Connect 4.0 Limited
Date: Spring 2018
Technologies: Augmented Reality and Systems Integration
Sector: Digital Supply Chains; Additive Manufacturing
Primary partner: The Virtual Engineering Centre
Connect 4.0 Limited is a start up business based in Liverpool City Centre. Founded in 2018, the company develop digital supply chain platforms, which connect factories with CNC (computer numerical control) and additive manufacturing capabilities directly to clients who are looking for manufacturing partners to produce products based on designs. Connect 4.0 breaks down barriers in the engineering supply chain, allowing those with production capacity to tender for the work, enabling clients to find the best possible manufacturing partner to suit their needs, budget and bring their product to market quicker.
LCR 4.0 Connect 4.0 Limited have recently acquired the Co- Fabrico brand and IP. Co-Fabrico have previously worked with the LCR 4.0 team after a referral by the Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support their development of an augmented reality interface for an integrated supply chain technology product.
Connect 4.0 Limited later approached the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) for advice and support with their plans for an integrated solution which would help easily link a smart interface with factory, modular and 3D printing facilities by becoming integrated with the Co-Fabrico software suite. This product would provide a new paradigm for the use of additive manufacturing within the automotive supply chain.
The VEC helped Connect 4.0 Limited to identify barriers to adoption, e.g. machine disruptions, and supported their exploration of how to allow CNC machines and additive manufacturing machinery to shift towards their customer’s needs by allowing customers to upload CAD models directly to a web portal for rapid quoting and production planning using CNC machinery and 3D printers.
The VEC supported by demonstrating a virtual ‘factory in a box’ model which allowed Connect 4.0 Limited to interact with their theoretical product, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their ideas and developing their concept quickly and easily whilst learning about the possibilities of using such technology.
The VEC helped Connect 4.0 Limited to better understand the real world application of AR and develop a working and user friendly demonstration of an AR interface for mass customisation tools which could be showcased to investors.
The VEC also assisted Connect 4.0 Limited to explore how to integrate hardware and software in a way which would increase the value within their offering to current and future clients.
“Working with the VEC has been a straightforward process that has produced valuable, practical results to help steady our technology development course. The VEC helped us validate our AR supply chain technology and has subsequently been a great help to us in understanding the capabilities and limits of virtual prototyping and connected factories.” Irma Gilbert- CEO
Working to the Future
The success of this project, helped Connect 4.0 Limited to better understand the architectural and technical challenges of connected factories to a distributed virtual manufacturing market place, as they investigated the further potential of their product.
Since this support, Connect 4.0’s Co-Fabrico platform has entered the market and Connect 4.0 have already secured a €2.16 million contract with Robotica 4.0 inovação tecnologia in Angola, to supply the Co-Fabrico platform alongside German partner, Cassa Mobile’s modular additive manufacturing plant.
The insight the VEC supplied through the LCR 4.0 project, paired with the calibre of graduates from the School of Engineering at the University of Liverpool, solidified the companied decision that Connect 4.0 Limited want to place their headquarters within Liverpool where they look to develop their growing team.