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.
And it's not just traditional manufacturing industries that can reap the benefits of robotics. Speakers at the MTC's two-day conference - Robotics and Automation - A New Perspective emphasised that automation could solve problems in the agriculture, logistics, construction and space sectors.
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 of automation in UK industry and demonstrated the opportunities available.
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.
The event, which built on a successful conference in 2022, expanded on the recommendations of a report by MTC robotics experts and the Industrial Policy Research Centre at Loughborough University which called for more knowledge-sharing across the robotics community, with an emphasis on skills, as well as a greater understanding among the investor and finance community of the business benefits of automation.
Mike Wilson, chief automation officer at the MTC, said
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