Making Manufacturing Smarter

Posted on: 22/03/2021

KTN’s Made Smarter Innovation Network ran a series of events from 14 April to 29 June which focused on helping manufacturers and digital technology companies to Make Manufacturing Smarter.

We often hear how UK productivity has slowed down. One of the key reasons behind this is that the UK is poor in developing innovation and adopting technologies that improve productivity.

In 2017, the Made Smarter UK review found a very obvious opportunity for growth in UK manufacturing, stating that “the positive impact of faster innovation and adoption of Industrial Digital Technologies could be worth as much as £455 billion for UK manufacturing over the next decade, increasing manufacturing sector growth between 1.5 and 3 percent per annum, creating a conservative estimated net gain of 175,000 jobs throughout the economy”.

To support and accelerate the digitalisation of the manufacturing industry, KTN is working with UKRI to drive innovation to support the adoption of digital technology through Manufacturing Made Smarter. Manufacturing Made Smarter (MMS) is one of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes, investing £147m into creating a fully connected, dynamic manufacturing ecosystem inspiring innovation across academia, technology providers and manufacturers.

The Made Smarter Innovation Network webinars will showcase the journeys of manufacturers who have been innovative in their adoption of digital technologies to improve performance, alongside digital technology providers creating innovative solutions to aid the manufacturers journey.

Digital Technologies such as Additive Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Robotics, AR and VR and the Internet of Things are the tools with which we can make UK manufacturing more modern, innovative, connected, flexible, resilient and productive. This webinar series will explore the opportunities each of these technologies offer.

This 12 week webinar series showcased a manufacturer, digital technology provider and a UK technology founder at each event, where the speakers shared their experiences, best practices and key challenges across 12 improvement themes.

The event recordings will be of interest to manufacturers aspiring to be more productive, efficient, competitive and resilient through the use of digital technologies, integrators, innovators and digital technology solution providers who want to reach a manufacturing audience.

Webinar Recordings

New Product Development

There are lots of opportunities for digital technologies to enable new product innovation within manufacturing. This webinar explored technologies such as industrial internet of things, data analytics, robotics and automation and additive manufacturing and their associated systems across supply chains that can drive and enable opportunities for new products or variants.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Predictive Maintenance

This event explored the products and services that inform manufacturers as to when their shop floor equipment is likely to require maintenance. We heard from Paul Kapeller, Head of Product Management Digital Solutions at Engel, a global leader in the manufacturing and automation of machines for injection moulding (The Manufacturer who did it); Christina King, Chief Commercial Officer at Tribosonics, a high-tech scale-up providing sensing solutions (The Tech Solution Provider who made it possible); Giuseppe Calderaro CTO and Co-founder of Blackinetix, a tech start-up specialising in digital technologies such as IoT, Cloud and AR/VR (who are innovating in this area) and Rae Davies who heads up DMIW – the Digital Manufacturing Innovation Wales Hub who have a network of Digital Innovation Hubs focusing on Cyber-Physical Systems.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Factory Floor and Production Systems

This webinar focused on the integrated digital production management systems within a business to deliver control and optimisation of manufacturing, product lifecycle and resource management processes.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Industrial Energy Efficiency

Explored how manufacturers can gather, process, present and analyse data throughout the factory to enable rigorous management decisions regarding energy reduction is key to running an efficient factory. We heard from Conor Wall from IPL GLOBAL (the Manufacturer who had done it), Karthik Suresh from Ameresco (the technology company who made it happen), Matthew Roberts from Binary Forge (the innovator working in this area) and Jenni MacDonnell (the partner) who explored the opportunities for cost savings and efficiencies and digital solutions targeting this area.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Web Based Customer Order Tracking

Customers want to be able to track orders to help them plan better. This webinar looked at how manufacturers can gather, process and present data from the factory in sufficient detail to give customers visibility of their orders. We heard from Mandy Ridyard, Produmax (The Manufacturer who had done it), Joe Hansaker, Elements Technology (the technology company who made it happen), Eser Torun, Everledger (the innovator working in this area) and Harshal Gore from GS1 (the partner).

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Continuous Improvement

Capturing data to support decision making is crucial to modern continuous improvement programmes. This area of innovation is progressing at a fast pace, and in this webinar we highlighted the significant benefits of dedicated solutions in this technology area. We heard from Paul Hughes from IVC Brunel Healthcare (The Manufacturer who had done it), Sam Briggs from Starling (the technology company who made it happen), Chris Iveson from FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics (the innovator working in this area) and Beth McEvoy from eFutures Network (the partner).

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Quality Management

Ensuring your finished product meets the requirements of your customers is the difference between selling your product (and not), and in this webinar we explored how the application of digital technology may improve production quality directly, and reduce the time involved in ensuring quality, through management and data sharing activity.  We heard from: Lorenzo Conti of Crover, a technology provider for the agricultural sector (The Manufacturer who had done it); Timothy Kamps, a research scientist at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), specialising in friction wearing and lubrication (the technology company who made it happen); Liz Salter, an industrial associate at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), working on the “Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring” project (the innovator working in this area); and Glenis Tellett, the enterprise manager at NPL (the partner).

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Mass Customisation

Scaling up to mass produce a product in line with specific customer’s needs and preferences is an art!  This webinar explores strategies to undertake this skill while keeping unit costs low. We heard from: David Santopietro, Co-Founder and CEO of EvenKeel Performance Insoles, a provider and manufacturer of custom orthotic insoles (The Manufacturer who had done it); Xenia Pie, a Mechanical and Software Engineer at CAE Tech, a technology provider for mass customisation (the technology company who made it happen); Rich Ingram, Co-Founder and Director of AMO, a software company that offers a tool for selling bespoke products online (the innovator working in this area); and Tom Driscoll, a Principal Research Engineer in the MTC’s Digital Engineering group (the partner).

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Circular Economy

This event explored the synergy between digital manufacturing and the notion of a more “circular economy”. Make exciting connections across the various communities that will catalyse action with manufacturers, tech providers and circular economy experts.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Design for Manufacture

We explored how advances in manufacturing and materials technology may allow you to offer opportunities for design for manufacturing decisions to create a product that is easily and economically manufactured.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.


This event explored servitization and how digital technologies and approaches can facilitate it. Make exciting connections across the various communities and catalyse uptake with manufacturers, tech providers and servitization experts.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Flexible Manufacturing

Production efficiency often centres around a consistent product and process, optimised to run with minimal downtime. But what happens when customers demand more product variation, where you need to switch a process from one product to another, or where batch sizes are small? This event explored how digital technology can help manufacturers maintain efficiency and asset utilisation whilst offering the customer what they want.

Watch the recording of this webinar here.

Join the Made Smarter community and find out how your business can benefit from digital technology solutions for manufacturing at

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