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The project’s objective is to support the creation of a resilient and sustainable manufacturing sector, that can deliver critical products in the face of major disruptions in a more localised and sustainable manner.

Overview of the Project

Responding to sector needs and opportunity by defining a new type of manufacturing factories that can continuously adapt and be closely connected in a highly responsive manufacturing environment.


Made Smarter Innovation Centre for Connected Factories project proposes a radical new approach to building the manufacturing infrastructure of the future based on autonomous morphing factories, which will challenge traditional manufacturing systems science.


This will allow future manufacturing operations to be delivered by ubiquitous production units that can be easily repurposed, relocated and redeployed in response to changing product requirements and volume demand.

Example Use Cases

Example Use Cases

Enhanced Low-Cost Automation Technologies (ELCAT) sets out to enable flexible manufacturing systems without the need for expensive "black box" integration. The project comprises of two parts, one virtual and one physical. In the physical space a rapid, automatically reconfigurable tooling system was conceived in-house to meet aerospace assembly requirements This solution is lower cost than existing assembly fixtures and enables the use of automated processes. In the virtual space, a common framework architecture has been developed to enable virtual commissioning and control of automated processes.  



The ASTRAL project delivered the novel wing structures for the RACER. the Airbus Helicopters' future fast rotorcraft flying demonstrator. Hamble Aerostructures and the University of Nottingham collaborated to design and manufacture the wings, utilising state-of-the-art technologies to reduce aircraft weight and improve performance, resulting in a significant reduction in fuel burn and emissions. The project specifically focused on new digital design and simulation techniques, combined with highly efficient, quality-driven, cost-effective manufacturing solutions that were rigorously tested and validated to deliver the underlining technologies for a world-leading future rotorcraft wing. 



Novel airframe assembly philosophies aim to reduce development and manufacturing lead times, increase productivity, and enable an agile response to product variation or changes in demand. 

Through this project, the optimisation of facility architecture for variable rate assembly will be developed and demonstrated. The utilisation of large-volume, non-contact metrology will support the assembly of adaptively machined structural components. 


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