Knowledge Transfer Partnership to drive Metal Assemblies’ success

Metal Assemblies produces press metal parts, machined components & welded assemblies for the automotive supply chain with over 60 years experience in the sector. Its customers are 1st tier suppliers to OEMs. They are collaborating with Aston University on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to access support from an academic at Aston Business School to improve the gathering and use of data. The KTP will result in machines ‘talking’ to each other to instantly create smart production schedules. The project will speed up what was a manual process leading to greater efficiencies and higher profit margins.

The KTP, set to start on the 1 January 2021, will cost an initial £200,000 over two years, with two-thirds covered by Innovate UK and the rest funded by Metal Assemblies.

Ian Collis, managing director at Metal Assemblies, founded nearly 70 years ago, said
“We are a traditional manufacturing business that is now equipped with modern robots and data systems. What none of those things do very well is talk to each other, so we still rely an awful lot on manual data mining. Somebody literally has to go through things and work out patterns and trends, and that is very labour intensive. And it means the business is slow to react sometimes or it goes off in the wrong direction because we don’t interpret the data properly. We would like Aston’s assistance on introducing “fourth generation industry” to the business to create an environment where the machines talk to each other and let us know what is going on without an awful lot of human intervention. It will be hardware solutions and software solutions, but also the systems that we use and the training of the staff until they understand how the systems work, so it really is a business-wide change, a step change.”

  • KTP project
    To implement digitalisation of key operational and production control processes by adopting an Industry 4.0 approach that will expand management, technical and training capabilities to drive productivity improvements and increase business growth in the competitive automotive sector.
  • Academic Expertise in Aston Business School
    Application of systems thinking, gamification and software development to identify and plan areas of improvement and the adoption of new technologies to deliver productivity improvements.

    How digitalisation and the emerging Industry 4.0 approach can enhance the sustainability of Operations and Supply Chains.

    Application of simulation and “Anylogic” software to analyse the impact of digital technologies in the workplace.
    Business culture change.
  • Benefits of Partnership
    Creating a digital dashboard for real time data analysis of operational performance and efficiency.
    Accurate scheduling and prediction of jobs to optimise inventory management.
    Identifying trends and patterns in tooling/set-up to improve tooling design and optimise tool changeover times.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership