Business support programme LCR 4.0 has helped 197 SMEs in the manufacturing space and created over 22 new high value jobs across Liverpool City Region, in just 2 years since launching in 2016.
LCR 4.0 – which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – enables manufacturers and SME’s to explore the opportunities and challenges of Industry 4.0 (4IR) technologies, such as big data, systems integration, Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR).
More than a quarter of companies supported through the programme have been startups, surpassing the target of 41 with a further 10 months to go until the project comes to an end.
Dr Andy Levers, technical director at the Virtual Engineering Centre and LCR 4.0 lead, said: “LCR 4.0 has helped a raft of start-ups across Liverpool City Region increase productivity, reduce costs, and pioneer first-of-its-kind innovations.”
For the second year running, systems integration has been identified as the most popular technology amongst manufacturers, with 26 per cent deploying it through LCR 4.0. Systems integration enables businesses to combine digital and physical assets to increase connectivity, ensuring that maximum value is achieved in the manufacturing process.
The project has seen 24 per cent of businesses combining 4IR technologies, such as AR and simulation equipment, to increase efficiencies and assess production challenges. A total of 13 new products have gone to market over the past two years, and an additional 36 new products have been introduced to firms.
LCR 4.0 provided fully-funded support to SMEs within Liverpool City Region, which includes Halton, Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, Knowsley and St Helens.
“It’s vital that traditional manufacturers across the city region are aware of industry 4.0 technologies, so they can reap these benefits and stay ahead one step ahead of their competitors. That’s where projects and initiatives such as LCR 4.0 comes in,” Andy Levers continued.
The LCR 4.0 programme was hailed an ‘exemplar project’ by last year’s Made Smarter report, helping to shape the Made Smarter Pilot. The £20 million initiative – designed to embed advanced digital technology across the North West’s manufacturing sector – was launched at Digital Manufacturing Week , which brought together 6,000 manufacturing executives to the Liverpool City Region.
Simon Reid, Head of Advanced Manufacturing at the Liverpool City Region Liverpool Enterprise Partnership, said: “The work that we’ve seen from the LCR 4.0 programme is extremely encouraging. It proves that there is more awareness, and integration, of emerging technology in the SME community.”
LCR 4.0 was delivered in partnership by the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), Liverpool John Moores University, Sensor City, STFC Hartree Centre and the Liverpool City Region LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership).
If you want to find out more about LCR 4.0 and other initiatives, get in touch via its website: http://lcr4.uk