Articles

3D printing

3D printing: The shape of things to come?

Dr Simon Ford, from IfM's Centre for Technology Management, explains why we need to take a clear-eyed view of this much hyped technology if it is to realise its potential.

Additive manufacturing: understanding the bigger picture

Governments around the world have high hopes for Additive Manufacturing (AM) also widely referred to as 3D printing. But if it is to have the economic impact they are looking for, there needs to be a better understanding of both the huge opportunities AM presents as well as the barriers that may prevent it realising its potential.

Advanced manufacturing

A new way to make microstructured surfaces

Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties.

Advanced materials: one of the UK's eight great technologies for future growth

Today, we commence a month-long focus on research on advanced materials. To begin, materials scientist Professor Mark Blamire and engineer Professor Bill O'Neill discuss how research in Cambridge is helping to advance the material world.

Small but mighty: the manufacturing challenges of nanotechnology

Head of NanoManufacturing at the IfM, Dr Michael de Volder explains why manufacturing carbon nanotubes is so difficult and so important.

Small is beautiful: Why ultra precision manufacturing is such a big deal

Are you happy with your smartphone? Bill O'Neill, Professor of Laser Engineering and Director of the IfM's Centre for Industrial Photonics isn't.

Increasing manufacturing capability and productivity

Professor Bill O’Neill, Head of the Centre for Industrial Photonics, discusses the current role that precision industrial lasers and other technologies are playing in increasing capability and productivity in manufacturing.

50 years of tribology

From wind farms to data storage, from deodorants to floor tiles, tribology is involved in many aspects of modern life yet most people have never heard of the word, let alone know what it means.

Advanced manufacturing - From research to real products

Dr Ronan Daly, from the IfM?s Inkjet Research Centre and founder of the new Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing Group, explains why taking a cross-disciplinary approach to advanced manufacturing research has the potential to deliver solutions to some of the world?s most pressing problems.

Leonardo da Vinci: the first systematic study of friction

Friction is immensely important to us ? without it, for example, we could not walk or even crawl yet it is only 50 years since a special word tribology was first coined to describe its study. Professor Ian Hutchings who leads the Inkjet Research Centre at the IfM has recently had a paper published on Leonardo da Vinci and his studies of Friction.

Liquid assets: fluids in advanced manufacturing

Understanding fluids and their behaviour is key to developing new manufacturing processes and a wide range of applications.

Automation

Factories of the future and implications for automation

Where will we make things in the future and how will the concept of a factory evolve? IfM's Professor Duncan McFarlane says that how we answer these questions is changing and is affecting our priorities for automation.

Big Data and the new analytics

The six burning questions for firms looking to make money from big data

Big data has been touted as the 'new oil for business', representing incredible potential financial rewards. How should they go about using it, asks Professor Andy Neely.

Is big data still big news?

The internet, social media, cloud computing and mobile devices have created previously unimaginable quantities of data. People talk about 'data being the new oil', a natural resource that companies need to exploit and refine. But is this really true or are we in the realm of hype?

The future of flying

Aircraft that work together to solve complicated mathematical problems and airports with more flexibly used runways could be the future of flying, according to studies by University of Cambridge engineers and their industrial and academic partners.

Why SMEs need to board the Big Data train

Failing to jump aboard the Big Data train will leave businesses in the dust of newer, smarter start-ups, says Andy Neely in a blog article in The Telegraph.

Why you need Big Data to measure customer loyalty

Dr Mohamed Zaki discusses the pitfalls of relying on simplistic numerical values to measure customer loyalty.

Big and clever: a system-wide approach to data analytics

The Distributed Information and Automation Laboratory (DIAL) at the IfM are working with companies such as Boeing, Exxon, Electrolux and Laing O'Rourke to develop smart ways of using data to improve performance and increase resilience.

Business model innovation

 

New business models for a sustainable future

Dr Doroteya Vladimirova from the Centre for Industrial Sustainability contends that manufacturers need to start doing business differently if they are to create value for themselves and for society as a whole ? even if that means working with some of their competitors.

The Cambridge Value Mapping Tool

The Cambridge Value Mapping Tool has been developed and refined over the last five years. It uses a structured and visual approach to identify 'value uncaptured' in the form of failed value exchanges: value missed, destroyed, surplus, and absence.

The innovation game

Dr Chander Velu, head of the IfM's Business Model Innovation research programme, explains why the time has come to put business model innovation under the microscope.

Business model innovation to solve productivity paradox

New digital technologies are supposed to bring us unprecedented efficiencies and new opportunities for value creation. So why has the productivity of major economies been slowing down over the past 10 years?

Business strategy & performance

Helping SMEs develop strategy and build capability

Small firms with big ideas are a critical component in driving the nation towards a knowledge economy – but SMEs are often left out of the innovation system. Dr Nicky Athanassopoulou discusses how universities can work with small businesses to boost innovation.

Business tools

A framework and methodology for developing business improvement tools

Dr Imoh Ilevbare, Product Manager for IfM Education and Consultancy Services, describes the IfM's approach to developing business tools and processes from cutting-edge research.

Management tools and toolkits: the good, the bad and the ugly

Dr Clive Kerr and Dr Rob Phaal from the IfM?s Centre for Technology Management (CTM) are looking at better ways to design and use management tools and toolkits.

Design for transformation

Why did they design it like that?

James Moultrie looks for universal appeal when beauty in is the eye of the beholder.

Developing people

Developing technology experts as leaders

Find out how IfM’s Executive & Professional Development (EPD) team, in partnership with Atos and Paderborn University, has developed an award-winning programme to develop technology experts as business leaders.

Digital manufacturing

The digitalisation of manufacturing economies

New digital technologies are radically changing the ways firms manufacture products, the business models they adopt, and even how they innovate. At a national level, digital technologies promise to reshape national manufacturing systems and redefine sources of competitive advantage.

Manufacturing leadership in the age of digital disruption

Professor Andy Neely, Head of the IfM and the Cambridge Service Alliance, on how industry leaders should focus on five key areas if they want to survive the journey to a digital future.

The Origin of the Internet of Things

Most of you have probably heard the Internet of Things, or the IoT, mentioned but have you ever wondered what it means and where it all began?

Getting smart with digital

The speed at which technologies are now evolving and computational power is increasing means that digital manufacturing is now coming of age and with it widespread innovation and disruption.

How bright is your digital future: digitalising the extended supply chain

Dr Jag Srai, Head of the IfM's Centre for International Manufacturing (CIM), and his team have developed a new way to help companies embrace the challenges and opportunities of digitalising the extended supply chain.

Digital manufacturing on a shoestring

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

Ecosystem mapping

Making connections

Dr Florian Urmetzer explains how Transport for London has used ecosystem mapping to identify relationships and value exchanges for better results in planning a large infrastructure project.

Education

From smoothies to Star Wars

Georgina (George) Rose graduated with an MEng in Manufacturing Engineering in 2010.

Getting creative in the kitchen

In 2003 Richard Joseph set up Joseph Joseph, the innovative kitchenware company, with his twin brother Anthony. It now has a turnover of ?40 million, sells its products in 104 countries and has 80 employees.

The alumni interviews: MET over lunch

Jonathan Duck took the Production Engineering Tripos (PET) 1981-1983, when it was only in its third year. It was renamed the Manufacturing Engineering Tripos (MET) soon after.

The alumni interviews: Susan Long & Abi Bush

Two MET graduates, Susan Long and Abi Bush, are changing the face of humanitarian aid using innovative manufacturing engineering solutions to help people around the world that are affected by disaster or war through their work with non-profit organisation Field Ready.

Manufacturing industry-ready graduates

Two key aspects of developing industry readiness are preparing graduates to solve real, rather than academic problems, and giving them experience of a range of industrial working environments.

Describing skills: The art of the specific

To acquire and develop a skill, we first need to unpick and describe what it involves more closely. But describing a skill is more challenging that we might expect. Dr Judith Shawcross from the IfM explains some insights from her research into this.

Student insights: Can haptic gloves make it easier to learn a skill?

Graduate student Ben Proyer has been part of an IfM research team testing the effectiveness of wearable technologies for industrial skills development. He shares his perspective on the project.

Global supply chains

Twenty-first century supply chains: Transforming the pharmaceutical industry

The Centre for International Manufacturing (CIM) is leading the research programme in REMEDIES, a £23m sector-wide initiative to understand how pharmaceutical supply chains in the UK are set to change.

Keeping the supply chain flowing

In this age of rapid and escalating change, what can businesses do to flourish? Take a look at their supply chains, say researchers in the Centre for International Manufacturing, part of the IfM, based on their research in the UK and India.

Redefining 21st Century Supply Chains

The globalization of manufacturing has radically transformed how supply chains are built. As a result, tomorrow's supply networks will need to be more strategic, resilient, sustainable, and customer-focused.

Take your medicine: the future of pharmaceutical supply chains

Revolutionising pharmaceutical supply chains - from how a pill is made to the moment it is swallowed by the patient.

Connecting the unconnected: New thinking on next generation supply chains

As the annual Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium marks its twentieth year Dr Tomas Harrington, Dr Jag Srai and Paul Christodoulou from the IfM?s Centre for International Manufacturing (CIM) reflect on the new supply chain thinking that is emerging from companies such as Cisco, Coca-Cola, Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Matthey, Cambridge University Press and Schneider Electric.

The new globalisation and rethinking our supply chains

With the advent of new technologies, a changing geopolitical context and ever more pressing concerns about sustainability, are we seeing the emergence of a new form of globalisation? Dr Jagjit Singh Srai examines the current state of globalisation in this article for The Manufacturer.

Collaboration as the best medicine

Dr Jag Srai explains how ReMediES, a 23-million funded, 4-year project has forged a new model for cross-sector collaboration in UK medicines manufacturing. As the project concludes, he describes some of the innovations it has delivered.

Innovation and IP management

Patently not obvious

Frank Tietze knows more than most about IP and hopes to help Cambridge and the UK do a lot better in the global IP charts.

Intellectual property challenges for the digital economy

As manufacturers transition into digitally driven business models, there are significant implications for intellectual property (IP). Dr Frank Tietze considers five key challenges, and some strategies to address them.

Managing risk

The lost art of risk management

Dr Mukesh Kumar from the Centre for International Manufacturing suggests that multinational manufacturers are taking unnecessary risks with their industrial investments and he offers a solution.

Manufacturing a better world

Maintenance matters

Dr Maria Holgado from the IfM?s Centre for Industrial Sustainability (CIS) has been researching maintenance and particularly how it can make a vital contribution to a company?s long-term sustainability.

Disaster relief operations

Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and droughts: when a natural disaster strikes, relief organisations react by providing medical treatment, food, water and shelter. However, in these difficult and chaotic circumstances supply networks often prove to be insufficiently resilient.

Industrial sustainability: paradox or paradigm?

IfM's Centre for Industrial Sustainability is focused on increasing our understanding of how to transform industrial behaviour to develop more sustainable environments, economies and societies.

Manufacturing a better world

IfM research is helping to contribute to global industrial sustainability - economic, environmental and societal - by addressing global "Grand Challenges".

Untangling the spaghetti: nanomanufacturing for clean water and green batteries

The IfM?s NanoManufacturing group is developing nanotechnologies to supply clean water for developing nations and build better batteries for renewable energy.

Diagnosing deadly diseases: combining biotechnology and manufacturing

Engineers and scientists from Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing and Cambridge Analytical Biotechnology groups have joined forces to develop an on-the-spot low-cost tool for the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Thought for food: improving food safety through resilient supply chains

Dr Mukesh Kumar leads research in supply chain resilience at the IfM. He describes how his work is helping to tackle one of this century's most important challenges: food safety.

Manufacturing matters

50 years of manufacturing at Cambridge

2015 is an important year for the IfM. This October sees the 50th annual intake of students on its MPhil in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management.

Open Innovation

The importance of open innovation in the FMCG sector

In a sector characterised by the need to reduce time to market and find new ideas to generate new products, firms are constantly searching for ideas and innovations that will give them a competitive edge. Open innovation (OI) can facilitate this process.

The problem of plastic: Open Innovation Forum tackles sustainable packaging

How can major industry challenges be better addressed with astute approaches to innovation and design? Find out about a recent Forum challenge to rethink food packaging for improved sustainability.

Roadmapping

Seven ways to improve the impact of your roadmap

Dr Rob Phaal gives seven ways organisations can improve their approach to roadmapping, providing an excellent foundation for planning strategic technology and innovation activities.

Servitization

Making the shift to services

Professor Andy Neely, Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance and the Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Complex Services at the University of Cambridge, reflects on some of the key trends in servitization and the strategic choices facing today's manufacturers.

Shift to service is 'vital' for UK industry

New research led by Prefessor Andy Neely, Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance (CSA) argues that a shift to services is vital for UK industry.

Understanding the customer: new service-based business models

At the Cambridge Service Alliance we are exploring new service-based business models and, in particular, what the business to business (B2B) world needs to learn from consumer-focused companies.

10 myths about co-creation

Co-creation is a core capability for unleashing the immense resourcefulness of outsiders. Yet ten common co-creation myths prevent companies from seeing the potential to innovate better.

Do not fall prey to business ecosystem failure

The term innovate or die is now a mantra for business. But sometimes innovating without fully understanding your business ecosystem, or before your ecosystem is ready, can be a massive blunder. Dr Florian Urmetzer from the Cambridge Service Alliance explains why.

Strategic asset management

A social network of things - New approaches to asset management

Dr Ajith Parlikad, Head of the IfM's Asset Management Group, explains how effective asset management can deliver significant value both for manufacturers and for infrastructure owners and operators.

Expecting the Unexpected

The key to long-term management of infrastructure lies in futureproofing, say Duncan McFarlane and Tariq Masood.

What makes an intelligent infrastructure asset?

What would it take to enable a piece of infrastructure to take care of itself, asks Duncan McFarlane of the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure?

Sustainability

Predicting the unpredictable: the future of manufacturing

Dr Dai Morgan from the IfM's Centre for Industrial Sustainability (CIS) reflects on the UK government's recent Foresight report on the future of manufacturing.

New business models for a sustainable future

Dr Doroteya Vladimirova from the IfM's Centre for Industrial Sustainability contends that manufacturers need to start doing business differently if they are to create value for themselves and for society as a whole.

Technology and innovation policy

Given in evidence

QUESTION: How do we get better at taking the research knowledge from our science and engineering base and turning it into technologies, industries and economic wealth?

The next production revolution

As manufacturing becomes more complex, distributed and interdependent, policy makers around the world are looking for new ways to ensure national competitiveness for the so-called ‘next production revolution’.

Technology management

Technology Management Briefings - 2007-2009

IfM briefings and case studies provide a two-page summary of management, technology and policy issues.

Growth through effective innovation & technology

Innovation is key to growth but how do you manage it efficiently and how do you go about deciding what new product or process to invest in?

Technology intelligence services

With new technologies appearing more rapidly than ever before, Dr Letizia Mortara discusses how technology intelligence could help pick the ones that will deliver competitive advantage and spot the threats.

How Does Innovation Happen in Your Organisation?

How can organisations take a more strategic approach to managing innovation, and why could this be beneficial? John Saiz and Dr Clemens Chaskel share their insights.