The Chatty Factories project is a three-year project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through its programme for New Industrial Systems. The project will explore the transformative potential of placing data driven systems at the core of manufacturing processes, with the aim of increasing competitive advantage for UK PLC by offering greater opportunities to innovate and reducing time to market. It maps directly onto the Government’s AI sector deal released in April 2018 that promotes academic-industry partnerships to deliver innovations arising from new uses of data and artificial intelligence.
The research will explore the opportunity to collect data from sensors embedded in products in real-time use, explore how that data might be immediately transferred into usable information to optimise and produce innovative designs and consider what types of human-robot relationship offer the most efficient way to quickly absorb that new information and implement change on the factory floor. The project will also consider any implications arising for skills development in the education sector as well as ethics in manufacturing.
Enabling robust, secure and interpretable analysis of sensor data. A key component of the transformation plan, will be to strategically collect and analyse Big data from sensors embedded in products
Understanding how products are really used. This part of Chatty Factories will look at how this information can be rapidly fed back into the design of the objects themselves, creating a more responsive product development cycle
Data-Driven Design – Generating a continuous product design cycle. Looking beyond industry-based concepts of Digital Twinning to consider more radical concepts of leveraging data from “chatty products”.
Evolving the next generation of manufacturing by challenging human centred processes. Improved machine learning based on reinforced demonstration and interpretable data analytics.
Evolving the next generation of manufacturing by challenging human centred processes. By mapping the ways in which assumptions about human learning inhibit organisations from developing new values we can suggest practical interventions to help maximise the desired values through interactions between humans and robots. Chatty Factories considers the social and ethical issues raised by the possible inclusion of human-machine learning techniques in manufacturing.
Workers and robots retraining in real time through symbiotic forms of learning.
Chatty Factories at a High Level
Our vision for manufacturing systems is to take these traditionally discrete activities and collapse them into one seamless process that is capable of real-time continuous product refinement at any industrial scale.
Novelty, Timeliness and National Importance
New fundamental theory (that relates to learning and seamless communication between products, humans, robots and factory floor operations). Data-driven systems that provide an auditable, secure and seamless flow of information between all operations, both inside and outside the factory, to facilitate real-time adaption and reorientation of entire manufacturing system