12 Jul 2024

Smart factory success

Beverston Engineering's smart factory

An innovative manufacturer of safety-critical components has announced it has boosted productivity by 20% after delivering a smart factory, backed by Made Smarter.

Beverston Engineering, based in Knowsley, invested £173,000 in sensor technology and software to connect all 20 machines across its factory to provide real-time visibility of its manufacturing.

As a result, the specialist component manufacturer for aerospace, oil and gas, and pharmaceutical industries, has increased productivity by 20%, increased profitability, won new business, and reduced carbon emissions by 10%.

Made Smarter, the North West adoption programme helping SME manufacturing invest in new technology and digital skills has also supported Beverston’s efforts to recruit and train the next generation of digital engineers to accelerate data-led decision-making.

Rod Wah, Managing Director of Beverston, believes his smart factory proves what can be achieved with targeted support.

“Made Smarter has had such a phenomenal impact on the business,” Wah said. “I’m recruiting the next generation of engineers, a new technology which enables unmanned machining, plans for £2m investment, and a healthy order book.”

Beverston Engineering, celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, works with clients in the aerospace, pharma, oil and gas and power sectors.

It began working with Made Smarter in 2019 to develop a digital adoption roadmap.

A first project in 2020 laid the foundations for the smart factory by enabling connectivity and upgrading IT infrastructure with a dedicated machine data server. The firm also installed sensors to monitor its machines and factory assets.

Beverston Engineering then created a ‘productivity control room’ – a bank of 18 big screens in the centre of the factory displaying real-time factory analytics, such as machine downtime events, availability, and performance metrics to the workforce.

A second project in 2022 created a platform which integrated all 20 machines and operators with its ERP and third-party systems, giving Beverston Engineering further real-time insight and analytics, enabling the business to react quickly to challenges and opportunities.

The investment came during a tricky time for the business, which had been heavily impacted by the economic shocks of the pandemic, supply chain challenges and energy crisis.

“The last three years were incredibly challenging, but we remained committed to our long-term vision for digital transformation,” Wah explained. “Our customers like Rolls Royce and Collins Aerospace have been blown away by what we’ve achieved. While our competition went backwards, we have progressed. Our commitment to the vision has helped us win more business and gives us a great opportunity.”

Made Smarter also supported Beverston Engineering to develop new talent. Oliver Miller, an Aerospace Engineering graduate who began working with the business via Made Smarter’s digital technology internship programme, is now an Industry 4.0 Project Manager responsible for digital transformation projects. He has also just completed the Made Smarter Leading Digital Transformation programme.

Earlier this year, Beverston Engineering was named among 19 recipients of the ‘gold’ Made Smarter Award for demonstrating excellence in manufacturing.

Commenting on the impact of Made Smarter, Donna Edwards, Director of Made Smarter’s North West Adoption programme, said: “It has been fantastic to have played a part in Beverston’s digital transformation.

“Rod and the team have been enthusiastic programme participants from the beginning. We have supported them to create a digital roadmap and backed them to invest in the right technologies at the right time. We have also supported Beverston Engineering to invest in its people, through the funding of Oliver’s digital internship, which secured him a job, and a step further with our Leading Digital Transformation programme.

“Our partnership has helped the business weather a turbulent period and come out of it stronger and more resilient.”

The Liverpool City Region has shown a great appetite for digital transformation through Made Smarter. Manufacturers have invested £4.3m in new technology forecast to create 385 jobs, upskill more than 375 roles and boost the city economy by £52m.

Launched in 2019, 2,500 manufacturers have engaged with the programme, with hundreds receiving support through grant funding, impartial technology advice, leadership, and skills training to help transform their businesses.

The programme has delivered 334 technology projects in the North West, which are forecast to create 1,550 jobs, upskill 2,772 existing roles, and increase North West GVA by £242M.

To read more about Beverston’s Made Smarter journey, visit: https://www.madesmarter.uk/resources/case-study-beverston-engineering-revisit/

Company info: Made Smarter