LCR 4.0 was established a year ago with the aim of exposing manufacturers in the region to the technologies emerging in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. Tony McDonough reports
Almost 100 firms across the Liverpool city region have taken part in a project designed to allow them access the latest advances in manufacturing technology.
LCR 4.0 was established a year ago with the aim of exposing manufacturers in the region to the technologies emerging in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.
These include augmented and virtual reality, the internet of things (sensors) and cloud computing – all of which have the potential to increase productivity and lower the cost and risk of innovation.
The sensors element of the project is being supported by Sensor City, a £15m project in Liverpool city centre which is providing incubator space for fledgling firms.
In a Government report – the Made Smarter Review – the three-year long LCR 4.0 was praised as a “best practice initiative”. Its eventual aim is to assist 300 businesses.
Systems integration has been identified as the biggest area of demand in the project’s first year with almost 25% of those businesses engaged in the programme accessing support around this.
This enables businesses to combine digital and physical assets to increase connectivity, ensuring that maximum value is achieved in the manufacturing process.
The programme, which runs until 2019, also expects to enable collaborations between 200 businesses and partners, support 70 new product development cases across a number of firms and create 60 new jobs.
From research and development, to knowledge transfer and the acceleration of ideas from concept through to commercialisation, each of the SMEs involved is receiving ongoing practical support and technical expertise from the LCR 4.0 partners.
Simon Reid, sector manager for advanced manufacturing at the Liverpool City Region LEP, said: “LCR 4.0 is well on the way to transforming the manufacturing space within the city region.
“As the industry continues to evolve, there is a real sense of proactivity among SMEs when it comes to implementing change and embracing the latest digital technologies.
Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, LCR4.0 is being delivered in partnership with the University of Liverpool, the LEP, Liverpool John Moores University, the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre and Sensor City.