The University welcomed business representatives from over 30 different companies and organisations to network, and listen to guest speakers share their insights surrounding the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies and concepts at the EDGE Hub Industry 4.0 Business Breakfast this morning.

Canterbury Christ Church University Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran opened the Business Breakfast, welcoming attendees and speaking about the University’s innovative and inspiring plans to drive economic growth in the region.

Guest speakers followed, by sharing their expertise on embedding Industry 4.0 into SMEs while reflecting on government policy and the efficiencies that can be realised through SMART manufacturing and supply chains.

Scott Pepper, Sector Head, Process Instrumentation and Control, GAMBICA, provided an overview of what Industry 4.0 means, including the nine components of Industry 4.0. He went on to discuss the commercial benefits of Industry 4.0 adoption, some of the industrial strategies and opportunities available to support businesses in adopting Industry 4.0, and the need for a strategic approach, with reference to the key steps required to achieve a data-driven manufacturing plant.

Mark Knowlton, Manufacturing Specialist, Locate in Kent, followed on to share his observations of where SMEs in the South East can make steps towards having a fully automated SMART factory. Connecting machines, systems and people using digital technologies with the aim of improving efficiency is at the heart of Industry 4.0. The basic building blocks of Industry 4.0 work together to create a fully connected network of machines with appropriate sensors, centralised in a hub that enables rich data analysis. This wealth of data can then be used to streamline the factory, and also give insight into the whole value chain.

Graham Cleland, Director at Berkeley Modular Ltd, was the third speaker, presenting on Digitally Enabled Agile Manufacturing.  He emphasised the importance of understanding workstreams and working with suppliers to create an efficient supply and manufacturing chain. Graham also noted the importance of developing a future workforce pipeline. He outlined plans with a number of educational providers, including Canterbury Christ Church University, to develop employees with the specific skills needed for build offsite.

All of the concepts discussed underpin what EDGE Hub is aiming to achieve by working with businesses to provide work-ready graduates, CPD opportunities and engineering degree apprenticeships to the region.

Reflecting on how far the EDGE Hub has progressed on its journey to opening in September 2020, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education, Enhancement and Student Experience), Professor Helen James closed the Business Breakfast by providing details on the aspirations that the University collectively is working towards through EDGE Hub and its commitment to working with and for regional employees, providing skills, talent and innovation for business.

More about the Engineering at CCCU

You can find more details about the EDGE Hub and how it is shaping the future of engineering in the South East by visiting www.canterbury.ac.uk/edgehub.