BOOST SPOTLIGHT | Productivity

Lancashire has a wide range of support services to help growing businesses improve their productivity.

In the latest part of our focus on productivity, we look at some of the Lancashire businesses that have benefitted from programmes available through Boost.

T&R Precision develops a digital strategy with support from Made Smarter North West

T&R Precision has discovered a way to reduce the hours for its manufacturing process.

The high-end precision engineering company operates in the aerospace sector and is based in Foulridge, Lancashire.

Tim Maddison, managing director, said: “As a subcontractor, we are used by our customers to find a cost-effective solution where capacity is a major concern on these programmes. This is because the current manufacturing process takes a long time and can be problematic.

“If we do it the same way, we will run out of capacity and skilled labour. We needed to have a competitive solution in the long term.

“When I sat down and told the team we needed to find a way of doing it all within one machining cell it raised a few eyebrows. But when we broke down the problem, we realised that the technology existed, all that was missing was the application.”

The Made Smarter North West pilot gave T&R the confidence to invest and prove the concept worked. By deploying Industrial Digital Technologies such as IoT, automation, systems integration, data acquisition, data analytics and cloud, T&R has found a way of reducing its manufacturing process from 90 hours to 18.

Read how the pilot process worked for T&R

The Printed Cup Company improves production with the help of DigiMe2

The Printed Cup Company produces millions of cups per year using a variety of printing and forming machines. However, it was a chance meeting at a networking event which led to a fruitful partnership with DigitME2.

During a discussion with colleagues about the benefits of the Raspberry Pi computing chip, Mark expressed a desire to link them to his paper cup forming machinery in order to better understand their inner workings and become more effective.

With help from the DigitME2 team, a manufacturing business support programme based at UCLan’s Burnley Campus, a technological assessment followed and bespoke monitoring chips were installed to assess the performance of the machines, from vibrations which can tell the operator if elements are starting to fail, through to assessing which machines are the most and least productive.

Managing director Mark Woodward, said: “DigitME2 has allowed us to think about our business in a different way, as a result of the students asking particular questions about the running of it, which in a way has had a greater value than any monetary value that we could generate.”

The final solution has helped to address some specific needs which will prepare the company so that it can continue its growth and efficiency, while all staff members have been given the tools to become more empowered at work.

Learn more about its new technology

Mirage Automotive Developments is in the driving seat with Rosebud funding

Fylde-based Mirage Automotive Developments produces hand-made classic sports cars, but due to demand, the team was struggling to manage cash flow and ordering parts.

Managing director Matthew Potts said: “As orders for more vehicles were being taken, it was obvious there would be some early cash flow problems due to the nature of the supply chain and suppliers’ terms.

Some form of cash flow relief was needed, and various options were available. The firm opted for a £25,000 loan from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Micro fund which has certainly helped the business with cash flow.

It’s also given Mirage the flexibility to renegotiate terms and contracts with some of its bigger suppliers to alleviate future cash flow restrictions.

Matthew added: “As a result, we have been able to get the early vehicles manufactured on time, which has allowed us to accelerate our left-hand drive (LHD) product variant. Because of this, we have been able to bring the launch of our LHD GT forward and take orders for LHD vehicles as we start to grow the business.”

Mirage Automotive Developments is now in pole position to drive global sales.

Read the driving force behind its growth

If you’re an eligible Lancashire business and need support to improve productivity or grow your business, please talk to Boost. Call 0800 488 0057 or contact us online.

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