Yorkshire business innovators secure Government funding

Innovative projects from Leeds are among the winners of £13.7m in combined UKRI backing from its latest funding call under the Made Smarter Innovation challenge – the Sustainable Smart Factory competition.

The research and development competition sought to identify and support digital innovations to improve the sustainability of manufacturing processes, resulting in either reduced material or energy consumption.

Two Leeds-based projects successfully gained funding for their concepts.

Rakusen’s bakery is looking to modernise its production methods by introducing new digital equipment and technologies, AI and data assessments to help increase capacity, while also minimise its carbon footprint. The company has been awarded £610,000.

Meanwhile, a project run by Spinko Limited aims to tackle machine waste and inefficiencies in bed and wire spring manufacturing.

It will develop a smart network of digital decision tools to simulate and predict resource and energy use, with sensors and meters to assess production and improve its effectiveness. This business has secured £677,000.

Industry minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, said: “Creating and adopting the latest in digital technology solutions will be key to the continued success of our manufacturing sector.

“It is now critical that companies are using technology such as AI and virtual reality to maximise their potential by driving up their energy efficiency and productivity.

“The cutting-edge projects based in Leeds that have been awarded funding today are testament to the city’s wonderful business community.

“By harnessing digital technologies for baking and bed making, these projects are showing how businesses in sectors right across can use cutting edge tech to unlock growth and boost jobs.”

Chris Needham, innovation lead in the Made Smarter Innovation challenge, added: “Effective digital technologies can have a substantial impact on the manufacturing sector, bringing outdated, inefficient and unproductive products and processes up the standards needed for a net zero industry of the future.

“It’s clear from the wide range of applications we received just how far waste and energy issues extend across different industries.

“The successful applicants clearly demonstrated real innovation and showed just how the right use of data and technology can make a significant difference to businesses.”

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