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In the first two blogs in our series on Industry 4.0 for Dummies, we looked at principles that were equally appropriate for both manufacturing and services.

This third blog however focuses entirely on manufacturing, as Alistair McKinlay, technical analyst with R&D tax specialist Jumpstart, explores the concept of “Advanced Manufacturing’ and, in particular, which areas are most likely to deliver significant benefits for manufacturers.

Very smart indeed

Smart manufacturing is a term used to encompass the range of disciplines and technologies which integrate and automate manufacturing processes, building toward a “smart manufacturing” environment and ultimately a “dark factory” – so called because it can run without human intervention, and so could theoretically function with no lights on! (See our previous blog on digitisation for a more in-depth look at the subject).

One company involved in developing automated robotic manufacturing solutions in an automotive environment implemented a number of projects aiming at increasing automation of the manufacturing process, introducing smart sensors to facilitate self-adjusting tooling, automated materials processing and automated materials handling. The result was reduced maintenance costs, improved productivity and reduced health & safety issues (from reduced human operator involvement). All of the above project activities made the company eligible for R&D tax relief, and they were able to receive £137,500 in R&D tax relief over a three-year period. Now, that’s very smart!

Blog originally published on Pro-Manchester

Read the full blog here

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