Industrial Strategy White Paper expected before end of 2017, says Juergen Maier

The CEO of Siemens UKI, and head of the Industrial Digitalisation taskforce established by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), confirms that the long-awaited Industrial Strategy White Paper should be released before the end of the year.

Digital Industrial Strategy - Jurgen Maier, CEO, Siemens UK&I
Jurgen Maier, CEO, Siemens UK&I.

The change of Prime Minister last year, and then the recent General Election, may have delayed the formation of the government’s Industrial Strategy – but there is now a renewed sense of urgency to press ahead, according to Juergen Maier.

Speaking yesterday to The Manufacturer in the ‘Future Lab’ at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Maier explained that recent political events had served to sharpen focus on the needs of UK manufacturing.

“The nation is realising ‘this is a crisis’ and that we need to move beyond politicised discussions about spending to focus on how we should create income in the first place,” he commented.

“I’m pleased Greg Clarke remains minister at the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and I’m seeing a mood that we need to come together, and I think a commitment to getting the Industrial Strategy White Paper before the end of the year.”

Siemens was exhibiting at the Festival of Speed for the first time, to showcase the company’s ‘Digital Factory’ vision for UK manufacturing in general, and the country’s world-beating automotive sector, in particular.

According to Maier, the company wanted to challenge the automotive industry and general public to see that, “the digital and physical worlds are converging, transforming industry and enabling new ways of doing things”.

An example of this in action was the pairing of a real Maserati alongside its ‘digital twin’ – and how engineers were able to optimise the supercar’s performance before the car had been physically built.

“The world is going digital,” Maier added. “Everyone is familiar with the Internet of ‘small’ Things, connecting consumer devices – now we are seeing the Internet of ‘big’ Things: large physical equipment and infrastructure is coming together with the digital.

“When you start connecting railway infrastructure, turbines and other industrial equipment, then you uncover massive opportunities for optimisation. You can really use this convergence of the physical and digital to better model predictive breakdowns and movements.”

“Nationally, this is where the Industrial Digitalisation Review that I am leading is focused on creating more jobs through the adoption of Industry 4.0 than we will displace through its implementation,” he continued.

“We can create more jobs through artificial intelligence, additive printing and other data-intensive manufacturing processes – and these jobs will be higher-value, better-paid jobs. The shift to the Industrial Internet of Things [IIoT] will be slower than the consumer Internet of Things, which will give us the opportunity to upskill our people.