May 2019: 15 things we didn’t know about manufacturing last month

Posted on 31 May 2019 by Maddy White

From learning about what makes our smartphones ‘smart’, to UK exports hitting a record high of £639.9bn, to the inside of IRN-BRU makers AG Barr’s Milton Keynes site. Here are 15 things we didn’t know last month about manufacturing.

The UK leads the global space race - image courtesy of Airbus.
The UK leads the global space race – image courtesy of Airbus.

The stuff of science fiction at Airbus. The UK is Europe’s leader in space technologies, in both expertise and manufacture. We found this out and more at Airbus Defence & Space in Portsmouth.

Britain goes without coal. The UK went 114 continuous hours without burning coal to generate electricity, smashing the previous record of 90 hours.

AI will transform manufacturing. Artificial Intelligence is set to revolutionise the design, manufacturing and after-market phases through the entire product life-cycle.

Faster fashion is what we need. ‘Fast fashion’ continues to be a negative story in the mainstream media, but its actual meaning is a positive one. The phrase increasingly refers to the acceleration and compression of the process from design stages to consumers.

CROP - Compound Semiconductors - The UK leads the world in Compound Semiconductor technology - stock image
Compound semiconductors are a key component in smartphones.

What makes your smartphone smart? The answer is compound semiconductors. And the UK is the global leader in this vital technology. But can it remain so?

Thanks to Brexit. In the latest The Manufacturer podcast, editorial director Nick Peters, and his guest Chris White discuss why manufacturers must press politicians not to let a positive industrial strategy for the UK fall victim to petty politics.

Selling our stuff. UK exports hit a record-breaking high of £639.9bn in the 2018/19 financial year according to latest statistics.

An electric journey. RS Components is the world’s largest distributor of electronic, electrical and industrial components. Freestyle’s Oliver Forrester sat down with its President of EMEA, Mike England to hear how he turns theory into practice and inspires digital transformation on a global scale.

Peter Saunders, co-founder of Mackinnon & Saunders is pictured – image courtesy of Mackinnon & Saunders.

The puppet master. From making Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, we spoke to the blockbuster worthy puppet maker behind some of hollywood’s most animated characters.

Stick to what they know. From masking tape to med-tech, adhesive part maker BDK has a dynamic yet secure history. Today, it remains on a roll.

Things are better in blocks. Blockchain is a method of logging data in blocks, a digital ledger of transaction, agreements and contracts linked in a time-sequenced chain. The opportunities of blockchain could be huge for manufacturing, but so are the obstacles.

Money matters more. The role of the industrial finance director has changed in response to a once-in-a-generation transformation of process and systems. Some businesses have recognised this and acted accordingly. Many haven’t, and the clock is ticking.

AG Barr factory - Image Barr
AG Barr makes fizzy drinks like IRN-BRU – image AG Barr.

Inside IRN-BRU. AG Barr puts the fizz and fun in its soft drinks. We visited its Milton Keynes factory to learn how it has quenched the nation’s thirst for almost 150 years.

The ‘haretoise’ hybrid. We now live in a multi-speed world that is creating cultural conflict between ‘industrials’ and ‘digitals’. Now, leaders are learning how to bring the best of both animals together.

People power. If employers managed their people better, they could solve productivity problems and add £110bn to Britain’s economy, a new report has found.