I remember as a child driving past what we used to call ‘the smelly works’ which had the Orgreave colliery and coking plant (where the battle of Orgreave took place) one side and a company called Bone-Cravens on the other where my Uncles & Grandad used to work in the 70’s.
Described as a horrible and dangerous place to work, which in todays world of HSE I'm sure wouldn't have been allowed however what you did see was a close bond between work colleagues that is still strong today with many of the workforce employed there for many years as 'man & boy'.
My Grandad sadly passed away in 2004 but if I was to drive him down there now he wouldn't recognise the place. The brand new Waverley private housing estate on the site of the old pit and sitting proud just over the road is the Advanced manufacturing research centre, a place dedicated to ensuring the UK is once again at the top of the tree when it comes to manufacturing.
Looking into the future
I am really proud to say that last week I paid a visit to The AMRC Factory 2050 to learn about the exciting advancements that are driving the 4th industrial revolution.
The site of factory 2050 is smack bang in the middle of the old British Steel heart land of Sheffield, something I know the steel workers of yesterday would be very proud of.
Have a think about the last time you went into a dedicated engineering factory, dark, smelly oil filled places where it was staffed by a predominantly male workforce.
Fast forward to today and is the factory 2050 a glimpse into the future or one what I believe is a blue print to what the future of manufacturing in the UK looks like well before 2050.
The adoption of advanced manufacturing techniques along with the infinite opportunities that the cloud & data intelligence brings to even the smallest manufacturing business I believe we will see more modern factories a long time before 2050.
The key to success is through an open understanding of what is possible
What is Factory 2050 ?
F2050 is UK’s first state of the art factory, entirely dedicated to conducting collaborative research into reconfigurable digitally assisted assembly, component manufacturing and machining technologies and is capable of rapidly switching production between different high-value components and one-off parts.
Factory 2050 is the first building to be completed on the University of Sheffield’s new Advanced Manufacturing Campus. The 6,730 sq m landmark circular glass building and rectangular extension is home to the AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG).
IMG’s work spans robotics and automation, integrated large volume metrology, digitally assisted assembly and manufacturing informatics. Among other things, the Group is developing ways of meeting demand for high variation and mass customisation, intelligent machines and process that monitor and optimise their operations, techniques to shorten lead times and ramp production up and down rapidly, ways of handling and making sense of big data, human machine collaboration and techniques for digitally assisted assembly.
During the tour which was kindly offered by the Deputy Head of Digital, Jonathan Bray; I got to see the advancements in action, sensors, robotics, digital twins & more.
It really gave me a few things to think about and also that part of our role at Simoda is to promote the AMRC and the fantastic work they do to other businesses across the region & UK.
The main barrier for business today is the lack of knowledge in what technology can do and a selfish need to keep the lights which is a key blocker to innovation where businesses don’t think outside of their existing capabilities.
Here is where the AMRC & Simoda can help.
The technologies are out there and the skills are being driven from world class facilities & education, all happening in our own city.
If you are a manufacturing business and want to know more about the AMRC programs and how your organisation can utilise the cloud to drive efficiencies & productivity, get in touch and we can help guide you along the way to your own factory 2050.
In summary the whole experience made me feel proud of the direction the regions manufacturing heritage is taking.
If you want to know more take a look at the website,
Or get in touch with us for a chat and let's see what is possible today.