The Manufacturer: Most read news stories of 2017

The Manufacturer covered hundreds of announcements, investments, insights and opinions throughout 2017. Here are 10 of the most shared and popular.

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The UK now has an annual output worth almost $250bn.

UK now world’s eighth largest industrial nation

The country returned from their collective summer holidays to the news that the UK had leapfrogged France to become the world’s eighth largest manufacturer by output – less than a year after climbing to ninth.

New data revealed that the UK now has an annual output worth almost $250bn, and if current growth continues, could break in to the top five by 2020.

Govt unveils new Industrial Strategy

Unsurprisingly, the publication of government’s long-awaited Industrial Strategy piqued the interest of many a manufacturer. Setting out a long-term vision for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, the plan hopes to address the UK’s stuttering productivity performance, technological disruption, future skills, infrastructure investment, and greater connectivity.

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Robots don’t steal jobs, they create them

Contrary to popular speculation that robots could replace large swathes of British jobs, new data exclusively shared with The Manufacturer revealed that the majority of industry professionals (63%) had never witnessed job losses as a result of the introduction of robots or automated processes.

The Manufacturer MX Awards 2017: The winners are…

The Manufacturer MX Awards 2017 Gala Dinner and Ceremony - image courtesy of The Manufacturer.
The Manufacturer MX Awards 2017 Gala Dinner and Ceremony – image courtesy of The Manufacturer.

Similarly, the news of who won big at The Manufacturer MX Awards 2017 proved incredibly popular.

The culmination of an intense four-month independent judging process, where 28 hand-picked expert judges collectively travelled more than 9,000 miles to visit 49 rigorous site visits, saw 15 awards presented, including the much coveted The Manufacturer of the Year.

The Manufacturer Top 100 2017 officially revealed

The launch of the latest The Manufacturer Top 100 report was big news. The annual list of the UK’s most inspiring and influential individuals working in manufacturing and engineering was sponsored by Salesforce for the second consecutive year, and was launched at an exclusive drinks reception in Liverpool.

Rolls-Royce to build £250 hub in Coventry

In November, the aerospace giant announced it was leading a £250m regeneration of 200 acres of land located immediately south of Ansty Park in Coventry – home of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). Within the 200 acres (or 2 million sqft), Rolls-Royce is expected to establish a cutting-edge manufacturing facility, producing fan cases for its large civil aero engines.

Aerospace manufacturer reveals £53m transformation

Icon’s product range has mirrored the physical business’ evolution, steadily producing more innovative and technologically-advanced engineered products - image courtesy of Icon Aerospace Technology.
Icon’s product range has mirrored the physical business’ evolution, steadily producing more innovative and technologically-advanced engineered products – image courtesy of Icon Aerospace Technology.

In June, The Manufacturer spoke to Tim Pryce, the CEO of Nottinghamshire-based Icon Aerospace Technology.

Pryce revealed the multi-million-pound new and renewed contracts the business had secured since introducing its Continuous Improvement Programme just 12 months previously.

Unplanned downtime affecting 82% of businesses

The majority of companies have experienced at least one unplanned downtime outage over the past three years, lasting an average of four hours. Stoppages were found to be costing businesses around $260,000 an hour, according to the major global study. The issue is being compounded by the 70% of companies which haven’t yet taken advantage of digital tools and the insights they can provide – particularly around preventative and predictive maintenance.

New graphene structure world’s strongest & lightest material

The year got off to a positive start with the news that new graphene material had been developed that is 10-times stronger than steel, but only 5% of its density. The lightweight material was produced by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) using a high-resolution, multi-material 3D printer.

New infrared Wi-Fi 100-times faster than normal

The new technology would replace existing WiFi routers. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The new technology could replace existing Wi-Fi routers – image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Dutch researchers have found a way to address the global problem of slow Wi-Fi, creating a network which could allow users to connect to the internet significantly faster than is currently possible.

The step-change in speed in could allow a more efficient transfer and download of large data files and is expected to be available within five years.