On the eve of the inaugral Industry 4.0 Academia Summit, we speak with Dr Carl Diver, Lecturer – Innovative Manufacturing, & Co-Chair of the first Academia Summit.

University Challenge: interview with Dr Carl Driver

Running alongside Industry 4.0 Summit is a two-day Industry 4.0 Academia Summit in association with University of Manchester. Dr Driver tells us more:

What is your aim with the academic conference?

“Our main aim is to bring academia and industry closer together. The fact that we can host the two events under one roof is an ideal opportunity to stimulate debate on how they can work together effectively. There is a strong push to see closer collaboration and I hope that new projects will result from the combined events.”

What is your aim within industry 4.0 now and in the future?

“As a leading research University, we at the University of Manchester aim to ensure that our courses are preparing the graduates of the future, that our postgraduate research students are developing solutions that will have an impact in the future and that we are collaborating closely with industry and implementing industry 4 solutions to improve productivity and make the optimum use of resources in organisations.”

What are the key competences with UoM that you can offer industry?

“Due to the multidisciplinary nature of industry 4.0 and the fact that each solutions will be specific for each company that implements Industry 4.0 we are well placed to support industry in this respect. We have leading researchers in the areas of Manufacturing, Electrical Engineering, Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, Computer science covering big data analytics and machine learning, Mathematics, to name but a few. We also have a very effective business engagement team that supports industry in finding the right academics to support them.”

Northern Powerhouse and Manchester – what are the opportunities?

“As Manchester was the birth place often 1st revolution it is fitting that we should be at the centre of the 4th revolution which, combined with proposed government investment in the region, will enable companies to exploit the opportunities that industry 4.0 presents. Improved connectivity will also be highly beneficial in this regard. Recent reviews have also highlight the need to establish digital hubs in the North West to harness the innovative and industrial nature off the region.”

What is your vision and what are your expectations relating the 4th Industrial Revolution and Manchester and the North in general?

“Manchester is seeing a great deal of investment and we can see this from the infrastructure work that is taking place in the city and the wider region. Industry 4 will allow better collaboration between companies in the supply chain and will enable other to jointed supply chain that may not have been possible previously due to the advantages that IOT and dat sharing and real time information brings.”

What strategies do you see as key?

“It is very important that training and support and advice is put in place to enable SMEs to implement the aspects of Industry 4.0 that will make a real difference to their business and not just automating for the sake ion automating. It is important for educational instutitutions to ensure that we are providing the right kind of training and education to prepare our students for future careers in this sector. We invest in research in the field but also in out people.”

What role do events like the academic conference and Industry 4.0 Summit play in advancing the new technologies and interactions?

“I think it simply gives people the opportunity to step back from their day to day activities and to engage in discussions with individuals who they would not normally meet or to listen to talks and research presentations in topics that might also work for them in their own work.”

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