Future-proofing manufacturing in the North East

November 5, 2019

SAM is an ERDF-funded project being delivered by the University of Sunderland. It aims to support manufacturing SMEs with industry challenges and help them adopt new technologies

Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) is a £5.1 million collaborative programme between the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the University of Sunderland.

It offers eligible manufacturing SMEs in the North East LEP area fully funded specialist technical support (from 12 hours to 15 days); fully funded collaborative R&D support from specialists research fellows; access to £1 million of industry leading equipment in its five micro-factories; and a grant fund with up to £50,000 of match funding.

SAM supports SMEs to overcome a broad range of challenges utilising its expertise and equipment in areas such as product, process and design for manufacture; capability and process improvement including automation and predictive maintenance; materials development and additive manufacturing; Industry 4.0, digital and data.

It also supports manufacturing SMEs across a range of digital technologies including CAD, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), scanning, 360 video/tours, effective use of IIoT data and process simulation.

One such case study involved Synergy VR helping Dyer Engineering Ltd to use full-site 3D ‘scanning’ and “stereo” 360° 8K video to create interactive 360-degree tours with embedded live video, service manuals, images and links to backend datasets e.g. ‘Batch Line Reports’, all viewable through a browser or VR-headset.

Richard Larder, head of digital innovation at Dyer Engineering, says: “A major obstacle in adopting emerging technologies – where there are few case studies with only ‘finger in the air ROI figures’ – is gaining senior leadership team support. However, the SAM support and work of Synergy VR, resulting in a proof of concept, has been incredibly impressive and well received.”

Identifiable benefits for Dyer Engineering Ltd included accelerated employee on-boarding, focussed training, health and safety awareness and identification of potential bottlenecks. The tours also accelerated the planning and installation of an IIoT asset tracking system by facilitating remote plant inspection, with a tangible cost saving.

Additionally, SAM specialists have used software such as FlexSim, working closely with manufacturers to create a fully functional digital twin of their plant to simulate full production operations and inform decision making.

SAM has supported a number of organisations to look at process, layout and output optimisation strategies for potential future work and current manufacturing challenges.

Kevin Johnson of Funky Chunky Furniture reveals: “Simulation has been an exceptional method to look at our business processes. The benefit of a 3D digital production plant containing our data and process flows, created a ‘safe’ space to review all potential ideas for business decisions.

“The model provided an overview that was invaluable for our involvement, communication and impact assessment of ideas for business growth. Working with the SAM Project has allowed us to future-proof our operations, building space and capacity for our business plans and at the same time optimising today’s output to meet customer demand.”

SAM Project
For more information visit: www.samprojectuos.co.uk
sam.project@sunderland.ac.uk
0191 515 3111

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