Engineers hail Made Smarter impact during Minister for Industry visit


An engineering business has hailed the ‘tremendous’ impact of adopting new technology and digital skills during a visit from Minister for Industry Lee Rowley.

BEP Surface Technologies, based in Radcliffe, manufactures and refurbishes chill rolls using electroplating, precision grinding and surface finishing processes.

It has been engaged with the Made Smarter adoption programme in the North West for the last three years and has reaped the benefits of fully funded impartial expert technology advice, a digital transformation workshop, two match-funded technology projects and access to a digital intern.

Mr Rowley was accompanied on his visit by Andrew McClusky, Managing Director, Mark Prince, Commercial Director, Garry Aspinall, Operations Director, Hasan Mazhar, Made Smarter Digital Intern, and Steve Cleaver, Lead Digital Transformation Specialist at Made Smarter.

He was told about BEP’s use of virtual reality simulation software to redesign its factory to expand capacity and its investment in sensor technologies to capture data from its electroplating process to improve production efficiency and reduce waste.

Andrew McClusky said: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Rowley to showcase the tremendous impact Made Smarter has had on our business.

“What has been most remarkable is how easy the change has been to implement. Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshop took two-hours of our time to lay out our main challenges. Steve and the team then took on the bulk of the work to come back to us with solutions to those challenges.

“We have since created a digital replica of our factory to optimise the design, layout, and workflow of our production processes, and embarked on a data capture project which will enable us to benchmark our electroplating process and drive up efficiency and production capacity while reducing energy consumption and waste. The icing on the cake is Made Smarter has paired us up with a digital intern who has brought new skills into the business.”

Steve Cleaver, Lead Digital Transformation Specialist at Made Smarter, said: “BEP is one of 1,400 businesses from every corner of the region we have engaged with over the last three years, helping them introduce digital tools and technologies to help boost productivity and growth, navigate Covid-19, and tackle climate change. It’s been a pleasure to work with Andrew and his team and witness their digital growth.

“Our ambition is to continue to spread the word to SME manufacturers in every sector that they too can reap the rewards of intensive support, including expert technology advice and digital transformation workshops. We help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business through grant funding, as well as supporting them to embed vital skills in their organisations from the top floor to the shopfloor.”

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