Hack & Pitch: Smart Factory Expo – Liverpool

The fourth industrial revolution has many benefits, but it’s not exempt from its challenges. We’re looking for SMEs to help solve those challenges.

Archived Open Call

Digital Catapult’s Hack & Pitch competition offers an opportunity for larger manufacturing companies to engage directly with exciting new enterprises developing cutting edge solutions around smart factories. The Liverpool-based event combines the best of a hackathon and a pitching event, and strives to help large manufacturing companies change their processes to become more efficient, productive and smarter

Successful applicants will be able to meet and collaborate with manufacturing and technology experts to solve carefully crafted challenges set by three industry giants: BOC, Thales and RS Components.

Companies will be asked to ‘Hack’ together proposals to address these challenges, before making their ‘Pitch’ to decision-makers at Smart Factory Expo, the UK’s biggest digital manufacturing show, playing host to 4,000 manufacturers from across the country.

The challenges

Thales – ‘Railway asset mapping and data interpretation’

Multiple railway assets regularly need to be accurately located and identified by site surveyors. This can be a time-consuming process, hence automation has the potential to bring significant benefits. The data captured from these inspections, combined with other sources of data needs to be made available to engineering teams in the office and on-site.

Thales is looking for an intelligent solution to accurately locate, identify railway assets and make better-informed decisions based on the data this solution generates.

BOC – ‘Use of sensors for machine monitoring’

BOC’s team monitor a diverse range of machinery used in the gas production process. While most BOC plants are monitored through a Remote Operating Centre, many of the machines have limited sensors or gauges. For those that don’t, the inspection process is manual without real-time visibility of variables such as vibrations, temperatures and pressures.

BOC would like to more effectively and remotely monitor and track their machines, especially compressors, to be able to respond promptly to alerting signs and ultimately avoid failures.

RS Components – ‘Image recognition technologies for component identification’

RS Components has over 500,000 products, sold to diverse companies. Replacing any of these parts is currently a manual process.

The company wants to offer a solution to their customers by exploring image recognition technologies that can enable faster identification of those 500,000 products and integrate them with available inventory. 

Additionally, RS Components is interested to hear about machine learning techniques and tools that can increase the accuracy of image recognition.

So, if you have an existing solution, or are interested in developing solutions around asset monitoring, preventive maintenance, industrial IoT, sensor technology, image recognition, smart supply chains, artificial intelligence and machine learning in industrial settings, we want to hear from you.

What to expect at the event:

Day 1: Participants will spend time understanding the challenges from the challenge owners and afforded time to develop proposals.

Day 2: Participants pitch their proposals to the decision makers and judges. Besides judges from Thales, BOC and RS Components, external judges will be present from leading companies, Arrow, Henrob Limited, Unilever and the University of Huddersfield.

Following the Smart Factory Expo, proposals will be captured and circulated to participating supporters for review.

Read all about our previous Industry 4.0 Hack & Pitch event here

Why you should get involved

Shortlisted companies will benefit from:

  • Opportunity to submit proposals.
  • Access to challenge owners from leading manufacturing companies.
  • The chance to meet potential clients.
  • Promotion in online, on the day and post event marketing and communications, including video and radio coverage.
  • Expert feedback on your solutions.
  • Network in an exclusive environment.
  • A stand at the Innovation Alley to showcase their innovation. This space is subject to availability.

Hack and Pitch Champion

  • Feature on The Manufacturer website and potentially in the magazine.
  • Guest pass worth £255 to The Manufacturer MX Awards 2017 ceremony and gala dinner where the Hack & Pitch Champion will be announced.

3 category winners and Hack and Pitch Champion

  • The Manufacturer print subscription worth 395 pounds for one year.
  • Complimentary attendance (3 tickets) at all eight conferences throughout 2018 worth around £495 each.

Who should attend?

This event is targeted at small and medium enterprises with the skills to develop disruptive cutting-edge technologies in the digital manufacturing space.

Getting involved:

  1. Access the Knowledge Pack to understand the challenges in detail.
  2. Submit your application to register before 27 October to enable us to better understand your interest and capability. Last date to register is 27 October 2017.
  3. The Hack begins: Shortlisted applicants will be given further insight into the challenges from the manufacturers themselves. Based on this knowledge, companies will be asked to develop a tailored concept to bring to the conference.

Follow-Up: Following the conclusion of the Expo, proposals will be captured and circulated to participating supporters for review.


Date: 15th and 16th November 2017

Exhibition Centre Liverpool
Kings Dock,
Liverpool Waterfront,
L3 4FP


Apply Now

Companies House Number(if registered):
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Which of the following challenges are you looking to explore?you can select more that one option:
What projects or solutions have you worked on that are relevant for the topic of this Hack & Pitch? (400 characters max)
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What are your main areas of interest at this Hack & Pitch? (400 characters max)
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How mature is your business?

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