How often does excellent research fall at the last hurdle trying to scale-up to manufacture? Or get delayed much to the frustration and sometimes loss of the academics and industrialists involved? What are the blocks to bringing an emerging technology to industrial realisation and how can they be overcome?
Dr Charles Featherston (email@example.com) of the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation is exploring just these issues within a project called “Pathways to Manufacturing” (http://tiny.cc/p2manu ). Some of the topic areas he and the team are addressing include production technologies; system integration; supply chains; resource efficiency and sustainability; compatibility with evolving standards and regulations; etc.
The project will develop a ‘manufacturability risk framework’ to help researchers consider a wide range of risk factors, helping them to reflect on such considerations when approaching potential partners, developing research proposals to public funders and developing business cases for potential investors.
Working from the framework, researchers will be better able to anticipate the manufacturability challenges and so address them early in their research. It will also help researchers think about co-ordinating the necessary inputs from their network of collaborators, both academic and industrial.
The project is hosting a half-day workshop on the afternoon of Wednesday 15th April at the Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge to discuss the work and its significance. Speakers will include Mark Claydon-Smith (Lead, Manufacturing for the Future, EPSRC) and Dave Wright (Head of Manufacturing, Innovate, UK). They will discuss the significance of the issue and the research agenda from the perspectives of their organisations.
Andy Matthews, Director of the Nokia Research Centre and Chris Rider, Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics will then discuss their experiences of the issues of manufacturability and scale-up of emerging technologies.
A panel session will wrap up the afternoon, enabling the audience to contribute to the discussion and open debate around key issues. There will also be plenty of opportunities for networking and informal discussion.
If you are interested in finding ways to identify and manage the risks of scaling up research to get it manufactured and into industrial production then contact Ella Whellams (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a place at the workshop.
Hope to see you there
(Image acknowledgements: Heat treatment furnace, S Zillayali, Vacuum Forming Machine: Blue tooth7)