Liverpool youngsters at the forefront of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

Four teams of students at the City of Liverpool College take part in a six-month technology projects backed by industrial giant Siemens and the Local Enterprise Partnership. Tony McDonough reports.

The Roscoe Street Learning Exchange, part of the City of Liverpool College
The Institute of Technology Vauxhall Campus in Liverpool


Liverpool college students are taking part in a six-month project to research what is being called the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ or 4IR.

With the help of technology giant Siemens, four teams of students at the City of Liverpool College will find out how business is being transformed.

4IR is being driven by connectivity, big data and other rapid advances in product and process technology.

Advanced manufacturing such as sensor technology, big data and cloud storage and access has brought about an “evolutionary step” in industry.

The technology allows systems to self-diagnose faults and operate at optimal performance, which is a huge leap in how engineers will work in the near future and beyond.

On Wednesday, Siemens’ central technology officer Alan Norbury launched at the project during ‘The Future of Engineering: Britain’s Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

At the event at the Roscoe Street Learning Exchange, students began their investigations asking if “we are on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution – driven by ‘embedded’ or ‘cyber physical’ systems acting intelligently?”.

The manufacturing team will create a 3D model using Siemens NX CAD software.

The model will then be used by game design technology team to build a virtual reality model to replicate some practical scenarios that could occur in reality.

Electronic students will be in charge of implementing various sensors within the manufacturing process prototype in order to collect the necessary manufacturing data, which will populate a dedicated cloud system.

The IT team will create a computer platform that will allow users to extract the data from the cloud (in real-time) and present it to the engineering data analyst for decision making.

The advanced manufacturing sector employs around 50,000 staff in 3,000 companies and accounts for £3.2bn to the Liverpool city region economy.

The city region is home to a wide mix of companies, such as Jaguar Land Rover, Unilever, ChargePoint Technology, Astra Zeneca, Pilkington and a growing number of innovative SMEs breaking new ground with technology and engineering.

Justin Smith, assistant principal for tech and enterprise at the City of Liverpool College, said: “The College is extremely excited to be working with Siemens and Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support this event and launch our collaborative project.

“It is an invaluable opportunity to raise the profile of the skills that will be needed by future engineers and software developers which will support the continued growth of advanced manufacturing.”

The LEP is a partner in LCR4.0 – an European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project delivering more than £8mi of investment to the region, generating collaboration between businesses and local research institutes to invent and implement 4IR’ technologies and processes.

The intent is to give local businesses a competitive advantage in the global market.

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