Made Smarter Innovation – advancing UK Manufacturing

Posted on: 26/06/2023

Uniting people with the digital tools, innovation and skills to make an everyday business difference.

The UK is becoming a global leader in advanced digital technologies, from start-ups and SMEs to large developers of automated digital capabilities. Manufacturing has evolved so much through the integration of these emerging technologies.

Made Smarter Innovation helps businesses find smart solutions to improve capacity, maximise efficiency, reduce lead times, and increase profits. Made Smarter Innovation works with UK manufacturers on their innovation journey, providing access to the latest opportunities and technologies, building a collaboration network between businesses to better engage in the manufacturing sector and generate resilient supply chains, boost productivity, and create high-value solutions that will shape the future of manufacturing in the UK.

The innovation and adoption of digital technologies could lead to billions in sector growth for UK manufacturers. Made Smarter Innovation Network (MSIN) supports UK manufacturing be more productive, competitive, and sustainable, by creating a powerful ecosystem of innovative industrial digital technologies (IDTs) providers who are developing leading-edge technological capabilities. These digital technologies will play an instrumental role in the success of the sector, by introducing processes such as additive manufacturing; data analytics/AI/ML, immersive technologies including AR, VR, XR; industrial internet of things (IIoT); robotics and automation; and the use of sensor technologies across supply chains.

The mission towards decarbonisation and Net Zero will be greatly influenced by the advancement of these “clean technologies”. Make and Use will also benefit from these technologies, whilst securing resilient supply chains and unlocking economic benefits for the UK. Manufacturing is a key stakeholder in reimagining the resourcing and use of materials, as well as the way products are manufactured. The sector will thrive by adopting these innovative solutions and work towards exploring the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the full product lifecycle.

The Materials & Manufacturing Vision 2050 provides an extensive overview of the UK’s core focus areas for these sectors and what the enabling areas are.

Our vision is for UK materials and manufacturing in 2050 to be sustainable, safe, thriving, agile and resilient, and able to adapt to rapid advances and to support their operating environment. Materials and manufacturing will be technologically advanced, and their impact will be net zero and sustainable.

Knowledge Transfer Manager for Industrial Technologies and Manufacturing at Innovate UK KTN, Raluca Popovici, said: 

Manufacturing is the backbone of the UK economy and plays a very important role in helping the UK achieve a Net Zero future. This will be achieved through innovation, adoption, and implementation of so called ‘clean technologies’, bringing the manufacturing sector into the digital domain using AI and robotics. Upskilling individuals in these industrial digital technologies will play a pivotal role. These processes not only create a more efficient, productive, and self-sustainable supply chain, but also create safer working environments.

Innovation Alley, at Smart Factory Expo 2023, showcased the excitement and future thinking approach of start-ups and SMEs exploring the manufacturing market through the deployment of innovative digital technologies.

The future of advance manufacturing lies in the use of a full spectrum of AI technologies (machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, digital twins, and analysing, processing, and sharing data sets), alongside the implementation of robotics and automation on the factory floor. These technologies would not replace humans, but work with them, to help build a thriving manufacturing sector for the UK.

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