David Richards of WANdisco backs Yorkshire firm which is boosting UK productivity

The chief executive of a Silicon Valley live data company is backing a Yorkshire business which is boosting productivity at manufacturing sites across the UK.

David Richards, CEO and President of WANdisco is the latest investor in FourJaw, a spin-out from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) which uses a manufacturing data analytics platform to help companies raise their game.

Mr Richards said: “The future of advanced manufacturing, not just here in the UK but around the globe, lies in the development and adoption of digital, cloud-based data analytics. FourJaw is in the vanguard of this digital meets manufacturing revolution, bringing live data to the shop floor through a powerful tool that is immediately affordable and simple to use.”

Mr Richards has backed FourJaw with an undisclosed six-figure sum.

David Richards, CEO and President of WANdisco is the latest investor in FourJaw, a spin-out from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) which uses a manufacturing data analytics platform to help companies raise their game.

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He also recently established EyUp which he describes as “a proud Yorkshire venture which is creating software developers, generating jobs and investing in start-ups across the North of England”. He chairs the Digital Meet Manufacturing Commission which is dedicated to up-skilling manufacturers with data tools and technologies from leading cloud vendors.

Mr Richards added: “South Yorkshire was at the heart of the first industrial revolution with the scaling up of steel making. FourJaw are ensuring that South Yorkshire is at the heart of the next industrial revolution by up-skilling manufacturers across the UK with affordable, quick-to-instal data analytics that are vital to building a more resilient and agile UK economy.”

FourJaw co-founder and CEO, Chris Iveson, said: “We are delighted that David has come on board as both an investor and a mentor who shares our passion for developing cutting edge data tools that are accessible, easy to use, and constantly evolving to meet the changing needs and demands of the UK precision engineering community.”

The Sheffield-based company’s digital manufacturing platform, likened to a fitness watch for manufacturing, is designed to work on every machine, from legacy manual lathes through to state-of-the-art machining centres.

A spokesman said: "Following a quick and easy installation process, manufacturers are provided with accurate and up-to-date information that enables the entire production team to work together to accurately time job durations, maximise uptime, unblock bottlenecks and increase productivity. Manufacturers finally have the tools needed to better compete in an increasingly competitive global market."

FourJaw’s Chairman, and former Senior Operations Director at Autodesk, Bart Simpson, said: “It’s great to see investors providing sustained financial support for a technology that is changing the face of precision engineering in the UK.

"FourJaw has created a beautifully simple tool that is affordable, adaptable and accessible to the vast majority of machining shop floors in the UK. It elegantly sidesteps the often costly and complex big ticket alternatives, to deliver the right information in real time, securely from the cloud. A handheld tablet gives staff, from the shop floor to the top floor, easy-to-digest data that is driving big improvements in productivity, thus securing UK jobs and international markets against fierce global competition.”

FourJaw’s app is now being deployed across the UK to precision engineering supply chains serving high value manufacturing sectors including aerospace, energy, medical, defence and automotive.