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4 Reasons Why Collaboration Between Industry
and Universities is Vital
to the Manufacturing Sector
The connection between the academic world and the manufacturing industry has always been necessary. However, thanks to the rapid evolution of the current business environment, and vast transformations in the educational space, collaboration today is a hot topic. According to Professor Klaus Schwab, we are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, which means that the manufacturing sector needs more skill and creativity than ever. When the industry connects with local universities, both parties benefit from broader insights, new ideas, and greater expertise. At Croft, we have been funding research via Lancaster University since 2012, supporting MSc and Ph.D. research for the manufacturers of tomorrow. Heres why these collaborations are crucial to the future of our industry.
1. It Unlocks Opportunities for New Innovation
The manufacturing world has evolved rapidly in recent years, spurred on by the introduction of things like IoT, additive manufacturing (3D Printing) and more. Here at Croft, our investments into Lancaster University are driving the development of the next-generation of manufacturing solutions. Through work with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation and their postgraduate researchers, we can explore new ideas, and develop never-seen-before products for our clients. We contribute to educational courses for would-be end-users of additive manufacturing to explore the opportunities that the laser based production process can bring. Croft seeks to develop their lean manufacturing, a challenge in customised production and and deliver more efficient filtration solutions. With our help, students can learn about real-time industrial challenges. This means that were paving the way for a new era of faster, more cost-efficient and sustainable manufacturing strategies.
2. Collaboration Supports the Environment
Here at Croft, we take environmental protection very seriously. Were doing our part to replace as many throw-away filters with reusable metal filters as possible. By working with the team at Lancaster Product Development Unit and Centre for Global Eco-Innovation to support a new generation of students, were also contributing to the eco-friendly creations of the future. As people begin to recognise the need for more efficient and planet-friendly processes in manufacturing, students will be the people who protect and support the environment. Currently, were supporting a PhD into Dixon rings and the impact that they can have on several applications within the manufacturing world, such as removal of harmful by-products from fluid such as carbon dioxide. Through this collaborative academic adventure, we aim to find more efficient ways of keeping production plants running smoothly.
3. Narrowing the Skills Gaps
A new era of manufacturing needs more than just the right technology; it also requires the right people. Unfortunately, many of todays most important sectors, including construction, are experiencing significant skills gaps. When employers cant find the right talent to fill their teams, they cant embrace the opportunities that lead to new creations and ideas. Through internships in our engineering teams, were empowering the next generation of manufacturing professionals and giving them the chance to explore their skills in real-life situations. The manufacturing sector offers a wide range of career paths, from design engineering to operational processes. The more experience that students can get in these environments, the easier it will be for them to unlock their skills and talents in specific areas. Industry companies like Croft that work with universities to offer manufacturing work experiences are doing their part to reduce the growing skills gap in industrial spaces.
4. Collaboration Leads to Inspiration
Lately, many experts in the manufacturing sector have seen a shift towards collaborative partnerships. These connections allow organisations to remain at the forefront of their industry, by giving them different perspectives and insights into complex problems. As new digital technologies and production strategies emerge, students that are familiar with the latest concepts will be a powerful part of this collaborative landscape. Unfortunately, only around 4.7% of companies in the UK currently collaborate with universities. Here at Croft, we believe that although industrial and academic collaborations can be challenging, the benefits outweigh the risks. By working with fresh new minds and people who have a completely different perspective on the marketplace, companies can discover concepts that they would never have considered before. Diversity in collaboration leads to better inspiration for everyone.
Manufacturing Thrives on Industry-Academic Partnerships
At Croft, we pride ourselves on being leaders in the filter manufacturing world. We know that if we want to stay ahead of the competition, we need to be ready to innovate and deliver new ideas all the time. Thats why we collaborate with educational institutes like Lancaster University, to support students that are unlocking the future of manufacturing. Its our forward-thinking approach to the manufacturing sector that allows us to create bespoke filtration systems for businesses of any size. When you bring a variety of ideas into the manufacturing industry, anything is possible.