New thinking about manufacturing

Food allergy incidents are rising. How can food manufacturing improve?

Technology, regulation and a culture of safety all have a role to play as part of a joined-up approach, says Lili Jia.

To remain competitive, aerospace companies need to get digital twins right

As the importance of digital twins grows, most companies still have work to do to fully capitalise on their use.

New low-cost solutions help manufacturers go digital

Cost-effective, off-the-shelf technologies are helping manufacturing SMEs to transform into highly efficient, digitally enabled businesses.

Solar batteries without the charger? We’re working on that

Michael De Volder tells us how a Friday afternoon experiment led to research on a new low-cost battery design that can be charged directly by light without a separate solar cell or power converter.

The future of human-robot interaction: A look at three scenarios

Interaction between robots and humans will become an important feature of the industrial workplace of the future. But what sort of impact will this have on society — and what will that mean for how the technology evolves? The IfM’s Cyber-Human Lab takes a look.

New inkjet printing method could accelerate drug discovery and printed personalised drug delivery

IfM researchers have demonstrated – for the first time – the digital inkjet printing and self-organisation of microdroplets on fluid surfaces to create structures of functional materials.

How 5G technology could unlock new opportunities at ports and across industry

Ajith Parlikad, head of the Asset Management research group at the IfM, tells Jason Naselli about his new research project piloting 5G applications at the port of Felixstowe, and how the potential benefits can boost the UK economy.

In COVID-19 vaccines and economic recovery, supply chains loom larger than ever

Jag Srai explores the biggest global supply chain challenges as we look toward vaccinating the world — and riding out the peaks and troughs of supply and demand as economies reopen.

ARIA and the value of challenge-led innovation

As the UK prepares to launch a new high-risk, high-reward research agency, Eoin O'Sullivan discusses what it can learn from the ARPA model in the US and globally, and why technology and innovation management is the key to success.

Green and beautiful: The benefits of embedding electronics in ceramic tiles

Printing electronics into ceramic building materials could offer a functional and aesthetic way to bring solar energy into structures, and encourage the adoption of environmental sensors in buildings.

The effects of COVID-19 on how universities contribute to innovation

This report – led by the new University Commercialisation and Innovation Policy Evidence Unit with support from the UK National Centre for Universities and Business – investigates the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability of universities to contribute to innovation through the crisis and into the economic recovery.

UK Innovation Report

The UK Innovation Report benchmarks the UK’s industrial and innovation performance in a global context. It brings together, for the first time in a single place, innovation and value-added indicators in a concise and accessible format.

Business model innovation is key to beating COVID-19 debt

New business models are essential to unlocking the economic growth potential of digital technologies, and offer a way out of rising debt-to-GDP ratios.

Getting the most out of your digital strategy

Nicky Athanassopoulou, Head of Solution Development at IfM Education and Consultancy Services, offers insights into how companies can make the most out of new and emerging technologies.

Confronting complexity: How systems engineering can be applied to healthcare, policy and industry

In this webinar, guest speaker Professor John Clarkson, explains how systems thinking from engineering can be applied to almost any complex challenge, and discuss specific outcomes from his work on the Royal Academy of Engineering project ‘Engineering Better Care’.

The power of repurposing: How smaller manufacturers helped the UK withstand COVID-19’s first wave

As COVID-19 battered Britain’s economy and threatened to overwhelm the NHS, many small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms regrouped, repurposed and provided the vital materials the country needed. How did they do it, and when a new crisis arises, could they do it again?

2020 has emphasised that industrial innovation is vital to Britain’s future

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the importance of manufacturing. In order to ‘emerge stronger’ from the crisis, the UK must now act more strategically and harness industrial innovation to serve ambitious agendas for the economy and the environment.

Mission critical supply chains: When recall isn’t the best option

When crisis hits and critical products are in short supply, the risk of recalls rises as corners are cut in production. But when these products are needed to save lives, recall isn’t the best option.

The Maker Movement vs COVID-19: How a DIY community responded to the pandemic

The availability of 3D printers, laser cutters and other digital fabrication tools has led to the rise of the Maker Movement, a growing community with a DIY approach to design and production. As the COVID-19 crisis hit the UK, these ‘makers’ sprang into action. Their response has revealed the potential for innovation among the general public — but also the limitations of an informal network and a lack of standardisation.

Learn from the survival of the fittest firms

Manufacturing firms have had a rocky 2020, yet some have not only survived but thrived, re-organising and experimenting with their operations during the pandemic. Jag Srai explains how businesses can learn from the 'survival of the fittest firms'.

Developing a ventilator sharing device for use in emergencies

In this webinar, experts from the IfM, Royal Papworth Hospital and Cambridge Design Partnership discuss how they developed a device that, if needed in an emergency, could be attached to a ventilator to enable two COVID-19 patients to receive tailored respiratory support.

Manufacturing a better world after COVID-19

Tim Minshall, Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation and Head of the Institute for Manufacturing, shares an overview of how teams of Cambridge engineers have helped the local, national and international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we can use the lessons learned to support a strong and sustainable recovery.

How manufacturing can emerge stronger: Policies to support industrial recovery and growth after COVID-19

This briefing note examines key policy instruments aimed at supporting the recovery and future growth of manufacturing industries in the wake of COVID-19.

How IfM students helped the NHS in Cambridge during COVID-19

Three teams of students from the MPhil in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management course at the Institute for Manufacturing worked with the NHS on issues including testing processes, oxygen supply mapping and patient flow modelling during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Test, Tag and Trace - A digital solution to get organisations back to work, safely

This webinar gives an overview of research demonstrating how organisations can use widely available, low-cost technology to provide greater protection to employees as they return to work.

Patient-flow modelling and resource demand prediction during COVID-19

This webinar provides insights based on the experience and modelling efforts of Addenbrookes Hospital, based in Cambridge (UK), to predict local hospital admissions, model patient flows through the hospital and estimate subsequent use of resources.

Manufacturing plays a vital role in creating a truly sustainable world by 2050

Seven years ago, Professor Steve Evans helped to write a major report for Whitehall on the future of British manufacturing and sustainability. In the wake of COVID-19, he looks back on the predictions and what the future looks like today for policy makers and executives.

Test, Tag and Trace: A digital solution for getting back to the office safely

As people across the UK gradually return to offices, a widely available, low-cost technology can help business protect their employees and ensure a COVID-safe workplace, write Dr Veronica Martinez and Dr Mahsa Honary.

Top tips to get your firm fighting fit post-COVID

Leading experts advise how businesses can best prepare for the months and years ahead, and any future disruption that may come.

Manufacturing sustainability: Back to the future

In this webinar Steve Evans revisits the 'Future of UK Manufacturing' predictions from 2013 and looks ahead to the big changes and challenges that are now shaping our industrial future.

COVID-19: Manufacturing at a turning point

At this IfM Briefing, leading experts from the Institute for Manufacturing draw lessons from the response of firms and governments to the COVID-19 pandemic, and look at how the manufacturing industry is likely to change and adapt in the months and years ahead.

Worker assistance systems: Understanding the human perspective

Worker assistance systems are becoming increasingly intelligent, interactive and supportive. But do they have a future on the shop floor? Mirco Möncks, Elisa Roth and Dr Thomas Bohné from the IfM's Cyber-Human Lab share insights from a recent study on stakeholders’ perspectives on assistive technology in manufacturing.

Make or buy: Supporting strategic decision-making

In this webinar, experts cover the IfM’s 'make-or-buy' approach which helps organsiations determine what activities to undertake or develop in-house, undertake with partners, outsource or deliver through acquisition.

Can policy simulations help developing economies after COVID-19?

In the wake of the economic jolt of the coronavirus, Nazia Habib explains how policy simulation labs can help developing economies chart a path to recovery.

COVID-19 and the global contraction in FDI

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive disruptions to flows of foreign direct investment. Jostein Hauge and Adnan Seric explain why developing countries are likely to be hit the hardest.

Supply chains and the power of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence offers huge potential for supply chains, but there are a lack of practical examples to demonstrate how data-driven approaches can be implemented effectively. Alexandra Brintrup explains how her research addresses this gap, and reveals valuable lessons for organisations.

UK supply chains: Learning the right lessons from COVID-19

Carlos López-Gómez addresses the myths surrounding the weakness of UK supply chains in the coronavirus crisis, and explains what must be done for UK supply chains to emerge stronger.

Steering your organisation through a time of uncertainty

In this webinar, experts from the IfM cover how organisations can use strategic tools including roadmapping and scenario planning to plan in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Virtual workshops: Top tips for remote collaboration

IfM in-house facilitators Dr Imoh Ilevbare and Dr Diana Khripko share their experience and insights on how they design online workshops that achieve the desired outcomes for our partners.

COVID-19 critical supplies: The manufacturing repurposing challenge

Amid the COVID-19 emergency, policy makers are calling for manufacturing firms to temporarily repurpose their production to make critical supplies such as masks, ventilators and test kits. Building on a recent study from the Policy Links Unit, this article reviews some of the challenges involved in repurposing and potential ways to mitigate them.

Connecting healthcare and manufacturing: The challenges of COVID-19

Tim Minshall, head of the IfM, looks at the many challenges of matching offers of support from the manufacturing community with the dynamic and uncertain needs of the healthcare system.

Structured decision making in uncertain times: An IfM approach

Kate Willsher, COO of IfM Education and Consultancy Services, presents a rapid method developed at the Institute for Manufacturing to assess the opportunity and feasibility of new business initiatives.

Could intellectual property concerns slow the response to COVID-19?

A new paper from IfM and University of Cambridge researchers explores how to avoid IP-related delays in the pandemic response.

Innovate Indonesia: Unlocking growth through technological transformation

This study, developed by the IfM's Policy Links Unit for Indonesia's Ministry of Finance and the Asian Development Bank, explores policy options to facilitate Indonesia’s technological transformation and unlock its economic growth potential.

What does lockdown mean for the future of our food supply?

Supply chain collaboration at local and international levels will be crucial in the months ahead, but ultimately COVID-19 will result in a rethinking of our reliance on global supply chains, in favour of more resilient and more local production.

Understanding risk in pharmaceutical supply chains

This executive briefing, an output from the ReMediES (Reconfiguring Medicines End-to-end Supply) project, covers key elements of supply chain risk specifically linked to the management of pharmaceuticals.

The future of the manufacturing workforce

This report shares insights from a recent roundtable discussion convened by the Babbage Forum exploring the future of the manufacturing workforce, with perspectives from OECD, UNIDO, UNCTAD and the World Economic Forum.

The power of AI for supply chain efficiency

Dr Alexandra Brintrup shares key learnings from recent practical examples demonstrating how AI and data analytics can be used in supply chains to reduce disruption and improve efficiency.

Helping SMEs towards digitalisation

Professor Duncan McFarlane provides an update on the progress of this high-profile project, developing low-cost digital solutions for SME manufacturers, with examples of some of the components developed so far.

Training the manufacturing leaders of the future

Student industry projects in host companies are a central component of the IfM's education programmes. Dr Judith Shawcross explains how and why these projects provide such strong skills development.

Digital manufacturing: opportunities and barriers

Dr Carlos López-Gómez and Dr David Leal-Ayala from the IfM’s Policy Links Unit discuss international evidence on the opportunities and barriers to capturing value from digital technologies in manufacturing.

Do you really know what you’re eating?

Supply chain transparency and traceability is becoming essential in the food sector, but how can companies create value from this necessity? Dr Mukesh Kumar and Rob Glew share a case study on a transformative initiative by AMT Fresh.

Ecosystem thinking for strategic planning [WEBINAR]

In this webinar Florian Urmetzer explores how looking to your business ecosystem can offer opportunities to draw in the resources and capabilities needed to meet the demands of end-customers.

Driving competitive advantage through transformative technologies

Dr Jag Srai and Dr Paul Christodoulou provide insights into the Digital Supply Chains Consortium's work, including developing decision criteria for incremental or radical transformations.

How sustainable are our online food shopping baskets?

E-commerce has completely changed the way we shop. But how sustainable is it? We interviewed Dr Jag Srai to find out more about the impact of online food shopping.

OK Computer?

This study aims to promote better knowledge of the safety and security risks and requirements deriving from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in order to design concrete implementation plans for industry stakeholders to adopt 4IR technologies confidently through pilot studies.

IP strategy: from innovative ideas to viable businesses

Intellectual property (IP) is a major asset for most companies, from entrepreneurial ventures through to multinationals. Dr Frank Tietze unpicks IP strategy development for start-ups and growing companies.

Digital manufacturing on a Shoestring

In this article, Professor Duncan McFarlane introduces a new research project into low-cost digital solutions for manufacturing SMEs.

New industrial capabilities for new economic growth

The objective of this report is to inform policy efforts, aimed at promoting industrial innovation and competitiveness, by providing insights into international policy practices and approaches. The report discusses key concepts and definitions relevant to understanding the role of domestic suppliers in modern industries, reviews programmes and initiatives in selected countries, and suggests policy implications for the UK.

Make-or-Buy: A practical guide to industrial sourcing decisions

Offers a structured process, reviewing all relevant factors, to help the choice between producing 'in-house' and using an outside supplier. (2001, Spiralbound, 68 pages)