Nottingham University’s robotics research centre is complete
The £30mn (US$42.7mn) facility will focus hig...
The Advanced Manufacturing Building, located on the campus of the University of Nottingham, is complete.
The £30mn (US$42.7mn) facility will focus high-tech and innovative 3D printing and robotics research, as it targets manufacturing of the future.
The site will become a global hub for the leading minds working on advanced technology, as it hosts meetings, seminars, and lectures.
The manufacturing building will work with industry to provide engineers, and will become the flagship Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre.
“This pioneering project delivers a fantastic addition to the university’s portfolio of unique and ground-breaking buildings and it further enhances the continued growth of our Jubilee Campus,” stated Chris Jagger, Chief Estates and Facilities Officer.
“The project has also included a replacement new building for the 62nd Wollaton Park Scout Group, which will also provide facilities for the local community.”
The facility also aims to become a hub for those on its campus – working as classrooms, laboratories, and workshops for students and teachers.
“The new institute will align with the Government’s desire for a new industrial strategy, in key sectors such as advanced manufacturing, and with the ambitions of D2N2’s own programmes; to enable area companies to innovate, create new products and grow,” commented Sajeeda Rose, Senior Manager for Growth Deals and Capital Programmes.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
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.”
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.