The North East manufacturer building a smart factory

May 1, 2019

With help from the Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley, Dyer Engineering is embracing emerging technology to future-proof its operations as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The digital revolution has seen unprecedented change affect every industry, none more so than manufacturing. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and the Internet of Things are creating opportunities for those that embrace them. But knowing how to implement new technologies can be a challenge.

For manufacturers, technology can bring about new ways of working. Used in the right way, it can lead to improved productivity, increased operational efficiencies and reduced sale cycles. As manufacturers around the globe adopt digital technology in an attempt to gain a competitive edge, it is vital that North East businesses aren’t left behind.

For Dyer Engineering, the decision to explore new technologies was an obvious one. Based in Stanley, County Durham, the company is an innovative fabrication and machining business, which manufactures metal components and structures. In 2018, it began looking at ways

to solve some of its business challenges and, in partnership with Digital Catapult NETV (North East Tees Valley) has embraced both virtual reality (VR) and sensor technology.

Following a series of workshops led by the Digital Catapult NETV team, Dyer Engineering was selected to take part in a £230,000 national ‘Connected Factories Demonstrator’, which will see it start to implement Internet of Things and Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) in its factories.

The workshops also demonstrated the benefits of immersive technology within industry and, as a result, Dyer Engineering has recently developed a proof of concept for a VR factory tour, which will be used to target new customers and retain existing ones.

Richard Larder, head of digital innovation at Dyer Engineering, says: “At Dyer Engineering we recognise that digital technologies play a crucial part in future-proofing our business.

Manufacturers shouldn’t dismiss any technology thinking that it’s not for them – initially, we thought that about VR and now we not only have a 360’ video of our factory but we already see the benefit.

“We are incredibly excited to be at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the UK, which will unlock improved standards of living and workplace life. We’ve benefitted from the technology pioneers that came before us – now it’s our turn to take up the mantel.”

Sophie Craggs, programme engagement manager at Digital Catapult NETV, adds: “It’s fantastic to see a North East manufacturing firm being selected for a national project looking at the manufacturing processes of the future. From the outset, Dyer Engineering has impressed us with their forward-thinking approach and understanding of emerging technologies.

“We aim to equip all manufacturers – large and small – across the North East with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that, with the support of our programmes, Dyer Engineering has been able to set themselves ahead of the competition not just in the North East, but nationally.”

Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley
Companies in the North East can find out more information about Digital Catapult NETV’s support for manufacturers by contacting Sophie Craggs on sophie.craggs@sunderlandsoftwarecity.com
www.digitalcatapult.org.uk/regional-engagement/netv
Digital Catapult NETV is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Digital Innovation Partnership.

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