Smart Machines & Factories
Start-up real-world manufacturing solutions help industrial giants
Published:  28 July, 2021
Four cutting-edge UK technology startups will now have the opportunity to develop minimum viable products (MVPs) to help industry titans digitise and improve their manufacturing processes

Four cutting-edge UK technology startups will now have the opportunity to develop minimum viable products (MVPs) to help industry titans digitise and improve their manufacturing processes, after being selected to go through to the final stage of Digital Catapult’s Made Smarter Technology Accelerator Programme.

BAE Systems, Babcock International Group, Safran Landing Systems and Northumbrian Water Group will soon be able to reap the benefits of four industry-changing solutions, as the successful startups - chosen from a total of 14 as part of a competitive pitching process - each receive up to £100,000 funding to develop minimum viable products to be applied for commercial use. Winning concepts include a remote system for monitoring water quality, and an artificial intelligence tool to visually inspect items on the production line, identify defects and improve product quality.

Run by Digital Catapult, in partnership with tech sponsors Verizon and Software AG and funded by UKRI, the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator gives Industry Challenge Owners the chance to bring in startup expertise to fuel innovation, boost productivity and accelerate the fourth industrial revolution using advanced digital technologies.

The novel solutions respond to each industry giant’s unique challenge - with predicted benefits including streamlined manufacturing operations, improved product quality assurance, enhanced traceability in the supply chain, reduced emissions and waste, and prevention of unnecessary re-manufacturing.

The full list of successful startups going through to MVP stage includes:

• Machine Intelligence Ltd (BAE Systems, the scalable artificial intelligence for visual inspection challenge): the MVP will use machine learning to identify defects in manufacturing, improve the quality of the end product, reduce waste and save money

• JetSoft (Babcock International Group, Warrior base overhaul challenge): This solution both reduces reliance on paper-based reporting to improve shop floor efficiency, and utilises existing equipment to create automatic 3D inspections - improving understanding of faults and operating performance

• Total Control Pro (Safran Landing Systems, adaptive scheduling and performance monitoring challenge): Total Control Pro is developing a data-driven planning, scheduling and resource optimisation solution to tackle the challenges of complex planning and resource management. Evidence points to the solution recouping more than 30 minutes of lost production capacity per shop floor operator per day - representing the recovery of over 10,000 of lost production hours per year for a typical SME, as well as a 10% improvement in productivity and a 15% reduction in downtime

• Riscon Solutions and Inventia UK (Northumbrian Water, monitoring water quality within the distribution network and real time analysis challenge): this project delivers a cloud-enabled, remote water quality monitoring solutions

• Many of the remaining startups will continue developing their solutions outside of the programme - including CAE Tech, who have been using tech from the gaming and music sectors to support shipbuilding engineers to collaborate on design in real time.

The successful startups and scaleups will be presenting their industry-changing Minimum Viable Products (MVP) at a final showcase event on 9th December 2021.