Good morning and welcome to this week’s Friday Brief.
A new report on the size UK manufacturing sector was issued this week by the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, building on work the MTA commissioned from Oxford Economics last year. It gives a good picture of the reality of modern manufacturing which adds value through much more than production in factories: R&D, Product Service, Supplier Management, Marketing and ultimately Reuse, Recycling and Disposal, are all big parts of the picture. More details and the full report can be found below.
The MTA recently met Official at the Department for Education to discuss the new T Levels. There are big questions still unanswered about what the Engineering T Level will look like and how it will work; more below.
On 10th October at the AMRC Factory 2050 in Sheffield, the MTA is co-hosting an event to give our members another chance to see the Digital meet Manufacturing joint project, first demonstrated at MACH 2018. The project saw legacy machine tools retrofitted with sensors to provide accurate data about operating condition and performance, given by embracing Industry 4.0 technology.
We would like to invite all members to an exclusive webinar hosted by an Employment Law Specialist to address and explain everything you need to know about recent changes in employment law. This session is run by Croner and will be held on Tuesday 25 June, 10am – 11am, and will be covering a variety of topics, see the story below for full details.
The EURIS Taskforce, a body of trade organisations representing UK manufacturing worth £148 billion in turnover and with 1.1 million employees of which the MTA is a member, has this week written to all Conservative leadership candidates to highlight that no-deal should not be an option in the Brexit debate. More on this below.
Robotics and automation are among the key technologies for ensuring lasting international success. Cobots interact directly with humans and give manufacturing companies a competitive edge in the market. At EMO Hannover 2019, trade visitors will find countless automation solutions and collaborative robots aimed at enhancing productivity, see within the Brief for full details on this story.
Racing cars and robots are taking over the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) for the Primary Engineer celebration to recognise the region’s budding young engineers. The University of Sheffield AMRC teamed up with a national not-for-profit organisation Primary Engineer last year to develop local teachers’ engineering skills and inspire children to see themselves as the problem-solvers and innovators of the future. Find out about the work they are doing in the story below.
The UK manufacturing output data this week made very gloomy reading, although it is mainly the one-off effect (that should largely be reversed in May) of the automotive companies moving their maintenance shutdowns from the summer to April as a hedge against Brexit which was due to take place on 29th March that lies behind this sharp fall in activity; in turn, this dragged down the monthly GDP growth figure, although weakness in the service sector is also a factor here. We examine the implications of these figures in two items in the economic news section this week, noting that the downturn in activity is likely to have been compounded by the seasonal adjustment used in the manufacturing output and GDP data calculations - while seasonal adjustment can handle things like the change in the timing of Easter which affects the number of working days, it cannot deal with changes in the timing of things like the maintenance shutdowns that are still typical of the Automotive industry; normally, this only applies between July and August, so has little impact on quarterly trends, but the Brexit led change in 2019 will stand forever as an anomaly in the data. The European industrial production data was also gloomy and continues to point to a downturn, although not quite to the level of the sharp dip we saw in December 2018; of most concern is that the largest country fall in output over the past year was in Germany. Our other piece this week looks briefly at the figures for the UK’s exports and imports of machine tools for the 1st quarter of 2019.
Thank you so much for reading this week’s Friday Brief, we’ll be back next week with more industry news and views, until then have a great weekend from everyone at the MTA.