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Future of Manufacturing & Transport Q4 2023

Sustainable solutions set to revive sovereign manufacturing

Modern car welding assembly robots with a dark environment 3d render
Modern car welding assembly robots with a dark environment 3d render
iStock / Getty Images Plus / studio-fi

James Selka

CEO, The Manufacturing Technologies Association

The UK must re-establish itself as a sovereign manufacturer or face oblivion as it slips further behind global competitors in terms of the adoption of new technology.

The UK’s economic growth is currently one of the slowest of the G7; characterised by low productivity, low wages and poor investment. Reversing the decline is imperative, and the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) will use its flagship event, MACH 2024, to launch an initiative designed to help UK manufacturers become more competitive while improving their efficiency and sustainability.

United front on UK technology uptake

The MTA is part of a united front by UK manufacturing organisations, along with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and MACH 2024 headline sponsor Lloyds Bank — intent on increasing the uptake of technologies such as automation and robotics.

The Hubs will focus on educating users on when and how to adopt new technologies such as automation and robotics, data and artificial intelligence (AI) for manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing towards net zero and the use of additive manufacturing techniques. To help make the UK more automation and robotics-focused, the Hubs aim to educate companies on how technology can be used to automate many processes to improve productivity.

Also focused on the adoption of data and AI in manufacturing, it explores the latest technology designed to help manufacturing achieve agility through improved production processes while reducing costs and streamlining the supply chain.

Optimising AI benefits for industry

The need for this approach was brought into sharp focus following the release of new figures highlighting the UK’s lack of investment in technology and its poor adoption of robotics in the industry. The figures1 show the UK currently languishing outside the top 20 economic powers for the utilisation of industrial robots in manufacturing – lagging behind not just the economic superpowers but also the likes of Spain and Finland.

James Selka DL, CEO of the MTA, says: “Our Knowledge Hubs at MACH 2024 aim to reverse the decline and enable the UK to re-establish itself as a sovereign manufacturer. To do that, we have to recognise the importance of investing in the latest technologies for improving manufacturing efficiency and optimising productivity. Our role is to help UK manufacturers focus on the new technology and provide impartial advice and wayfinding on when and how to adopt.”

The MACH 2024 initiative is taking place at the NEC, Birmingham from 15–19 April 2024.

Learn more at

[1] International Federation of Robotics: World Robotics 2023 Report: Asia ahead of Europe and the Americas

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