Fascinating games

Commonwealth Games visitors can see 21st century manufacturing in action

Visitors to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have the chance to witness the latest in high-tech manufacturing, thanks to an innovative program from the Manufacturing Technology Center and the University of Birmingham.

The university and MTC have teamed up to excite Games visitors with the latest exciting developments in manufacturing with a specially developed augmented reality experience.

Visitors can access technology on smartphones and tablets via the QR code displayed in the Aston Webb building. This is part of a larger exhibition, A History Through Objects, which explores research and innovation at the University of Birmingham.

Clicking on the QR code will take them into an augmented reality world that shows how factories and industrial spaces can be developed digitally before a dime is spent on manufacturing equipment. Using software called Vuforia, developed by PTC, a global manufacturing software solutions provider and member of MTC, users can experience a 21st century manufacturing environment in a virtual world.


The program used for the Commonwealth Games demonstration was developed in MTC’s innovative ‘Factory in a Box’ which shows companies how they can grow through the adoption of smart manufacturing techniques and processes. Credit: MTC


MTC IT Business Manager Stuart McLeod said the Games provided a valuable opportunity to engage people with the world of modern manufacturing, an area in which the West Midlands excels.

“Using a program developed at MTC with software from PTC, we are able to allow people to visit a manufacturing plant, plan the layout and design machines. It showcases the huge advances in digital fabrication and showcases them in an engaging and exciting way,” he said.

David Hughes, director of solutions consulting at PTC, said many people don’t realize how digital technologies have transformed manufacturing processes and practices.

“Augmented reality is a highly visual and interactive method of presenting digital information within the context of a physical environment. It gives users the power to design, plan and interact with facilities while meeting the challenges of capacity, practicality, safety, maintenance needs and ergonomics – all before that the money is actually spent on the physical requirements to get there,” he said.

The program used for the Commonwealth Games demonstration was developed in MTC’s innovative ‘Factory in a Box’ which shows companies how they can grow through the adoption of smart manufacturing techniques and processes.

Developed by the Coventry-based MTC in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University and a team of industry partners, the Factory in a Box is an industrial-scale demonstrator, showing how advanced industrial digital technologies can benefit manufacturers and their supply chains. The FIAB concept creates smart factories that can be distributed globally but centrally controlled to provide on-the-spot, deployable and flexible manufacturing capability.

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. MTC’s industry members include some of the UK’s leading global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between academic research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions in line with the government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, backed by Innovate UK.

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