Beverston Engineering takes a digital lead with Made Smarter

Posted on 1 November, 2023 by Advance 

Knowsley based aerospace manufacturer Beverston Engineering, supported by the North West adoption programme Made Smarter, has invested in technology and skills to boost productivity by 20% and digitally transform its smart factory.

Image courtesy Beverston Engineering / Made Smarter

Beverston invested £173,000 in sensor technology and software to connect all 20 machines across its factory to provide real-time visibility of its manufacturing.

As a result, the specialist manufacturer of safety-critical components, has increased productivity by 20%, increased profitability, won new business and reduced carbon emissions by 10%.

Made Smarter, the North West adoption programme helping SME manufacturing invest in new technology and digital skills has also supported Beverston’s efforts to recruit and train the next generation of digital engineers to accelerate data-led decisionmaking.

Rod Wah, Managing Director of Beverston, believes his smart factory proves what can be achieved with targeted support: “Made Smarter has had such a phenomenal impact on the business. I’m recruiting the next generation of engineers, a new technology which enables unmanned machining, plans for £2 million investment and a healthy order book.”

Beverston Engineering, celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, works with clients in the aerospace, pharma, oil and gas and power sectors.

It began working with Made Smarter in 2019 to develop a digital adoption roadmap.

A first project in 2020 laid the foundations for the smart factory by enabling connectivity and upgrading IT infrastructure with a dedicated machine data server. The firm also installed sensors to monitor its machines and factory assets.

Beverston then created a ‘productivity control room’ - a bank of 18 big screens in the centre of the factory displaying real-time factory analytics, such as machine downtime events, availability and performance metrics to the workforce.

A second project in 2022 created a platform which integrated all 20 machines and operators with its ERP and third-party systems, giving Beverston further real-time insight and analytics, enabling the business to react quickly to challenges and opportunities.

The investment came during a tricky time for the business, which had been heavily impacted by the economic shocks of the pandemic, supply chain challenges and energy crisis.

“The last three years were incredibly challenging but we remained committed to our long-term vision for digital transformation,” Rod explained. “Our customers like Rolls Royce and Collins Aerospace have been blown away by what we’ve achieved. While our competition went backwards, we have progressed. Our commitment to the vision has helped us win more business and gives us a great opportunity.”

Made Smarter also supported Beverston Engineering to develop new talent. Oliver Miller, an aerospace engineering graduate who began working with the business via Made Smarter’s digital technology internship programme, is now an Industry 4.0 Project Manager responsible for digital transformation projects. He has also just completed the Made Smarter Leading Digital Transformation programme.

Earlier this year, Beverston Engineering was named among 19 recipients of the 'gold' Made Smarter Award for demonstrating excellence in manufacturing.

Commenting on the impact of Made Smarter, Donna Edwards, Director of Made Smarter’s North West Adoption programme, said: “It has been fantastic to have played a part in Beverston's digital transformation.

"Rod and the team have been enthusiastic programme participants from the beginning. We have supported them to create a digital roadmap and backed them to invest in the right technologies at the right time. We have also supported Beverston Engineering to invest in its people, through the funding of Oliver’s digital internship, which secured him a job and a step further with our Leading Digital Transformation programme.

"Our partnership has helped the business weather a turbulent period and come out of it stronger and more resilient.”

The Liverpool City Region has shown a great appetite for digital transformation through Made Smarter. Manufacturers have invested £4.3 million in new technology forecast to create 385 jobs, upskill more than 375 roles and boost the city economy by £52 million.

Launched in 2019, 2,500 manufacturers have engaged with the programme, with hundreds receiving support through grant funding, impartial technology advice, leadership and skills training to help transform their businesses.

The programme has delivered 334 technology projects in the North West, which are forecast to create 1,550 jobs, upskill 2,772 existing roles and increase North West GVA by £242 million.