Drives and Controls Magazine
Belfast digital testbed will boost smart manufacturing
Published:  12 October, 2021

A £500,000 digital testbed, aimed at creating a step change in smart manufacturing, is being built at Queen’s University Belfast to help develop new technologies and opportunities for local businesses. The project – a collaboration between Queen’s, BT and Cisco – is part of a co-investment to create a 5G-enabled digital factory.

The testbed, located at Queen’s University’s Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC), will provide an opportunity for local industry to collaborate and explore the benefits of 5G connectivity and digitalisation in their manufacturing operations.

It will also help Queen’s researchers to transfer their research to industry in areas such as digital twins, cybersecurity, digitised manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

“As the manufacturing sector moves towards digital technologies and supporting Industry 4.0, digital testing is vital in helping to improve performance and quality of production,” says the NITC’s head, Colm Higgins. “5G technology offers higher speeds, greater capacity and shorter response times to the digital environment. This £500k investment by BT, Cisco and Queen’s is an important collaboration of academia and business and will help us to deliver our mission of driving innovation and creating solutions from R&D. This will in turn help to grow market opportunities and create a step change in smart manufacturing.”

Colm Higgins, head of Queen’s University’s Northern Ireland Technology Centre: creating a step change in manufacturing