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An inclusive framework for incorporating Industry 4.0 into the small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK within the manufacturing sector


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference Number: EMRC-RK-2018-2-PhD

Project Summary:
This project will investigate into developing inclusive intelligent framework to exploit the benefits that Industry 4.0 and various enabling and emerging digital technologies offer to SMEs. Industry 4.0 is considered to bring out radical changes and benefits to manufacturing industries. This project will look into the current gap into realizing these benefits.

Specific Requirements of the Project


Skills required: Good mathematical background, programming experience and familiar with using language such as Matlab and Python.
Applicants should hold or expect to hold a 2.1 Hons (or equivalent) undergraduate degree or MSc in a relevant discipline such as Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering or Mechanical/Manufacturing Engineering.

Project Aims and Objectives


This project is focussing to research into the impact of emerging technologies on the manufacturing industry especially in SMEs. Currently Industry 4.0 is in its full swing with various enabling technologies such as 3d printing, AR/VR, advanced software technologies, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoTs), etc, providing the industry more insights into the business processes than ever. This has helped the industries to optimize their resources and maximise efficiency to boost the revenues. However, this exploitation of technology is majority seen to be done by large industries, such as Siemens, Philips, Amazon, etc. On the contrary, SMEs, especially the manufacturing industries are lagging behind heavily. Since digital technology is not the core aspect of their business, its’ expertise is in significant dearth for these industries. Most of these companies are still running legacy software platforms and systems that are slow, buggy, inefficient and scarily prone for cyber-attacks and hacks.

This research will look into exploring what emerging technologies could affect the SMEs in the manufacturing sector in the coming years. The research will build on primary data collection by visiting different types of manufacturing sites and companies, analysis of business models, existing technological infrastructures, and exploration of current and near-future technologies in the context of manufacturing.

With the collected data sets, the project then will look into proposing an inclusive framework that models the business process, limitations, problems and requirements into one unified standard. Thus proposed framework can then be utilized to transform the business process of any manufacturing SMEs to become Industry 4.0 enabled.

Specific aims and objectives of the project are to be identified in discussion with the academic supervisors.

Project is open to: Home/EU and overseas

Informal enquiries can be made to

Dr Rupak Kharel
Tel 0161 247 1655 email

Dr Julfikar Haider
Tel 0161 247 3804 email

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