Experts warn UK could fall behind without investing in technology

Posted on 10 Nov 2016 by Fred Tongue

Experts at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) warn the UK could fall behind European peers without investing in emerging manufacturing technology.

Working with industry and other research organisations, the MTC is working to set up a group focussed on digital engineering and manufacturing leadership. The group will be made up of manufacturing, academic and technology communities.

The group will be a subject of one of the talks at the “Digitising Manufacturing” conference, hosted at the Lloyds Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre on November 15, with manufacturing companies urged to attend to learn more about the technology transforming manufacturing.

Experts on “smart manufacturing” from Germany, Sweden and the UK will discuss national policies on digitisation and how SMEs can leverage technology to save money, resources and compete on a global stage.

It is expected that Germany will see an increase in productivity and manufacturing employment over the coming years thanks to Industry 4.0, according to Boston Consulting Group. It has also been written that the UK could see a similar rise in both, if firms invest in the right technology and training.

Tom Egan, managing director of operations at a large UK-based aerospace company, will explain the Digital Engineering & Manufacturing Leadership Group’s plans for a coordinated approach to this fast-moving digital agenda at the conference. Small and medium-sized companies can extract value from digital in their businesses, says the MTC, and Tom Egan and other speakers will demonstrate how.

Pump system manufacturer Hayward Tyler will present on the application of digital to a traditional engineering business. The 200-year old company has just won the Smart Factory and Leadership award at the TMMX Awards.

Industrial policy expert at the German Ministry of Economics, Ernst Stöckl-Pukall will discuss the digital transformation of manufacturing in Germany and Celia Warrol, director of Production 2030 in Sweden will explain how Sweden has responded to Industry 4.0.

“We need to understand all the aspects that will enable this revolution to happen, for industry to realise the benefits in an accelerated way: implementation is the main driver, but standards and skills are key enablers,” says Dr Huertas head of digital manufacturing strategy at the MTC.

Tim Precious, general manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprises says, “What we see in the UK, Ireland and across Europe is plenty of very strong manufacturing capability, and quite a lot of digital business capability, but they are not joining up.

“The value proposition for manufacturers – from global companies to the 10-man job shop – is to learn how to apply digital technology at the right point in their business to capture more value.

“This need not be a root-and-branch overhaul of capex with lots of intelligent machines; it is more about digital visibility of the enterprise, such as bottlenecks, risks, supplier issues, efficiency, KPIs – what all manufacturers do daily but digital technology will speed this up,” Mr Precious adds.

The MTC urges manufacturing companies serious about learning and applying digital manufacturing technology to attend on 15 November at the MTC. To find out more or to book, please click here.