Smart Ideas Made Smarter at Smart Factory Expo 2018

Posted on: 27/11/2018

Smart Factory Expo which took place on 14th and 15th November in Liverpool brought together a host of talent from across the manufacturing sector.

From the large manufacturing companies and solution providers to a range of SMEs exhibiting in Innovation Alley and an excellent breadth of interesting talks (including three from KTN staff), the conference saw nearly 6,000 people through their doors over the 2 days.

Made Smarter and the NorthWest pilot

The conference kicked off with an announcement from Business & Industry Minister, Richard Harrington, and Chair of the Made Smarter Review, Juergen Maier, who unveiled the details of the £20m Made Smarter North West pilot which will test out the most effective ways to engage with manufacturers and encourage them to adopt digital technologies.

Working through five North West Growth Hubs the £20m pilot aims to test out the most effective ways to engage with manufacturers and encourage them to adopt technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, IoT and sensors, 3D printing and robotics.

A core part of the announcement was grants of up to £20,000 to help small businesses adopt and embrace industrial digital technologies (IDTs).

You can find out more here. If you’re a developer of digital technologies (wherever you are based) you can register your interest in providing your solutions into the pilot. And if you’re a manufacturer based in the NorthWest you can register your interest in receiving support through the pilot programme.

This follows the government’s budget statement on 29th October in which it was announced that there will be £121m going into the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund also under the moniker “Made Smarter”. Watch this space for details as they emerge.

This activity builds on extensive engagement with the Innovate UK and its partners – including KTN, the Catapults and the Research Councils.


Innovation Alley

Sponsored by Innovate UK and organised by KTN in partnership with the Manufacturer, Innovation Alley brought together solution providers from across the UK with innovative concepts and technologies that will help manufacturers achieve their goals of creating ‘a smarter digital manufacturing process’.

Here are some of the video interviews carried out companies who exhibited at Innovation Alley:

OAL who provide automation and robotics solutions for the food manufacturing industry

Croft Additive creating 3D printed metal solutions

Invisible Systems design and manufacturer of IOT devices.

CNC Robotics providing automation and robotics solutions for a range of manufacturing industries

Elements Technology Platforms using mobile and contactless technology to track manufacturing processes and documentation


The Digital Readiness Level, DRL, supported by KTN, also had an excellent amount of engagement at the show.  DRL is a community interest company set up to help businesses benchmark their readiness to make the most of digital technologies and prioritise the steps along their journey to digital maturity. The DRL assessments are free to use, and the team can connect businesses to the right organisations, giving advice on how to embrace the new digital revolution.


To find out how KTN can help your manufacturing business connect and grow, click here.

To ensure you’re kept up to date with news, funding and events do make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter, connected with the KTN Manufacturing group on LinkedIn or following KTN Manufacturing on Twitter.




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