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Future of Manufacturing Q4 2022

Manufacturing salvation lies with decarbonisation for growth

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Mykyta Dolmatov

James Selka DL 

CEO, Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA)

To take advantage of new opportunities arising through technological developments such as decarbonisation, UK manufacturers are urged to invest for growth.

The MTA encourages UK manufacturers to take a mid-to-long-term view and continue investing in the latest technology, enabling them to make step-change improvements in productivity and competitiveness and hasten return on investment. By doing so, they position themselves to take advantage of new opportunities which arise through technological developments; developments such as decarbonisation and the path to a net zero economy.

Economic uplift

The MTA has been advocating the benefits of decarbonisation for several years following the publication of our report ‘Decarbonisation – Future Growth for Manufacturing.’ The conclusion was that if the UK embraced green manufacturing, then the benefits would be tangible, with between £8–20 billion added to the GDP and somewhere between 400,000 to 1 million new jobs. Decarbonisation will inevitably provide the uplift the economy needs.

The skills and ingenuity of the UK’s engineering and manufacturing technologies communities are actively developing innovative new products and services that position the UK at the heart of the decarbonisation revolution. It boosts not just near and offshoring but helps to revitalise GDP through export growth.

Decarbonisation will inevitably provide the uplift the economy needs.

Energy-saving efforts

One of our members, a major manufacturer of machining centres, has developed machines that use hybrid technology to store energy for future use as well as controllers to ensure spindles only use power when in use — not standby. This results in far less energy used on their current machines than even a decade ago — with potential cost savings across a five-year period running to tens of thousands of pounds in electricity bills alone.

Future-proofing business

There are hundreds more examples, and all serve to demonstrate why manufacturers — by investing in energy-efficient technology — are helping to offset energy cost increases, future-proof their businesses and help balance the cost of doing business. It won’t always be easy; but unless we evolve now, then we risk losing out on new opportunities.

Skills development programmes will be vital in teaching today’s generation how best to use the technology shaping their future. At our MACH 2022 exhibition, energy-efficient technology and decarbonisation were major themes, and we expect this to continue for MACH 2024 and beyond.

If the advance bookings for 2024 are anything to go by, then there is no shortage of interest amongst manufacturers for investment — and long may this continue.

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