Industrial decarbonisation is the ultimate collective action problem. No one business, sector or even country can achieve it alone. Solutions will only be found in partnerships and by harnessing both human and artificial intelligence.

    Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator for the Financial Times, once said that business cannot solve the problem of climate change alone; but without business, the problem will not be solved.


    As drivers of innovation and economic activity, businesses of all sizes play a decisive role in the sustainable transformation currently underway. Their successes and progress will encourage individuals and governments to adopt the changes needed to achieve Net Zero.


    This is especially true of manufacturing, a vital sector but one responsible for 16% of the UK’s direct carbon emissions and 43% of consumption (embodied carbon) emissions. It’s reassuring, therefore, to see that 96% of manufacturers are either already decarbonising their operations or have plans to do so (Decarbonising Manufacturing, Make UK).


    There is also a growing recognition within manufacturing and the wider business community that partnerships and deep collaboration are essential to moving pledges and ambitions to implementation at scale.


    A perfect example is the relationship forged between Booth Welsh and AI-pioneer XpertRule Software.


    Ayrshire-based Booth Welsh is a global integrated engineering technology services business with more than 30 years of experience across process control, electrical and instrumentation, and engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services.


    As an organisation, Booth Welsh is continuously working on how it can operate as more planet-positive, an ethos encapsulated in its mission: ‘Through collaboration, to engineer a better future.’ Building trusted and enduring partnerships with companies that aspire for the best is a key part of delivering that, says Specialist Services Director, Gordon Semple.


    “Collaboration with industry partners, academia, our staff and even competitors is the only way to stay ahead of the pack and remain competitive.”


    Iain Crosley, Director at XpertRule Software, agrees, noting that “the best results are often achieved through collaboration.”



    Environment 4.0


    The partnership between Booth Welsh and XpertRule Software centres on helping companies increase quality, output and operational efficiency, while also hitting their sustainability and profitability targets.


    By leveraging XpertRule’s platform, XpertFactory, Booth Welsh is helping transform manufacturing operations by making it easy to digitally capture, streamline and audit the decision-making process. The solution can also proactively detect and respond to events which improves the quality and yield of manufacturing.


    The partnership aligns with Environment 4.0, a Booth Welsh initiative that showcases how emerging technology like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, collaborative robots (cobots) and AI mean there doesn’t have to be a trade-off between addressing the environment and delivering measurable business results.


    Environment 4.0 is a natural evolution of Industry 4.0, says Aimee Doole, Director of Strategy, Communications & Marketing at Booth Welsh.


    “Environmental awareness has never been greater. Meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, complying with environmental regulations such as Net Zero, being more resource efficient and streamlining every process is at the forefront of every discussion.


    “Environment 4.0 really speaks to that and helps make those goals more relatable and easier to understand. Ultimately, it shows you don’t have to choose between people, planet and profit. With the appropriate technology in place, you can achieve all three objectives at once.”


    It’s not solely about technology, however, adds Gordon; “You’ve got to have the right culture in place and bring those who are going to be deploying and using the technology on the journey with you. They need to believe in it and understand the changes happening. Technology is great, but without people it won’t deliver its full potential.”



    Smart, sustainable factories


    An exciting project Booth Welsh and XpertRule Software are collaborating on is a research demonstrator set to pave the way for smart factories and sustainable manufacturing.


    Led by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), the project will see sensors installed on almost 75 pieces of machinery to enable seamless, synchronised and centralised real-time data acquisition.


    Live power consumption and environmental data from each machine will be pulled into a shared database for faster, better-informed decision-making. This will boost energy efficiency, safety and quality across manufacturing operations.


    “It’s easy to say organisations already have the data required to do this but the reality is data is often in different formats and places,” says Iain. “What this project demonstrates is the ability to bring data from disparate sources together, from legacy assets and modern systems, and start to use it in a really meaningful way.”


    “Measurement is at the heart of how a business plans and manages its decarbonisation journey,” concludes Iain. “Transforming manufacturing operations requires a holistic view of everything that’s happening. Such a view relies on capturing, aggregating and processing data from sensors, actuators, control modules, IT applications and back-office systems.


    “Crucially, it also relies on having the courage to challenge existing norms, to seek out new partnerships and collaborations and the drive to apply continuous improvement practices.”



    Decision-intelligence powered manufacturing

    XpertRule helps companies reach their Net Zero goals through constant and ongoing optimisation. It is a journey, not a sprint. Working together with companies in the manufacturing sector, XpertRule improves performance through better utilisation of people, plant, processes and products to drive better profits (the 5Ps).

    XpertFactory software incorporates multiple AI capabilities to digitally capture both human expertise and manufacturing processes to improve any manufacturing plant. By allowing manufacturers to properly understand the processes they are able to optimise, monitor and control them, in real-time, to improve overall efficiencies and increase uptime, while lowering their carbon footprint.


    Net Zero at the heart of manufacturing

    Iain Crosley, Gordon Semple and Aimee Doole recently took part in a panel debate hosted by ManufacturingTV, discussing how harnessing human knowledge combined with a digitised approach is key to not only meet the challenge of Net Zero but profit from it.

    You can view it here:






    Find out more:  Accelerate the road to NetZero