Manufacturing underpins the success of our economy. The UK is the world’s 11th largest manufacturing nation, employing 2.6m people, making up 50% of exports and accounting for 69% of business R&D. Although recent months have been very challenging to manufacturing, with economic turmoil, uncertainty regarding the forthcoming EU referendum, and the Steel crisis all taking their toll, UK Manufacturing has shown remarkable resilience.
With global consumption expected to double by 2030, UK Manufacturing has the opportunity to continue to:
- perform strongly
- compete at the global stage
- strengthen its export position
- grow its contribution to the national GVA, which currently stands at 9.5%
So what is key to our success?
The UK is the world’s 2nd largest aerospace manufacturer and expected global demand for 27,000 passenger aircraft (worth around $3.7tr) by 2030 is a compelling commercial prospect.
The UK automotive industry also continues to excel, particularly in the premium vehicle market.
Exciting developments in (nuclear) energy, medical technologies and healthcare, built environment and agri-food, are equally set to see global export opportunities for the UK.
The more digitalised world of the 4th industrial revolution will create new business opportunities.
Connected, flexible factories will respond to customer requirements and monitor products from the factory floor right through to end of life. Big data will inform design and manufacturing processes.
New technologies such as Additive Manufacturing (or 3D printing) and intelligent automation will broaden horizons.
New value from through life engineering services
There is a move towards through-life-engineering services, with users opting to pay for safe, cost-effective and reliable performance, rather than owning products outright.
For complex, high value assets – e.g. aerospace engines, cars, yellow goods – in particular, manufacturers won’t just make the assets, but remain responsible for timely maintenance and on-going improvements. This gives users more certainty whilst manufacturers gain access to a growing market of – high value – engineering services.
For the UK to capitalise on these opportunities, we need to be at the forefront of technology innovation.
High Value Manufacturing Catapult: supports manufacturing innovation
At the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, our 1,800+ strong team of engineers, technicians and scientists work with manufacturers to bridge the gap between early stage innovation in materials, processes or products, and commercial exploitation through UK manufactured products.
We have worked with 1,500+ companies in the last 12 months. More than half were SMEs.
Helping UK SMEs develop
The biggest motivator in my job is seeing how working with us has helped them:
- increase market share
- enter supply chains
- re-shore production
- build new facilities
- achieve step change productivity improvements
Government support for manufacturing
My second biggest motivator is the fact that government now recognises Manufacturing as being key to a balanced economy.
The recent Comprehensive Spending Review saw government support for the HVM Catapult more than double from the original plan.
This, combined with on-going close collaboration with Innovate UK and a strong manufacturing strategy, gives me much confidence for the future.
Because making things matters!
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