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New engineering partnership to develop digital marketplace to improve manufacturing supply chain

A research team, including WMG at the University of Warwick, led by Swansea University College of Engineering, are developing a pilot online marketplace designed to optimise manufacturing supply chain networks and create a new industry-wide business model.

This new platform will seek to better connect manufacturers and suppliers, enabling a streamlined product/process sourcing and selection service tailored to industry needs, with the support of the Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT).

The project will initially focus on supporting Welsh manufacturing companies with the aim to create an innovative digital supply chain marketplace (DSCM) template that can be replicated nationally and globally. One of the first companies to trial the new platform will be Swansea-based company MyMaskFit. Their aim is to produce custom fit reusable PPE masks for use during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers will send a scanned image of their face to the company via an app designed to record the dimensions needed to create the bespoke product.

A challenge for many companies, like MyMaskFit, is often creating a new supply chain and sourcing the many products and services required to bring regulated products to market.

Unifying shared expertise with industry experts and researchers from WMG, University of Warwick and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, this new partnership will offer companies, like MyMaskFit, access to a more open and dynamic market, with increased opportunity for UK SMEs, and by making markets more efficient and flexible, should raise productivity and open new value chains through wider reach.

Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy, WMG, University of Warwick, comments: “Major disruptions such as COVID-19 have challenged the conventional and static design of supply chains. Market places have an important role to play in connecting UK manufacturers with the emerging demand for new products and services. They support the development of new types of business models and dynamic supply chain designs, that will underpin the future of UK manufacturing. Self-assessment tools, roadmaps and blue prints will be made available through the ISCF Supply Chain Innovation Hub, so that these opportunities can be exploited by firms across the UK”.

“The challenge of existing marketplaces is that the relevance and quality of data is subjected to manual scrutiny and intervention,” comments project lead, Professor Johann Sienz, Deputy Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering and IMPACT Director. “This marketplace will be designed to provide visibility and access to supply chain processes and will deliver live validated and relevant data to make decisions. It will be valuable to the supplier through creation of ‘one supplier-to-many customers’ with the additional benefits of reducing administrating expenses, and maximises volume leverage, with less IT integration requirement.”

“This ‘Made Smarter’ testbed will act as a template for other digital supply chain marketplaces to be created to serve other sectors, geographies and verticals, for instance exclusive communities for highly regulated industries, where trust in the access, integrity, and security of information is critical.”

Driven by industry feedback, this new DSCM will offer much-needed features such as accuracy and precision for parts; pricing accuracy; reduced supplier response times from weeks to hours; and provide options with dynamic lead times and quality, cost, certainty – resulting in a quicker and more efficient supply chain process.

Valerie Bednar, MyMaskFit Director, comments: “MyMaskFit is pleased to deliver a programme to the Manufacturing Made Smarter Testbed where we hope to prove the success of sourcing in the regulated digital supply chain marketplace for components of our Reusable and Custom fitted medical grade mask.

As part of this 6-month project, a rapid scale-up of manufacturing operations is planned involving manufacturing partners – including cloud collaboration tools from design and manufacturing software company Autodesk.

Asif Moghal, Senior Industry Manager, Design and Manufacturing at Autodesk comments: “This is another great example of how the industry is coming together and rising to a new challenge. Protecting our key workers is essential and we have an opportunity to bring about new learnings from this rapid development project featuring personalised masks. We are confident this will be a transformative step for the industry, with the potential to scale globally and pass learnings onto other industries.”

 

The project is funded by the ISCF Manufacturing Made Smarter programme and will conclude in May 2021. Industrial partners also include Plyable, Amplyfi, AI Idea Factory, PXL ICE, Carapace, Cadarn and Industry Wales.

The IMPACT operation is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University.

ENDS

24 NOVEMBER 2020

Notes to Editors:

IMPACT

The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) is a state-of-the-art engineering research institute specialising in fundamental and applied research and innovation in advanced engineering, modelling and materials. The operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Swansea University.

As a Centre of Excellence, IMPACT supports the regional, the UK and global engineering economy with collaborative, fundamental and applied research. The Engineering North building, home to IMPACT, is based at Swansea University Bay Campus and forms part of the College of Engineering – offering a unique colocation facility for academia-industry partnerships within a transformative research environment.

Completed in May 2019, the building comprises of two distinct areas – linked by the central, light filled atrium: a research office building and a laboratory block: with 1,600m2 open plan laboratory space. Together they house 80 single occupancy offices, provide hub space for over 150 researchers and colocation space for 50 industrial and academic collaborators. Externally, the north entrance features a large living wall of plants and flowers, approximately 114m2 square, promoting biodiversity, and providing year-round texture and colour.

The ethos of IMPACT is to foster academia-industry partnerships, promoting cross-disciplinary fertilisation of ideas in the pursuit of new pioneering science and technology. This will be achieved by bringing together first-class expertise from the College, attracting leading talent and partnering with the World’s innovative companies and regional partners.

Designed to BREEAM* excellent standards, it will provide future proof highly specialised laboratories with a dynamic environment for collaboration of industry and academia. This unique operation aims to attract world leading expertise and significant research funding.

*BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment.

www.swansea.ac.uk/engineering/impact/

@SU_engIMPACT

 

Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge (additional quote)

Chris Courtney, Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge Director, said:

“Digital technologies have the power to radically transform how we manufacture and deliver the products and services of today and the future. This is more vital than ever given the current challenges of the pandemic and climate change and there are enormous opportunities to innovate across all manufacturing sectors. We have world leading industries, a powerful scientific and research community, a vibrant technology sector and these innovation hubs are being designed to bring that powerful coalition together.”

 

MyMaskFit

‘Masks are effective in slowing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, but not all of us have adopted this preventive measure. Some masks are ill-fitting, uncomfortable, not breathable, and the most effective masks are often unavailable or expensive.

We have an alternative, a face mask that is readily accessible and affordable, functional for our everyday lives, fit a wide variety of wearers, and is effective in protecting the wearer and the community.’

www.mymaskfit.co.uk/

 

Autodesk

‘Autodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of 3D software for global markets.

Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries—including the last 19 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects—use Autodesk software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas before they're ever built or created. From blockbuster visual effects and buildings that create their own energy, to electric cars and the batteries that power them, the work of our 3D software customers is everywhere you look.

Through our apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android, we're also making design technology accessible to professional designers and amateur designers, homeowners, students, and casual creators — anyone who wants to create and share their ideas with the world.’

www.autodesk.com/

 

WMG, University of Warwick

WMG is an academic department at the University of Warwick and is the leading international role model for successful collaboration between academia and the public and private sectors, driving innovation in science, technology and engineering, to develop the brightest ideas and talent that will shape our future.

warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg

Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)

‘The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) develops and proves innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile, low risk environment, in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions. We focus on delivering bespoke manufacturing system solutions for our customers.’

www.the-mtc.org/

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager - Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice dot j dot scott at warwick dot ac dot uk

For further information please contact:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager - Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk