BAE Systems

BAE Systems provides some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions. It employs a skilled workforce of 85,800 people in more than 40 countries.

About BAE Systems

At BAE Systems, we help our customers to stay a step ahead when protecting people and national security, critical infrastructure and vital information. We provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions and employ a skilled workforce of 85,800 people in more than 40 countries.

From state-of-the-art cyber threat detection to flight control systems that enable pilots to make better decisions, we never stop innovating to ensure that our customers maintain their advantage. This is a long-term commitment involving significant investments in skills. We also work closely with local partners to support economic development through the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology.

BAE Systems and Made Smarter Technology Accelerator

Andy Schofield – Technology Delivery Director, BAE Systems said:

“BAE Systems is on a continuing mission to be a frontline developer and instigator of future manufacturing technology. Our customers’ demands for ever more complex and flexible products along with ever shortening timelines and challenging cost targets makes alignment with the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator and Digital Catapult a clear match to achieving our long term goals, therefore sustaining us as a driving force in both UK and global manufacturing markets.”

Challenges brought to you by Industry Challenge Owner – BAE Systems

  • Challenge 1: Scalable artificial intelligence for visual inspection systems
  • Challenge 2: Dynamic workflow management

Challenge 1: Scalable artificial intelligence for visual inspection systems

Challenge background:

The Factory of the Future programme at BAE Systems is aimed at creating a blueprint of an intelligent manufacturing environment, production and demonstration facility for the design, manufacturing, assembly, testing and support of future products.

Low volume, extremely high complexity, tight tolerance levels and high facility flexibility are challenges faced during manual sub-assembly tasks. Currently, checks as to whether work has been done correctly are manual, leading to large amounts of non-value added time. This can lead to delays in assembling and potential problems down the line.

For this challenge:

BAE Systems is interested in an artificial intelligence (AI) vision inspection system which can, once proven, roll-out as a tool to assist with testing and quality checks across various assembly, manufacturing and build stages. This will encompass image categorisation, for build verification and quality checks and inform “go” or “no go” decisions. The solution will need to be extremely quick and easy to train up and deploy, requiring minimal datasets to run, as well as scalable to new assemblies and build stages.

Introducing Machine Intelligence Ltd – minimum viable product phase startup

Machine Intelligence Ltd will be working with BAE Systems on the scalable artificial intelligence for visual inspection challenge: This prototype will use machine learning to identify defects in manufacturing, improve the quality of the end product, reduce waste and save money.

Read more on this solution.

Challenge 2: Dynamic workflow management

Challenge background:

At BAE Systems, supply chain disruptions and other variables including resource limitations and quality failures can have a large impact on the workflow management and scheduling of manufacturing production. Currently BAE Systems uses a logistic workflow management system that is not integrated with existing systems, so any disruptions and changes in orders need to be manually adjusted by local supervisors, and then shared across with suppliers. This results in delays, longer system downtime and, in turn operation slacks as well as lack of transparency to users across the full process.

For this challenge:

This challenge seeks to develop a manufacturing scheduling and workflow management capability that can dynamically react to disruptions and changes. The solution should aid future planning across the supply chain through automatic updates to different variables including supply chain disruptions, resource availability and production status, optimised real-time scheduling and replanning. The solution can leverage or build on supply chain connectivity and industrial internet of things (IIoT), and the exploitation of data.

Introducing DIEM Innovations – prototype phase startup

As part of the prototype phase of the programme, DIEM Innovations worked with BAE Systems on the dynamic workflow management challenge: AI solutions and SCALE+, a systems dynamic model, to provide actionable supply chain insights, on where wastage occurs to improve sustainability.

Read more on this solution.

Involvement with the wider Made Smarter movement

BAE Systems is proud to have been a core player in the Made Smarter movement since the beginning on all key aspects. This includes: with our Technology Delivery Director being on the Made Smarter Industrial Advisory Board and our Principle Technologist running a number of Made Smarter funded programmes.

In addition BAE Systems also chairs the Made Smarter North West pilot programme and supports the Royal Academy of Engineers on future skills development.

Furthermore, our Factory of the Future development facility is being utilised as a testbed facility for our role as an ongoing partner and Work Package Lead in the Made Smarter Smart Connected Shop Floor Programme.

BAE Systems has been an avid supporter of Industry 4.0 and industrial internet of things (IIoT) technology for some time, and as such we are part of multiple major initiatives to redevelop the company’s manufacturing capabilities in line with our core business drivers. This includes the ongoing BAE Systems’ direct investment and development of a cutting edge development facility known as the Factory of the Future in our Warton Facility.