£14m awarded to sustainable smart factory projects

Digital technology projects across key UK manufacturing industries have won a total of £14m to support their drive for energy efficiency, productivity and growth, with more opportunities now available.

The Sustainable Smart Factory competition, organised by UK Research and Innovation, was part of the Made Smarter innovation challenge.

The collaborative R&D event sought to identify and support digital innovations which improve sustainability in manufacturing processes, either through reduced material or energy consumption.

Twelve projects secured between £1 million and £8 million in funding, across sectors ranging from food to engineering. They included SMEs and large manufacturers, technology developers, universities and research and technology organisations.

It is estimated the projects could create 1,000 jobs in the three years after their completion, while reducing manufacturing carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tonnes a year, equivalent to taking nearly 65,000 cars off the road.

Winners include:

  Photocentric’s solution for digitally manufactured, 3D-printed parts that can be created entirely autonomously and will challenge existing injection moulding techniques from overseas.

  Deep.Meta project, which will use novel artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to help reduce energy use and carbon emissions in the steel industry.

  PragmatIC Semiconductor’s project, which is looking to tackle the pollution within the electronics industry by building a new high-volume manufacturing facility that will help substantially reduce annual carbon emissions.

Projects will run for up to two years and are expected to open the door to significant carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) savings and a cleaner manufacturing economy.

Details at made smarter innovation challenge.

More funding opportunities are available, with the Made Smarter innovation digital supply chain innovation hub open for expressions of interest to run supply chain test beds.

The next collaborative R&D funding opportunity will launch in January 2023, offering a combined £6 million for industrial readiness robotics innovation projects in manufacturing operations.

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