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Digital Catapult explores LPWAN and IoT for industry

A Connected Factory Demonstrator managed by the Digital Catapult is seeking input from LPWAN and internet of things specialists

Digital Catapult, alongside a group of UK manufacturing businesses, is trying to bring together tech startups with specialisms in low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) and the internet of things (IoT) to explore the potential of using innovative network technology to improve productivity, stream processes, improve yields and increase quality control.

The organisation has teamed up with County Durham-based Dyer Engineering Group, with makes metal components and structures, and Special Metals Wiggin, a Hereford-based supplier of nickel alloys to the aerospace, energy, marine, automotive and nuclear sectors, to start a Connected Factory Demonstrator.

“The impact of advanced digital technologies cannot be underestimated, and we’re looking forward to working with Dyer Engineering and Special Metals Wiggin to demonstrate the full potential of future networks technologies in a working manufacturing environment,” said Digital Catapult CEO Jeremy Silver.

“This project will show how, by utilising technology to help innovation flourish, businesses can expect to see numerous practical benefits, from improved processes to better quality control.”

The group is seeking to solve a number of challenges relating to process measurement, optimisation, control and indoor tracking, and to this end has launched a call for startups working with LPWAN and IoT technologies, which are invited to apply online.

“Adopting industrial digital technology is of paramount importance to safeguard UK manufacturing for generations to come,” said Richard Larder, Dyer Engineering operations manager. “We have benefited from the technological pioneers before us and now feel it is our time to pick up the mantle and take on the challenges and risks of significant change – and we are truly up for it.”

Special Metals Wiggin quality and technical director, Jonathan Silk, added: “We anticipate that by introducing state-of-the-art wireless technology we will make significant advancements in process control and asset tracking. This will enhance our position in a highly competitive worldwide market for the supply of nickel alloys.”

Dyer Engineering is already participating in a second Digital Catapult initiative, the North East Tees Valley Digital Manufacturing Programme, which is designed to help area manufacturers understand how advanced technologies can be used to future-proof businesses.

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