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SIMPLE platform transforms factory floor data collection thanks to consortium


Digital technologies and data-driven solutions in manufacturing businesses are becoming more important when it comes to boosting productivity and efficiency. However, the buzzword ‘digitalisation’ is often thrown around and there’s been little known ways to get started on this new area of innovation.


Having worked closely with digital technology and manufacturing businesses it was clear that there was a need for a way to showcase the potential of data-driven tools in factories and give UK manufacturers a step into digitalisation.

Knowing the benefits a smart platform would make to businesses, a consortium of like-minded organisations came together to build exactly that with the help of Innovate UK. The consortium includes a wide range of end-user, academic, and technology partners to provide the necessary breadth of expertise.

Innovare Systems is the SME representative in the construction industry looking to improve their operations through digital technologies but didn’t have the automation capabilities or breadth of skills to implement.

Lear Corporation represented the global organisation in the automotive industry, challenged by their operational complexity, diverse technologies in production and fragmented software and data storage.

The UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) was seeking to support their objectives and be equipped to support similar projects in the future.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a government agency that carries out research in science and engineering.

Fully Distributed Systems (FDS), AI Idea Factory and 4thWall Virtual develop engineering tools, industrial software components and supply chain related services.

WMG, University of Warwick is leading in research and transforming organisations and driving innovation.


Having brought the consortium together, they set to work on creating SIMPLE, standing for Smart InforMation PLatform and Ecosystem for manufacturing. This was co-funded by the consortium members and UK Innovate through the Manufacturing Made Smarter Competition aimed at delivering solutions applicable across various industry sectors.

SIMPLE is a software solution that supports the four key steps of deploying digital manufacturing solutions. Those are connect, collect, analyse, and react. The simple connectivity toolbox provides modules to connect the platform to hardware and software data sources, which can be shop floor equipment or organisations databases. The rule engine part of the SIMPLE solution allows raw data to be pre-processed and validated. This is done via a set of rules that can be applied to streams of data (e.g., validate time stamp format, compare value to a threshold, apply logical conditions, or mathematical calculations) before it is recorded in the SIMPLE databases. The SIMPLE rule engine and data models guides the collection of right data in the right format.

The SIMPLE applications ecosystem supports data processing and analytics and delivery of information in a form that effectively forms the decision making.

The idea behind SIMPLE is to go from the approach that consists in using large amount of data to using the right data instead. The SIMPLE project adopts the Pareto principle, i.e., that 80% of the business value typically sought through data analysis, can be found in 20% of the data (the right data) typically collected by manufacturing organisation.

Data models provide a template for collecting data around product, process, and assets. The data strategy aims to provide a roadmap for organisations to plan the development of digital capabilities and the investments in data capture system.

With SIMPLE, manufacturers can collect meaningful data and deliver valuable insights in days rather than months. The aim is to deliver a data platform that will help manufacturing organisations to deploy digital capabilities rapidly and effectively.


  • It is being deployed in three manufacturing organisations to prove its value and extend its capabilities.
  • It is able to provide meaningful data to help businesses diagnose inefficiencies in processes and provide the ability to improve production performance.
  • Limited digital skills are needed to use the platform and eliminates the need for a separate process reporting team.
  • Innovare Systems have adopted the SIMPLE platform and it is saving them time by collecting data quickly and spotting production issues before they occur.
  • Any company can apply to test the SIMPLE platform in their factory.

Daniel Vera, Associate Professor, WMG, University of Warwick, commented, “The SIMPLE project has delivered targeted process monitoring capabilities to the end-user partners. It also allowed them to develop a solid foundation for the future deployment of data-driven capabilities, from both a technical perspective, and in term of skills and understanding of data systems.

Watch this space for more updates on how the platform is benefiting businesses. For more information on using SIMPLE, please email

Wed 07 Jun 2023, 08:00