Demonstrating the value of data to Welsh manufacturers

Digital experts at AMRC Cymru are helping Welsh manufacturers become sustainable, efficient and ready for Industry 4.0 by demonstrating the immediate impact of the data they produce on the shop floor.

The Factory+ framework, an open-access digital architecture that simplifies the way data can be handled across a manufacturing organisation, has now been implemented at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Cymru. Developed by engineers at the AMRC’s Factory 2050 in Sheffield, Factory+ provides a synthesised way for machines to capture, analyse and exploit the data they generate.

“We are extracting data from all kinds of machines, from robot arms, to CNC machines, automated guided vehicles (AGV) and 3D printers, and collating it; having it all in one place makes it so much easier to analyse and experiment on,” said Harri Williams, software engineer at AMRC Cymru.

“This is high on our partners’ agendas. There is huge potential impact for manufacturers to be able to analyse historical data and understand what is happening on their shop floors.”

The latest machines connected to the Factory+ architecture are AMRC Cymru’s two Stratasys 3D printers, the J835 and F170, adding to the Stratasys Fortus 900mc and F170s already at the AMRC’s site in Rotherham. Harri says AMRC engineers are now able to track the printers’ usage, some of the busiest machines they have.

He said: “We have created a dashboard that is presented in the workshop through a huge projector displaying all the data being streamed at any moment in time. For the 3D printers, every engineer can see in an instant how much material is remaining within the machines and the current status of jobs…Read more