Simon Coward appointed as Director of SMDH
Q&A with SMDH Team
Q&A with SMDH Team
Q & A WITH SONYA COLEMAN, PROFESSOR OF VISION SYSTEMS, ULSTER UNIVERSITY
WHAT IS THE VISION BEHIND THE SMDH PROJECT?
The SMDH will develop a Manufacturing Data Exchange Platform (MDEP), whereby individual companies will be able to submit their manufacturing data and receive extracted intelligence in return. SMDH analysis is provided by expert data scientists, not normally accessible to an individual SME.
By interacting with SMDH, SMEs will be able to share tools and guidance for data capture, extraction, formatting and virtual computing environments. MDEP will integrate with the manufacturing support ecosystem, linking companies, technology providers, digitalisation experts and researchers.
The SMDH addresses geographical gaps in the UK’s physical manufacturing testbeds; utilising these existing resources and integrating them with accessible virtual representations. It will de-risk investment in digitalisation technologies for SMEs, leveraging anonymised data from existing manufacturing support facilities and ensuring sharing of best practice. Larger companies will also be supported from a technical challenge and supply chain perspective.
WHAT EXPECTATIONS SHOULD SMES HAVE WHEN CONNECTING WITH THE SMDH AT THE START OF THEIR JOURNEY?
When an SME engages with the SMDH team they can expect a personalised experience with a dedicated team member assigned to them. The SMDH team member will assess the SME’s unique circumstances and their progress on their digitalisation journey. This initial assessment will then set out recommendations that will help kickstart or progress the SMEs digitalisation journey.
WHICH TYPES OF MANUFACTURING BUSINESSES CAN BENEFIT FROM SMDH?
We are primarily focussed on manufacturing SMEs from any sector, but we are also keen to involve larger manufacturers that want to contribute to SMDH.
Q & A WITH DERMOT KERR, SENIOR LECTURER IN COMPUTING, ENGINEERING AND INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS, ULSTER UNIVERSITY
CAN YOU DESCRIBE SOME TYPES OF DATA DRIVEN TECHNOLOGY THAT SMES ARE LIKELY TO ACCESS THROUGH SMDH IN THE FIRST INSTANCE?
Depending on the SMEs individual circumstances and recommendations made by SMDH experts, manufacturing SMEs can benefit from installing devices that:
- Leverage on key developments within Industry 4.0 including sensorisation, robotics, additive manufacturing and artificial intelligence;
- Integrate with existing manufacturing equipment to help capture downtime and track bottlenecks in production;
- Advance on existing processes and use data to predict potential machine and process breakdowns;
- Data can be captured and uploaded to the MDEP data vault for subsequent analysis. Trends and insights can be visualised allowing SMEs to make informed decisions based on the data analysis.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT A VIRTUAL MANUFACTURING TESTBED IS AND HOW IT WILL BENEFIT SMES?
SMDH offers manufacturing SMEs a unique chance to access Virtual Manufacturing testbeds (VMT). A virtual manufacturing testbed is a digital simulation of a manufacturing process. For example, if a company wishes to explore new technologies and assess how these impact their current production processes, our VMTs enable remote access to such key technologies. Therefore, through SMDH, manufacturers can de-risk investment and aid planning processes, taking the guesswork out of major decisions.
Q & A WITH SIMON COWARD, DIRECTOR OF SMDH, ULSTER UNIVERSITY
THE SMDH IS SET TO SHARE MANUFACTURING DATA ACROSS THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE AND ALSO FOR SPECIFIC SECTORS. HOW ARE THESE DATASETS SECURED AND KEPT ANONYMOUS?
Within SMDH, all data will be secured in a system called MDEP (Manufacturing Data Exchange Platform). There are a number of layers of security applied to all data on MDEP. All users of MDEP are pre-approved before getting access to the system. We use secure multi-factor authentication for accessing the system. All activities on MDEP are logged and at the individual user level. We use advanced blockchain technology to log every transaction that is applied to manufacturing data providing full non-repudiation. The MDEP has parallels to medical grade secured data systems, in that, there is a Trusted Research Environment (TRE) where data and processing of that data take place within a secured environment, removing any opportunity for accidental or intentional egress of confidential data.
Data anonymisation can also be used to allow SMDH data to be shared across industry sectors, identifying trends and pinpointing similarities, allowing an overarching view of manufacturing SMEs data trends.
SMDH WILL INCLUDE A COMMUNITY ELEMENT, WHAT CAN SMES EXPECT FROM THE SMDH COMMUNITY?
There are always new things to find out about your existing practices and that is where the community element comes in. SMDH participants can access the SMDH community forum, connecting with like minded companies. The platform will provide companies with a neural place to share their own best practices and in turn, ask questions and learn from others in the industry about digitalisation and advancing their path to smart manufacturing.
PARTNERED WITH EXPERTS FROM ACROSS THE UK
The SMDH is led by Ulster University and has key manufacturing and data experts partners from across the UK, including The DataLab, Energy Systems Catapult, University of Cambridge, Manufacturing NI, MEGA, Industry Wales, Scottish Engineering, STFC Hartree and D2N2.