July 2019: What we learned about UK manufacturing last month

Posted on 1 Jul 2019 by Maddy White

Last month was a busy time for The Manufacturer. We visited a true soft drinks powerhouse, a pioneering 3D printing aerospace business and a world-leading digital factory. We helped shatter the myths surrounding women in industry and spoke to innovators, tech leaders, and sustainability champions. Here's everything we learned about manufacturing in June.

Megan Gorman is an apprentice at Unipress - image courtesy of Unipress.
Megan Gorman is an apprentice at Unipress – image courtesy of Unipress.

Double its size. The economic value of the UK’s manufacturing sector is placed at just below 10% of GDP, but this figure is based on outdated counting methods and underestimates manufacturing’s worth by potentially half.


Shattering the stereotype. Women make up around 12% of engineers in the UK, but just over 7% of engineering apprentices are female.


Inside an innovation powerhouse. Marchant Cain is a company born out of a desire to solve problems that others can’t. We visited their new factory in Coventry to find out more.


Engineering change. International Women in Engineering Day (23 June) exists to help raise the profile of the (many) successful women working in the sector and encourage others to embrace it.


Revenues of large companies in the aerospace industry are growing - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
During the Paris Air Show Airbus announced the launch of its new A321XLR single-aisle plane – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Action packed airshow. In the inevitable Paris Air Show orders race between Boeing and arch-rivals Airbus, the US manufacturer was slow out of the blocks, with Airbus leading the charge in terms of new orders.


Make it digital! A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link – and UK manufacturers understand that their success depends on the strengths of their suppliers and partners, as well as addressing their own internal weaknesses.


Additive aerospace. Cambridge-based Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group is flying high with flight-ready 3D printed production parts. Jonny Williamson visited the company to discuss how it achieved its success, and find out what the future holds.


Turbocharging North West manufacturers. The power of publicly-funded support for manufacturing to enable growth and jobs is being proved in stellar fashion in Liverpool City Region.


AG Barr factory - Image TM
We visited A.G. Barr’s factory in Milton Keynes.

IRN-BRU Galore. We visited A.G. Barr’s Milton Keynes site to discuss the Scottish powerhouse’s expansion plans, its moves to reduce sugar levels, and how technology can drive up quality.


The real data race. One of the most striking similarities between manufacturing and Formula One is how both are trying to marry up the unstructured insights and ‘gut feelings’ of their respective experts with more structured telemetry and analytics.


Zero hero struggle. A recent report by the Committee on Climate Change recommends that Britain can reach ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050. Is that a realistic target for UK manufacturing? Nick Peters reports.


Bridgend is no more. The closure of the Ford engine plant at Bridgend in Wales is the latest blow to the UK automotive sector. Edward Pearcey examines the wider implications for the UK automotive supply chain.


Siemens has a wholly digital production in Cheshire.
Siemens has a wholly digital production in Cheshire.

The world-beating Cheshire factory. Nick Peters visited the Siemens factory in Congleton, Cheshire, to discover just how well Siemens is managing its own digital revolution.


Are UK supply chains fit for the 21st century? Jonny Williamson summaries the tenth National Manufacturing Debate, hosted by Cranfield University, which brought together industry and academia to discuss one of the biggest challenges facing businesses.


Digitalisation delights customers. Nick Peters talks to Brian Holliday, MD of Siemens Digital Industries in the UK, about how he and his team harnessed the power of digital manufacturing technologies to develop world- and competition-beating products.


The windiest power. The world is facing a climate change crisis; we visited Accolade Wines, a manufacturer who is now supplying its UK site with renewable energy via a newly constructed – and England’s biggest – onshore wind turbine.


The automation argument. On the one hand, automation will complement the work of humans and allow us to lead happier lives, cites a new report. On the other, robots will replace up to 20 million jobs globally by 2030, says another.