NAA recognise VEC collaborations for the 2019 Design & Innovation Award

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The VEC is thrilled to have been shortlisted for two NAA awards, for the support delivered to SMEs, Connect 4.0 and A2O.

The nominated projects:

Connect 4.0 Limited approached the VEC for advice and support on their plans for developing an integrated solution, which would link a smart interface with factory, modular and 3D printing facilities.

The VEC supported by demonstrating a virtual ‘factory in a box’ model, allowing Connect 4.0 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 understand real world application of AR and co-develop a working and user-friendly demonstration of an AR interface for mass customisation, which could be showcased to investors.

“Working with the VEC has been a straightforward process that has produced valuable, practical results to help steady our technology development course. The VEC have been a great help to us in understanding the capabilities and limits of virtual prototyping and connected factories.” Irma Gilbert- CEO

Since this support, Connect 4.0’s Co-Fabrico platform has entered the market and Connect 4.0 secured a €2.16 million contract with Robotica 4.0 Inovação Tecnologia in Angola.


For the full Connect 4.0 case study, please click here.


The VEC also supported A|2|O who were keen to create a factory simulation to test their innovative ideas before building physical layouts, including a production line within a factory.

The VEC used SIMIO software to design a factory simulation to help identify flaws within the current and planned layouts, as well as identify manufacturing timings and process bottlenecks, allowing for improvements to be made before implementation, saving time and money.

The VEC ensured all requirements (process times, equipment numbers and costs) were thoroughly considered in the simulation.

The simulation test data was presented to A|2|O in a final report, showcasing an initial factory setup and some fine-tuning via alternative layouts. In addition, the creation of a Virtual Reality (VR) video for use in presentations, stakeholder investor demonstrations and future bespoke layouts was provided.


For the full A|2|O case study, please click here.


For both projects, support was arranged through LCR 4.0, a part funded ERDF project which focused on enabling manufacturing SMEs within the Liverpool City Region – the opportunity to learn more about Industry 4.0 technologies and the benefits and impact the adoption of these technologies can provide.

The NAA Awards ceremony took place on Thursday 7th November 2019.