The 2022 edition of the MTA Basic Facts, which summarises the data for the manufacturing technology sector in the UK, has just been published.

This edition has the figures up to 2021 and focuses on the four elements of the sector for which published data is readily available – machine tools, cutting tools, tool/work-holding equipment and metrology (measuring) equipment.  For each of these sectors we report data on production, exports and imports from which we calculate consumption;  we also list the top trading partners for each of the categories.

We estimate that compared to 2020, UK production of manufacturing technology equipment across these 4 categories has increased to £2.1 billion with this growth coming mainly from machine tools and metrology equipment.  There has also been a significant increase in exports although this is driven mainly by the metrology group in which the classifications are very broad so it is hard to be certain if this actually comes from “our” part of this group of products.  With imports only growing marginally in 2021, we estimate a fall in the UK demand for manufacturing technology equipment to £1.7 billion although our caveat about classifications also applies here.

Other charts look at the picture for investment, tracking the UK history as well as an international comparison – investment is a key driver of demand for machinery.  Similarly, we track the output data of four key end-user industries – in this case, a good pointer for tooling demand.  In this context, we have a mixed picture with some recovery in output for the metal products industry and signs of the automotive industry emerging from its supply chain constrains;  on the other hand, aerospace is stubbornly refusing to show any recovery beyond the initial (and modest) post-pandemic bounce and the machinery industry has seen output levels falling back from a peak in the 3rd quarter of 2021.

Manufacturing investment had a partial recovery in 2021 and while it is back to the 2017 level, we are still short of the total reached at the peak of the cycle in 2018/19.  For the international comparisons we have to use the figures for total fixed investment and these paint a more gloomy picture with the UK returning to the bottom of the pile with almost no growth meaning that, thanks to its recovery, Brazil overtook us.

A full copy can be found at: Basic Facts 2022 | MTA – Manufacturing Technologies Association

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