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There is increasing clamour around “Industry 4.0” with the main protagonists telling whoever will listen that UK companies must either adopt the principles or get left behind. For many SMEs however, there just isn’t compelling proof of the potential benefits that their company could receive from investing in digitisation, automation and integration.

Seeing is believing!

Graham Beck, mechanical engineering analyst at R&D tax relief specialist Jumpstart, shares practical, real life examples of savvy businesses which have reaped short-term benefits from process innovation projects, one of the pillars of Industry 4.0

Process Innovation

Process innovation isn’t a new concept. It’s been around since at least the rise of industrial factories in the 17th century, when mill owners recognised the economies of scale created by having individual operators focusing on specific tasks within the manufacturing process and as result creating the now ubiquitous process lines.

Nowadays companies pursue process innovation projects for lots of different reasons.

Some companies are looking to reduce waste in the manufacturing process or maybe they’re adopting a zero defects culture, as is common in a lot of supply chain development programmes.

Let’s look at one such company and how it’s benefited from process innovation:

With a turnover of £3.2million, this company is involved in CNC machining of plated components. The team was seeking to significantly reduce waste and improve finished product quality. Project work involved investigating alternative plating techniques, trialling new combinations of basecoats and flashes and redesigning components to reduce damage in the process line. The company achieved a substantial reduction in waste levels and increased the quality of finished components. Success!

And, as an added “cherry on the cake” all of the above project activities made the company eligible for R&D tax relief, and they were able to realise a substantial £256,000 tax benefit! Double success!

Article originally published on Pro-Manchester

Read the full article here

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