What Is Smart Manufacturing?

Interested in learning more about smart manufacturing? Course leader Waldo Cervantes shares an insight into smart manufacturing technologies, exciting career opportunities and what studying Smart Manufacturing at BCU is like.

Postgraduate Computing

Smart manufacturing is the convergence of operational technologies and information technologies, to support the operations of the factory of the future. It allows factory managers to automatically collect and analyse data to make better-informed decisions and optimise production. 

Smart manufacturing can dramatically improve manufacturing outcomes, helping to reduce waste and improve the quality of goods produced.

Technology advances in computing and electronics have enabled the possibility of decision making, communication and sensing capabilities via digital chips. As computing power becomes more accessible, tools and techniques such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to allow for a wider visibility on physical processes. This is done by embedding electronics onto them, creating smart and intelligent systems that can monitor and optimise operational technologies for better decision making.

We now have access to devices that can monitor our personal health in real time, such as smart watches, but also in much the same way, these technologies can monitor the status of machines in a production line, allowing for the accurate and timely detection of any faults and the optimisation of the manufacturing processes they are part of.

Smart manufacturing, also referred to as 'Industry 4.0', refers to the integration of these intelligent, always-on and always-connected, and data-rich computing systems to the physical elements that drive the manufacturing processes and its supporting industries.

Working in the smart manufacturing industry

Whilst smart manufacturing incorporates the use of robots, there is a requirement for highly-skilled workers to manage and operate robotic solutions. This includes people who can build software, with an ability to maintain and adapt new hardware equipment. As more and more manufacturers embrace high-tech solutions in their workplace, employee knowledge of analytics and data science is of growing importance.

Working in smart manufacturing could see you undertaking roles in configuring, maintaining, operating and repairing smart machines, whilst developing a deep understanding of digital diagnostics.

Smart manufacturing at BCU

The MSc Smart Manufacturing course at BCU focuses on providing students with a solid understanding and practice of the underlying digital technologies that power smart manufacturing. The course is modelled to allow practitioners and manufacturing professionals to apply these concepts into their current or future manufacturing spaces.

We focus on teaching the design and development of smart solutions that leverages computer power to help the enterprise to solve problems. By being able to detect and collect data across the manufacturing value chain, and by applying data analysis and machine learning techniques, organisations can even learn about new challenges in their processes and adequately take pre-emptive action.

The course allows for flexibility in the application of smart systems in related industries such as logistics, utilities, smart cities and even healthcare. We focus on ‘learning by doing’. We provide the practical spaces, labs and equipment to allow our students to have a hands-on and rewarding learning journey that will provide the required knowledge highly-demanded by the computing industries.

Smart Manufacturing

Find out more about the MSc Smart Manufacturing course here