Industry 4.0

Theme Leads: Professor Phil Withers and Professor Paulo Bartolo

Scope of Theme

By bringing together manufacturing and the understanding of materials with novel mathematics and data analytics, we can ensure the quality of manufactured products as well as refine and reduce the cost of processes. These building blocks will allow us to rapidly develop and validate new manufacturing processes to meet the needs of future supply chains and Industry 4.0. The theme includes:

  • Materials characterisation, modelling and simulation 
  • Product lifecycle and digital twinning
  • Sensor networks and data analytics
  • Process modelling, simulation and control
  • Robotic, additive and on-demand manufacturing
  • Sustainable manufacturing
  • Supply chain modelling and optimisation

Manchester: birthplace of the first industrial revolution, leader of the fourth

The UK’s industrial strategy is being re-aligned in response to the Made Smarter Review which concluded that the benefit of adopting digital tools and technologies in the UK over the next decade could exceed £455 billion, leading to growth in manufacturing of up to 3% per annum resulting in the UK becoming a world leader in Industry 4.0 by 2030. Subsequently, a range of government sponsored activities to target industrial challenges in automation, AI and smart/digital manufacturing are being consolidated under the umbrella of the Made Smarter programme which has developed both national and regional dimensions, with the North West being the regional testing ground.

Sensing such opportunities, the University of Manchester will launch its vision on the 4th industrial revolution (Industry 4.0 @ Manchester), with Digital Futures being the ideal platform to bring together colleagues who are at the forefront of Industry 4.0 from its network of 800+ researchers who are involved in digitisation of technology and society.

Our strategy and vision will be articulated in a White Paper outlining how we will capitalise on the myriad of our capabilities, research groups, institutes and industrial partnerships to ensure Manchester leads the 4th industrial revolution. The White Paper will be launched in April during the Industry 4.0 Summit in Manchester, in tandem with the Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing – Industry 4.0 Academia Conference which we are organising as part of the summit.

Our Goal

We will consolidate the spectrum of UoM’s Industry 4.0 capabilities, zooming into and bringing together the aspects that align with global, national and regional industrial strategies.

Industry 4.0 @ Manchester

Complex social and technical transformation of the world; The use of digital tools and technologies, advanced materials, data and automation for sustainable and smart services, products and factories; merging the virtual and physical worlds.

Industry 4.0 Grand Challenges from The University of Manchester Perspective 

Below are the Grand Challenges as identified by UoM colleagues who associate with Industry 4.0 across our three faculties - Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), Faculty of Humanities (FoH) and Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH):

Industry 4.0 Grand Challenges

Industry 4.0 @ Manchester

The diagram below illustrates UoM’s Industry 4.0 capabilities map (work in progress), identifying the core Industry 4.0 competences and cross-competences between the three UoM Faculties. Whilst many of these capabilities are standalone themes and areas in their own right, we aim to bring together their components that are most relevant to UoM’s Industry 4.0 vision which will be focused around Human-Centric Design:

Industry 4.0 @ Manchester