The University of Greenwich champions education, research, enterprise and employment to local people, offering high-value jobs for skilled people, nurturing local talent, attracting new business, and developing existing businesses.

The Chatham Maritime campus is a hub for manufacturing, engineering, technology and science, providing research and technical support for civil and manufacturing engineering, computational engineering, pharmaceuticals, food and packaging industries, agriculture, renewable energy, materials analysis, sports science and many other sectors.

Our specialities include concrete testing and development, rapid prototyping, telecommunications development, chemical testing, food testing, biofuel research, development of carbon capture technologies, improving the handling of bulk solids, and land reclamation.

We work with local businesses to develop programmes tailored to their needs, providing both technical services and assistance in accessing government funding. Our collaborations include working with Pfizer, the Royal School of Military Engineering and NIC Instruments Limited and the British Army.

GB Lighting

GB Lighting Ltd design and manufacture decorative lighting for the high end residential and hospitality markets such as restaurants and hotels, along with professionally designed residential homes. About 60% of the company’s revenue is generated from the hospitality markets and the rest is generated in residential markets.

G.B. Lighting Ltd and Co. entered into a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Greenwich to design and implement an efficient manufacturing and production system that works in partnership with existing creative design and marketing functions in order to maximise the company’s potential.

The Problem

GB Lighting

GB Lighting lacked the ability to systematically convert its conceptual designs to formalised repeat manufactured products. In order to achieve this it was necessary to integrate IT into business processes and introduce a new stock control system based on suitable ERP software. This required the development of a detailed design, prototyping, and final product process, design for manufacture and assembly structure and templates, tooling design and manufacturing processes, supply chain and sub-contract management, a quality management system and inventory control system.

The Solution

Through the KTP, the university associate was able to assist in successfully setting up a CAD facility within the company, integrating business processes and setting up a costing and inventory control procedures, with particular focus in introducing batch production and integrating stock control with a suitable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system as well as improved CRM capability making it possible for the project team to synchronize information on customer service. Production Planning and inventory control were also addressed so as to accurately control stock within the business whilst making stock information available to all relevant departments.

The Benefits

The systems and structures put in place by the KTP project, which enhanced production efficiency, CAD capability and information availability, were a much needed support structure that have made it possible for the company to cope with an increase in volume of sales generated. The introduction of the CAD system and the employment of a Graduate Product Design Engineer provided support for the creative design process and enabled improved customer service in the bidding process for contract projects, increasing GB Lighting’s capability to convert concepts into final product specifications. Integrating IT processes into business practice via the ERP software and the integrated facility for Customer Relations Management (CRM) allowed for an improvement in interdepartmental communication, especially between sales, production and purchasing.

Due to these improved production planning and stock control systems the company was able to break into new European and the Middle Eastern residential and hospitality markets. With agents having been set up in both regions, this has resulted in an increase in the company’s overall sales volume.

The ability to interact with prospective buyers efficiently and being able to provide drawings for proposed designs and accurately costing the proposed designs makes it possible for the company to be competitive in the export markets for large and small volume quotations. GB Lighting anticipates that it will continue to invest in equipment for product development in order to gain wider variety in the product range, with the potential incorporation of 3D scanners and printers.

Drawing upon unique manufacturing heritage to meet industry challenges

Greenwich Manufacturing Group (GMG) at the University of Greenwich has a unique set of integrated and world-class capabilities that are directly relevant to companies wishing to maintain their competitive edge in the fast-moving world of modern manufacturing.

GMG draws upon a strong and unique manufacturing heritage that has seen the University of Greenwich working with both large and small companies to address a diverse range of manufacturing-related challenges. Furthermore, as these challenges in manufacturing have evolved to become more interdisciplinary in nature, GMG has responded by pulling together teams from across the university to successfully tackle the problems at hand.

The University of Greenwich prides itself, not only in providing students with the skills they need to become key contributors of a future workforce, but also in exploiting a rich portfolio of manufacturing research to provide companies with industry-relevant solutions to help them maintain their competitive position in those parts of the manufacturing value chain where they operate.

The Greenwich Manufacturing Group (GMG) brings together around one hundred academic staff from all three faculties at the University of Greenwich. With this critical mass and annual research funding grants amounting to around £5 million, the Greenwich Manufacturing Group represents one of the largest groups of university-based manufacturing expertise in the South East of the UK.

The Four Core Capability Areas of GMG are:

Computational Modelling and Simulation

The University of Greenwich is fortunate to have one of the UK's strongest computational modelling and simulation capabilities, and in particular for electronics reliability and for metals and minerals processing.

The Computational Mechanics and Reliability Group (CMRG) is a world leader in the development and application of computer-aided technologies to understand and predict the physical behaviour, performance, reliability, and maintainability of complex electronics engineering systems and products.

Industrial Processing

Industrial processing lies at the very heart of manufacturing and its importance is reflected in the nomination of the Centre for Process Innovation as one of the hubs of the UK's High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The University of Greenwich has a diverse range of capabilities relevant to the process industries including: bulk solids and particulates handling; biopharmaceuticals manufacture; and biorefining and bioprocessing.

Manufacturing informatics

The Greenwich Manufacturing Group recognises the fundamental importance that ICT will continue to have right across the manufacturing value chain.

Supply Chain Management and Logistics

GMG has a particular focus on supply chain systems with a 'circular flow' of products. This requires a shift from a ‘linear economy’ to a ‘circular economy’ i.e. from an economy based on the conversion of raw materials into products which end their lives as waste, to an economy where products are re-used, re-purposed, repaired, remanufactured and recycled, cascaded, and recovered rather than being used and discarded.

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Independent expertise: providing cost-effective solutions to industrial problems

Independent expertise: providing cost-effective solutions to industrial problems

The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology at the University of Greenwich is internationally recognised for its expertise in fields associated with bulk particulate handling and in the science and practical application of technologies to deliver improved process efficiencies.

It aims to help industry get powders and bulk materials to behave predictably through processes.

Industry sectors benefiting from the centre’s services range widely and include power generation, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, foods, plastics, paper, minerals and cosmetics. Clients are predominantly based in the UK, although many European and overseas companies also take advantage of the independent and bespoke nature of the centre’s work.

The centre is situated at the University of Greenwich's Medway Campus, offering excellent transport links within the UK and EU.

Experts at the centre have more than one hundred man-years of experience of solving problems in the flow and processing of powders, granules and lump materials, in all industries from pharmaceuticals and food to mining and chemicals; from biomass waste and recycling to household goods and pet foods. They concentrate on the needs of the industry and share their knowledge through the provision of technical research papers, articles and editorials through the media and at conference and exhibitions where they often present papers or hold workshops.

The centre has an industrial-scale pilot plant available to test a processing step, or mock up a whole handling process or logistics chain, at full scale or near full scale.

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