Jack Semple, Secretary of EAMA highlights a new report that aims to promote debate within businesses and among policy makers, on the adoption of automation and robotics. The report, Robotics and Automation – A New Perspective, is from the Industrial Policy Research Centre (IPRC) at Loughborough University and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
It calls for more support for firms, to help them with adoption at every stage:
- identifying opportunities;
- getting workforce buy-in;
- selecting suppliers;
- ensuring they have the right skills; and
- implementing solutions.
It also calls for:
- knowledge-sharing across industry and the automation supply chain in order to develop, demonstrate, test and de-risk affordable and deployable automation, targeting those UK manufacturers who have under-invested in the past.
- better training, particularly short courses which don't take key people out of the business for long periods of time. (The HVMC published a report two months ago that said a workforce crisis in UK manufacturing, and acute skills gap that prevents manufacturers exploiting new technologies.)
- specific emphasis on getting SMEs to adopt automation and robotics technology, possibly through an extension to the Made Smarter programme.
- stronger networks, specifically for robots and automation, to encourage more cooperation and communication, to share knowledge and expertise, and to represent the sector to other parties, including government.
Professor Chris White of the IPRC said that the acceleration of the introduction of robotics and automation into production and the adoption of new technology generally will create a revolution in the way it thinks about manufacturing and its culture. The future of manufacturing will be as clean, safe and as exciting as our imagination will allow.
Further information on the use of transformational technologies can be found by contacting the MTC at email@example.com.
We are keen to spark productive debate within our sector and with government and would welcome comment and queries, which will be in confidence.