Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring launched in October 2018 with EPSRC funding to demonstrate that there is a low-cost, low-risk way to enable small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) to start digitalising quickly and easily using affordable off-the-shelf technologies. Following the successful completion of the EPSRC-funded first stage of the project in March 2022, the project is now transitioning into a community programme and is linked to a number of research projects, including Elastic Manufacturing systems, the Research Centre for Connected Factories and the Smart Manufacturing Data Hub. The project has also generated affiliated research projects including Digital Construction on a Shoestring, Digital Logistics on a Shoestring and Digital Healthcare on a Shoestring.
During the EPSRC-funded first stage the research team established the ‘Shoestring approach’ with significant contributions from the manufacturing community. The team talked to almost 400 companies, ran 24 workshops, built 22 demonstrators and helped deploy Shoestring’s low-cost digital solutions in industry via 20 pilots. The process enabled them to create tools to run requirements and specification workshops as well as create and test a framework to produce modular low-cost digital solutions. Publications from the project can be found here.
The Shoestring unit, set up in April 2022 within IfM’s knowledge consultancy, IfM Engage, works with research teams, regional business organisations, national organisations, HEIs, technology providers, technology solution providers and SMEs to establish a regional rollout of Shoestring across SMEs in the UK. International Shoestring programmes are also being set up. In this way Shoestring continues to pursue its vision to provide SMEs with a low-cost, low-risk step-by-step approach to deliver tangible company improvements using digital technologies.
Shoestring-led sessions will be held at a number of academic conferences (including IFAC 2022 in June, SOHOMA’22 in September) and a Shoestring conference is planned for 2023.
What will the programme involve?
Activities will include:
- Requirements gathering
- SME digital manufacturing assessments
- Options development
- Pilot studies
- Engagement and application workshops
- Demonstration sessions
- Low cost digital solution development
The Shoestring Team
Get in touch
If you would like to discuss the programme and how you could be involved, please email email@example.com