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Digital Manufacturing

Nick Wright
Head of Manufacturing Industries

Digital Catapult is uniquely placed to blend the skills and ingenuity of the UK’s innovative tech sector with the opportunities and challenges faced by the manufacturing industries.

With more investment going into digital technology in the UK in the last two years than France, Germany and Sweden combined, British manufacturing industries are on a huge growth curve.

Our focus is on the manufacturing industries across the end to end UK supply chain where the UK has typically lagged behind other countries in adoption. Digital Catapult’s goals are to:

  • Develop effective leadership
    Lead in industrial digitalisation across the advanced digital technology areas we focus on
  • Increase advanced digital technology application and adoption
    Our innovation and acceleration programmes match startups and scaleups with our network of experts, researchers, corporates and investors.
  • Build an extensive network of innovative businesses
    Combined with our industry leading innovation programmes, this network attracts and supports startups that are developing transformative solutions for UK manufacturing and their supply chains, helping to extract maximum value for the benefit of industry and the wider economy.

Adoption of advanced digital technologies should grow the UK economy by

£ 455 bn

2.7 m

UK employees in the manufacturing sector

manufacturing accounted for

45 %

of UK exports in 2018

Key projects


Connected Factory Demonstrator

Digital Catapult, Dyer Engineering and Special Metals Wiggin have teamed up on an industry-first project to prove the potential of leading-edge networks technologies which can unlock productivity, streamline processes, improve yield and increase quality control. The Connected Factory Demonstrator brings together Digital Catapult with two innovative manufacturing businesses and the UK startup community to explore how future networks technologies including LPWAN (low-powered, wide area networks) can drive improvements throughout the product lifecycle.

Elements Technology

Digital manufacturing startup, Elements Technology, had an idea to use consumer tech in the manufacturing industry. After winning a Digital Catapult innovation competition, it subsequently won £250k seed funding, pivoted its business towards order management and built an invaluable network of experts helping to make the business a success.

The Elements platform is a simple plug-and-play system that uses consumer technologies to track manufacturing processes, display work-in-progress, and automate the generation of documents and certificates.

Digital Catapult’s innovation competition was an opportunity to work with Rolls-Royce and demonstrate how Elements Technology’s simple and effective way of automating manufacturing processes could solve the IoT-related challenge Rolls-Royce had put forward. Digital Catapult’s direct involvement helped Elements Technology, develop and launch a product and attract significant investment.

Connecting with Digital Catapult has been a game-changer. As a direct result we have honed our value proposition and pitch, secured funding and created an advisory group of industry leaders. We’ve gained the support and connections we need to succeed

Joe Handsaker

CEO and Founder, Elements Technology


Flexciton uses artificial intelligence to solve production and scheduling challenges in a manufacturing environment. Its solution helps reduce bottlenecks by building a digital twin of the factory to create a sophisticated optimisation model – this allows the AI to solve complex problems across the entire factory, rather than in one area (which can lead to bottlenecks in others).

Voted one of the UK’s most disruptive companies in 2019 by Disruption50, Flexciton’s work with Digital Catapult led to £2.5m equity investment and enabled it to double the size of its team.