The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is jointly hosting the Made Smarter Smart Factory Innovation Hub pilot as part of a scheme to accelerate growth in the manufacturing sector through better use of digital technologies.

16 physical and virtual testbeds will allow businesses to test quick-fire projects and early-stage technologies in a safe, industry-like environment with expert support. There will be no cost for participating companies; the funding has been awarded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

As part of the HVM Catapult, the AMRC has been chosen to host three testbeds: Legacy Systems, Connected Factory and Cybersecurity for Manufacturing.

For manufacturers, the testbeds will provide:

  • An environment to innovate, develop and de-risk rapidly configurable projects and industrial digital technologies before investing within their own businesses;
  • An opportunity to experience new, integrated technology solutions on real-industry use cases and with expert HVM Catapult support.

For technology providers, the testbeds will be:

  • An opportunity to test, develop and showcase new technology solutions on real industry example and source feedback to improve their technology offering for the sector.

Legacy Systems

Based at the AMRC’s Factory 2050 and Factory of the Future facilities, the Legacy Systems testbed will enable technology providers to develop, test and iterate their solutions across the range of legacy equipment platforms available at the AMRC: traditional machining equipment, CNC machines and industrial machining robots.

AMRC engineers will demonstrate the opportunities that retrofitting legacy equipment can provide, including displaying the potential of sensor fusion insights and demonstrating the value of data collection from equipment that would be considered Industry 2.0 or Industry 3.0.
For manufacturers, the Legacy Systems testbed will enable them to try out new sensor systems that extract data from their machining platforms, potentially yielding superior precision, improved productivity and reduced cost.


Connected Factory

The Connected Factory testbed, at Factory 2050, uses different cells across the AMRC, including a reconfigurable robot and autonomous guided vehicles (AGV), to demonstrate the dynamic integration of multiple systems on a shopfloor, through dashboarding of Industry 4.0 data and insights derived from analytics.

The suite of connected cells will provide a testbed for technology companies that want to: develop AI optimisation solutions; access manufacturing data sets from a variety of processes; and test factory sustainability and energy efficiency strategies and solutions.

It will show manufacturers how they can: use AI tools to optimise factory layouts; integrate Industry 4.0 technologies into their processes; reduce manual intervention to improve performance and reduce cost; and reach net zero targets through monitoring, control and insight into energy utilisation.


Cybersecurity for Manufacturing

The Cybersecurity for Manufacturing testbed will allow the AMRC, in collaboration with HVM Catapult colleagues, to define a standard approach to cyber security risk assessments for advanced manufacturing. To do this, the testbed will carry out a cyber security risk assessment on a suitable system to review current approaches, identify common processes and major difficulties.

As part of the testbed, other HVM Catapult centres will be supported to trial the cyber security risk assessment process on the systems they are using as part of the Made Smarter Smart Factory Innovation Hub.


For more information, please visit the HVM Catapult website: www.hvm.catapult.org.uk/innovation-hubs

The AMRC is actively looking for tech providers and end users to participate in this work, please email Jon Stammers to register your interest: j.stammers@amrc.co.uk.