The adoption of robotics and automation in UK manufacturing has the potential to improve productivity, efficiency and quality across multiple sectors, delegates at a Manufacturing Technology Centre conference were told recently.
And it's not just traditional manufacturing industries that can reap the benefits of robotics. Speakers at the two-day conference - Robotics and Automation - A New Perspective, emphasised that automation could also solve problems in agriculture, logistics, construction and space.
Labour shortages, skills shortages and low productivity were all problems that could be solved by the adoption of robotics and automation according to speakers at the conference, which explored the future and opportunities of automation in UK industry.
More than 300 delegates from a wide range of industries shared insights into the transformational benefits of cutting edge robotic technologies and heard how automation can improve productivity and drive global competitiveness for UK businesses.
Keynote speaker Mark Pawsey, who is co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Manufacturing and MP for Rugby, said the successful adoption of automation and robotics was important for UK manufacturing. Tim Baines, professor of operations strategy at Aston Business School and co-founder of the Advanced Services Group, explained how businesses could benefit from the adoption of high value, service-based business models.
Topics covered at the conference included overcoming barriers to adoption and meeting the challenges presented by automation. Other sessions looked at the solutions that automation presents to meet industry's sustainability and net zero goals, and the opportunities for robotics in education, providing a fascinating insight into modern engineering methods to enthuse students.
Industrial equipment manufacturers, robotics manufacturers and system integrators were able to showcase their products and services to the audience of manufacturing leaders and decision makers.
Mike Wilson, chief automation officer at the MTC, said: “The most significant output from this conference was that it got people talking about robotics and automation and the positive benefits. There was a real buzz about the event which stimulated interest and contributed to our aim of building a community to share knowledge and experience.
He added: “These events aim to instil confidence in companies to transform their future. It encourages SMEs and supply chain companies to explore ground-breaking and innovative industrial robotic solutions so they can understand how their manufacturing operations would benefit. It also demonstrates how the technology can be brought to bear across a wide range of sectors.”
Manufacturing Technology Centre