Policy-makers and business leaders need to grasp the importance of automation to the growth of UK manufacturing, a leading figure in the industry has warned.
“It’s not about robots, but about intelligent control, computers and software,” Steve Brambles, deputy director of the automation trade organisation Gambica, told E&T.
Gambica and Intellect, representing the IT industry, are organising a joint conference in London on 6 March to promote automation and its benefits to industry and the economy.
‘Automated Britain – The Renaissance of UK Manufacturing’ aims to share best practice by having senior executives from the automation and manufacturing industries jointly present case studies on successful uses of automation to improve competitiveness.
The event will also explore whether there are any perceived obstacles that discourage industry from making more investments of this type.
Many automation companies provide educational and consultancy programmes, and some have introduced financing schemes. An Intellect spokesman said: “In these uncertain times, it is important for manufacturing industry to have the message reinforced that the government understands the challenges it faces and is supportive.”
Gambica points out that automation technology is a strength of the UK and a manufacturing industry in its own right. It contributes over £5bn per year to the economy and employs around 100,000 people. It represents a strategic growth market for the UK advanced electronics value-chain, which requires high-mix low-volume production of products that can’t be made in low-cost countries.
Find out more about the Automated Britain event.