£300m to Boost UK Manufacturing Productivity by 30%
Earlier this week, Manufacturing News Wales reported that technologically innovative businesses in UK manufacturing, e.g. businesses using Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence, will receive £300 million of government and industry funding via the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge.
The £147 million invested by the government, and additional funding from industry, is intended to support the integration of new technology to increase productivity in manufacturing. This will further create many new high-skill jobs, attain new customers, reduce consumer prices, and reduce carbon emissions.
Fourteen cutting-edge manufacturing projects will be funded by the first £50 million; these will involve 29 larger businesses, 30 small or medium enterprises, and nine universities. Some of the winning projects include:
- Dialog – based in Flintshire, Dialog integrates human-interacting and automatic robots, allowing machines to make better and faster decisions in an efficient and affordable way.
- Smart Connected Shop Floor – GKN Aerospace, based in Bristol, is leading a multi-sector team testing digital technologies such as AR headsets for engineers. Smart devices will also be used to exchange information between outdated and more modern computer systems.
- The Digital Sandwich (Digitised Food Supply Chain) – based in Chelmsford, leading UK sandwich supplier Raynor Foods Ltd is developing major software that will enable catering businesses to connect online and share data, improving cash flow, boosting food quality, increasing productivity, and reducing waste.
- WeldZero – this West Midlands project will utilise sensors, automation, and robots to weld metal in production, improving accuracy and the general manufacturing process. The machines will hasten production in the automotive and construction industries via collecting and giving valuable data feedback, in addition to making stronger, higher quality parts.
The programme will further support SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) via government and private sector partnerships in which experts will work with businesses to recognise obstacles to growth and how to overcome them. A national network of innovation ‘hubs’ will also be made, allowing businesses to share advice or partner, sparking ideas and growth.
Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, is quoted to have said that the support of these ground-breaking projects will drive economic recovery in the UK via increasing productivity. Secretary of State for Wale, Simon Hart, has further stated that Wales’ existing industry can be vital for the next manufacturing generation, and the aim is to develop a resilient economy in Wales via manufacturing with the UK government’s commitment.
The article concludes by stating that the UK government will spend 2.4% of GDP on R&D throughout the economy by 2027 to earn power and boost productivity.