5PRING – the consortium behind the UK’s first 5G commercial application accelerator – has announced a new manufacturing-themed accelerator programme. The programme sees leading infrastructure provider BAM Nuttall and aerospace manufacturer AE Aerospace working with 5PRING to set a series of challenges for innovative start-ups and SMEs to solve using 5G.

The programme is part of 5PRING’s ongoing series of challenges to find 5G-enabled solutions to real world problems that will shape the future of the UK’s manufacturing and construction sector.

A leading UK infrastructure provider, BAM Nuttall will lead the group with AttoCore and Building and Research Establishment (BRE). The consortium is already participating in a government and industry funded trial looking at how 5G can help to improve people’s lives and build back better after the pandemic, called 5G-AMC(Accelerate, Maximise and Create for Construction), part of the 5G Testbeds and Trials, 5G Create funding.

Alongside BAM Nuttall, Midland’s SME AE Aerospace will also be working as challenge owners to support innovators to progress 5G solutions. As the first UK SME to deploy a private 5G network with West Midlands 5G (WM5G) Worcestershire 5G (W5G) and technology partner BT, AE Aerospace are well positioned to assist organisations looking to test, scale and apply 5G solutions in manufacturing environments.

With the government continuing to plan and deliver improvements in UK infrastructure and a public capital investment of over £100bn committed to 2020-21[1], the sector is well positioned to benefit from the impact that 5G solutions will have on increasing efficiency and optimising processes such as remote working, autonomous surveys and real time reporting.

The 5PRING manufacturing programme will provide start-ups and other small businesses with support in developing and scaling innovations which will harness the power of 5G to create a safe, dynamic and efficient industry, with a specific focus on:

Plant Operations

  • Remote Operation: Operation of equipment and machinery remotely
  • Automatic Visual validation: Validate the end result against a digital design, defect detection and product quality assurance
  • Asset tracking: Accurate location tracking of equipment, tools or people on site
  • Remote working: Enable workers to work efficiently at a remote site
  • Machine Time Servitisation: wireless connectivity between machines to allow for high volume data capture

Site and Factory Monitoring

  • Remote Monitoring: Machine monitoring and diagnostics
  • Site surveillance: Accurate autonomous surveys of the site
  • Site Monitoring: Accurate monitoring of remote/pop-up offices

While these are key areas of exploration, BAM Nuttall, AE Aerospace and the project consortium are open to receiving transformative use cases and innovative solutions in other related areas. This could include leveraging 5G and computer vision to enable live streaming to and from construction sites and digital control rooms to monitor work at the sites, VR/AR in training, use cases around network slicing for different groups of users on site, amongst others. Solutions in IoT, artificial intelligence and robotics will also be considered.

Colin Evison, Head of Innovation at BAM Nuttall said: “As part of own trial, 5G-AMC2, we have created a stand-alone private network to explore and develop how the industry can leverage 5G and other advanced digital technologies.

“5PRING will give BAM Nuttall and the consortium the opportunity to explore 5G’s potential to leverage innovation in construction and infrastructure and create safe, efficient and dynamic environments for the future.”

Ian Bouquet-Taylor, Operations Director at AE Aerospace said: “Through this challenge, 5PRING will allow us to identify and test cutting-edge solutions in remote operations, site surveillance and so much more to boost efficiencies while ensuring the safety and efficiency of our working environments.”

“We look forward to supporting organisations on their 5G journey much like our own, sharing best practice and learnings for industry wide adoption.”

Last year, WM5G, O2, Deloitte, Digital Catapult and Wayra announced the launch of the UK’s first commercial accelerators – 5PRING – to develop the first region-wide 5G testbed.

Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G, said: “It is through partnerships such as those that 5PRING offers that we will truly be able to understand the real potential that 5G has to revolutionise the UK’s major industries. The guidance and expert advice that our 5PRING teams can provide both virtually and through our dedicated Accelerator hubs in Coventry, Wolverhampton and Birmingham are leading the way and showcasing what is possible through collaboration.”

“Alongside this, the experience of both BAM Nuttall and AE Aerospace in the UK and across the globe will be vital to help shape and guide the ambitious plans and realising the innovative solutions to be delivered through the programme.”

Part funded by ERDF, 5PRING supports SMEs in delivering higher value, intensive support for growth and productivity improvement measures. Applications for the accelerator are now open and should be submitted here by midnight on the 20th August 2021. Successful applicants will start working with 5PRING on the 12th October 2021.

5PRING have also launched their mentorship scheme, enabling industry experts to support entrepreneurs to become trailblazers in their industries. If you are interested in becoming a mentor and engaging with the work of innovators and tech disruptors across the UK and around the world, please register your interest here.

A series of engagement events will run throughout the 5PRING programme known as Engage, Explore and Exploit. For more information, visit: https://5pring.org/