May 16, 2020

Boeing announces $26.5mn investment in Reaction Engines Limited

Boeing
Rolls-Royce
UK
Oxfordshire
Sophie Chapman
2 min
Boeing and Rolls-Royce invest in UK space technology startup from Oxfordshire
The US-based aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, has announced its £26.5mn (US$37.8mn) investment in Reaction Engines Limited (REL).

The UK space technolog...

The US-based aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, has announced its £26.5mn (US$37.8mn) investment in Reaction Engines Limited (REL).

The UK space technology based in Oxfordshire is currently working on contributing to the next generation of hypersonic flight and space access vehicles.

The firm’s most notable work is its Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) – a hybrid engine that combines jet and rocket technology.

The engine is capable of reaching Mach 5 on air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode.

“Rolls-Royce and Boeing - these are really big names, and it's fantastic to be in this position,” stated Mark Thomas, CEO of REL.

SEE ALSO:

“Rolls are super-positive about the technology. They want us to be independent and innovative, and to push our technology as hard as possible,” he informed the BBC.

“And Boeing - that's amazing. They are the world's biggest aerospace company, have decades of expertise and future plans that, for us I'm sure, will be really exciting.”

The startups total capital has been valued at approximately £100mn ($142.6mn), following the £60mn ($85.6mn) investment from the UK Government.

“As Reaction Engines unlocks advanced propulsion that could change the future of air and space travel, we expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight,” stated Steve Nordlund, Vice President of Boeing HorizonX.

Share article

May 12, 2021

Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers

SmartManufacturing
DigitalTransformation
DigitalFactory
ConnectedFactory
2 min
57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support smart manufacturing digitalisation

With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.

While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.

“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.

“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”

Change Management

Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.

“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.

Technology and People

While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.

“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.

Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.

Discover Gartner's Five Best Practices for Post COVID-19 Innovation' in manufacturing.

Image source

Share article