s facilities can be applied to other sectors, such as food and automotive.

Alan continued: “Based on the foundations of excellent research conducted at the University of Nottingham, this new space will support industry in developing, testing and validating new digital manufacturing applications and their rapid implementation across all sectors. We’re incredibly proud to support this unique development and to see Siemens’ core technologies being deployed to showcase the future of UK manufacturing.”

The facility is already working with several businesses that operate in a variety of sectors, including Airbus, and GKN, which is utilising OMNIFACTORY for the ELCAT project.


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