Recommendations made in a recent industry study, Application of Automation in UK Manufacturing 27 Sept 2010, resulted in BIS funding of £600,000K and a two year BARA Automating Manufacturing Programme which looks to address barriers that UK manufacturers face.
The study, which polled a broad spectrum of manufacturers of engineered products and food in Spain, Germany, Sweden and the UK, not only aimed to find out why the UK lags behind the rest of the world in the adoption of automation, but looked to address the issues with an action plan of initiatives to stimulate growth. International Federation of Robotics figures on robot density (number of robots in use per 10,000 persons employed) for all manufacturing sectors excluding automotive, illustrated the poor position of the UK which was at 19% of Germany and only 62% of Spain in 2009.
Martin Walder, Chairman of the Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA), commented: “By comparing UK companies with similar businesses in Germany, Spain and Sweden this study highlights our weakness in automation. If UK manufacturing is to remain competitive we have to act now.”
Results from the study, which was commissioned by members of the Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA) with support from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and sponsored by BARA (the British Automation and Robot Association) and its members, concluded that the main reasons for UK manufacturers’ lack of investment in modern manufacturing technologies were due to lack of knowledge, skills and confidence.
The Automating Manufacturing Programme will include a series of regional events during 2011 commencing at the end of March, which will help SME’s understand the benefits of automation and provide advice on how to take the first steps in their adoption of automation. This will be supported by the provision of impartial expertise, part funded by the government and commencing early summer, to provide assistance to companies who wish to progress further.