A new £3.8 million facility that will revolutionise the world of manufacturing, making it more efficient and cost-effective, has opened at the University of Nottingham.
The state-of-the-art OMNIFACTORY, a concept factory where different digital technologies are implemented to improve traditional manufacturing practices, was officially opened on Wednesday 1 March 2023 by Brian Holliday, Managing Director at Siemens Digital Industries and Co-Chair of the Made Smarter Commission, with a keynote contribution from George Freeman MP, Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Situated on the university’s Jubilee Campus, OMNIFACTORY is home to a bespoke test bed floor, developed in Nottingham, that provides a unique reconfigurable environment. The floor autonomously adapts itself to the next product’s environment and specifications, reshaping itself through a combination of digital technologies, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
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.
“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.
“We have already received an incredible response from industry working both with large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and highly innovative local SMEs. 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.
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