University gives local industries the edge

24 September 2019

Earlier this month Canterbury Christ Church University’s Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub brought together over 30 regional engineering and technology companies at an exciting and successful business to business breakfast.

The breakfast, in Christ Church’s new state-of-the-art creative industries building, considered the future of engineering and technology in the South East in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, referred to as Industry 4.0. 

Speakers from across industry shared their expertise on embedding new technologies into business in an age of digital transformation, including the use of smart technology and digitalisation and the significant opportunities afforded by intelligent, collaborative and integrated use of data. Discussions also centred around the huge potential for regional growth that can be realised through smart manufacturing and supply chains.

Scott Pepper, Sector Head, Process Instrumentation and Control at GAMBICA, provided an overview of what Industry 4.0 means for engineering businesses, particularly SMEs, and some of the initiatives available to support businesses’ digital transformation.

Graham Cleland, Director at Berkeley Modular, spoke about digitally enabled agile manufacturing, the journey from a traditional construction company to an agile manufacturing company and the company’s holistic approach to Industry 4.0. Mark Knowlton, Manufacturing Specialist for Locate in Kent, shared his experience of working with local businesses on fully automated smart production – using digital technologies to connect machines, systems and people to improve efficiency. 

Speaking after the breakfast, Mark said: “Kent manufacturers are always looking at ways to improve productivity and ways to enhance their processes. Today’s business breakfast, hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University, has helped to demystify the jargon behind Industry 4.0. Showing businesses that digital manufacturing is the practical answer; providing skills and expertise to their workforce, so that we have engineers and technicians that can support manufacturing and deliver solutions.

“At Locate in Kent we want to attract new businesses and manufacturers to Kent and assure them that there is capacity for companies to grow the skills of their employees to meet industry needs. We believe the EDGE Hub is a key resource for manufacturers and businesses in Kent, offering the expertise, knowledge and skills to train future workforces, as well the opportunity to work together on projects that support manufacturing developments in the region.”

Alongside a programme of industry-relevant undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and degree apprenticeships, the EDGE Hub team is harnessing their industry knowledge and expertise to develop Industry 4.0 Continuing Professional Development, supporting regional engineering firms and their future growth. 

Professor Helen James, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education, Enhancement and Student Experience), concluded the business event with an overview of the EDGE Hub and its dynamic and innovative response to the regional engineering and technology skills gap , through extensive collaboration with businesses to provide a sustainable pipeline of highly-skilled, industry-ready graduates for regional economic success. 

Professor Helen James said: “We are in the midst of a significant transformation regarding how we design, produce and deliver products and solutions. This is due to the digitalisation of manufacturing and is evidenced through the advent of Industry 4.0. and the coming of Industry 5.0. By working in partnership with regional businesses, our new EDGE Hub facility, and training and education programmes, will support this dynamic change within industry and produce the much needed creative, skilled talent that South East businesses require to capture the opportunities for growth.”

The business to business breakfast was the first of what is planned to be regular EDGE Hub related business engagement events going forward.  

You can find more details about the EDGE Hub and how it is shaping the future of engineering in the South East on the website.

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Last edited: 04/10/2019 11:16:00