This UK-first Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) project saw the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) programme partner with BT and Toshiba to install a quantum secure network between the National Composites Centre (NCC) and The Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) using BT Openreach’s “standard” fibre optic infrastructure. With ultra-secure data transmission crucial for design and manufacturing sectors, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) was identified as one of the solutions to secure communications, but its suitability for real-world manufacturing applications had previously been largely untested. This project allowed testing over a two-month period, and we can now look to extend the scope of the trial following initial results.
CFMS is at the forefront of advancing digital engineering, deploying technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digital twins that rely on seamless data transmission. The QKD allowed for the NCC to access CFMS’ engineering and computing services through the link as well as securely transmit sensitive manufacturing Internet of Things (IoT) data. During the experiment, CFMS was able to host the data capture, processing and storage for the IoT data which was transmitted from the NCC.
Additionally, throughout the project, CFMS provided BT and Toshiba with a reliable and secure remote connection to the environment hosting the QKD equipment for remote monitoring and maintenance for their experiment.