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Technology Startup’s Manufacturing Analytics Dubbed ‘Fitbit for Manufacturing’

A tech spin-out from the UK’s University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has secured grant funding to accelerate the development of what has been dubbed the ‘Fitbit for manufacturing.’

Early industrial adopters of FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics’ technology are reporting five-fold increases in productivity. The firm’s founders, CEO Chris Iveson and CTO Robin Hartley, are on a mission to make installing the output-boosting technology even simpler for manufacturers to deploy.

The two founders were research engineers at the AMRC, part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, when they came up with the idea of an affordable device that would harness production data to empower technically excellent manufacturers with world-class productivity levels, enabling them to thrive in the global marketplace.

“What we are looking at here is a potential game changer for manufacturing and the UK Business Productivity Programme grant is just the financial catalyst we need to make a swift transition from a rather labour-intensive installation to a quick-to-deploy device that will give production managers deep insights that enable huge gains in output and productivity,” Iveson said, on learning that FourJaw had secured funding just a few months after it was founded.

His business partner, and Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow, Hartley added: “In Yorkshire there is a saying that if it ain’t cutting metal, it ain’t making money. In the high-value manufacturing sector, which is key to the northern economy, the average utilisation of a machine is typically less than 30 per cent. Just a 10 per cent increase in productivity would be revolutionary; but our device delves deep into the brains of shop floor machines, decoding data to drive productivity gains well in excess of this.”

FourJaw have received the £4.7 million grant funding from the collaborative Business Productivity Programme, part of wider approach in in the region to create an eco-system that fosters industrial and economic innovation to boost productivity.

Welcoming the grant funding, AMRC CEO, Steve Foxley, said: “It’s great to see the region backing two very talented and enterprising engineers who have taken their experience at the AMRC to spin out a company that will help UK manufacturers – large and small – to capture and deploy the power of data and digitalisation to improve productivity.”

Raising productivity is about much more than dry statistics, graphs and GVA. It is about improving people’s lives and livelihoods; sustaining a resilient economy with good, high-value jobs; and raising aspiration and ambition and creating a long-term future for our young people.

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