Robotics and 3D printing to boost UK economy

Greg Clark and Juergan Maier talk to workers in Hull

P​roposals to boost the ​UK ​economy using robotics, 3D​ ​printing, virtual reality ​and artificial intelligence​ have been unveiled this morning​ with the publication of the Industrial​ ​Digitalisation Review.

The report said that around 175,000 manufacturing jobs could be created over the next decade under a "fourth industrial revolution" using advanced digital technology.

​It also said that m​anufacturing could be boosted by £455​bn over ​the next ​10 years and the sector could grow by up to 3​ per cent​ a year.

Chaired by Siemens UK CEO Professor Juergen Maier, the ​r​eview brings together recommendations from over 200 stakeholders,​ ​including ​high profile ​companies such as Rolls Royce, GKN, IBM, and Accenture.

​Professor Maier said: “The business and​ ​academic community has set out a vision for much greater ambition needed for Britain to be​ ​a world leader in the fourth industrial revolution.

​"​Industry is committed to working in​ ​partnership with Government, and this combined package of measures will boost UK growth​ ​and productivity in manufacturing and provide more exports and increased earning potential,​ ​which our economy desperately needs.​"​

​Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The UK manufacturing sector has the potential to​ ​be a global leader in the industrial digital technology revolution.

​"​Government and industry​ ​must work together to seize the opportunities that exist in this sector and promote the​ ​benefits of adopting emerging digital technologies, as well as cutting edge business models.”

The Government’s ​recent ​Industrial Strategy Green Paper identified industrial​ ​digitalisation as one of five potential early sector deals and the ​r​eview kick​-​started work with​ ​stakeholders to identify opportunities for how ​G​overnment and industry can work together.

​​​Professor Maier​​ said: “Our Made Smarter proposals will help business understand, deploy and create the latest​ ​digital technologies, helping to secure more homegrown R&D and the creation of new​ ​industries and highly skilled well paid jobs​.

​"​The proposals build on the UK’s natural​ ​technology strengths, whilst setting out a framework to encourage entrepreneurs to develop​ ​new technologies that help manufacturers.​"

​CBI​ d​irector ​g​eneral Carolyn Fairbairn said​ t​he business community ha​d​ pulled together​ ​to shape recommendations that will speed up technology adoption and bring new​ ​energy to the manufacturing sector.

​"​The UK must compete with China, the USA and much of​ ​Europe where there are already advanced plans to embrace the fourth industrial revolution​," she said​.

​"​I​ ​urge the ​G​overnment to consider these plans carefully, as they are focused on increasing​ ​productivity and wages, especially in smaller businesses.”

​​The ​r​eview ​received​ ​substantive input from ​companies such as ​​digital and software​ ​​firm ​Vertizan ​and computer controlled​​​​ machine manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak​.​

Sean Redmond​,​ CEO of Vertizan, ​said: “Smaller businesses​ ​that are growing at scale, especially industrial companies need support learning about how​ ​digitalisation can help their business grow.

​"​The proposals could help the UK to catch up with​ ​international competitors who have long sought to take advantage of this new industrial​ ​revolution. We want to make industrial digitalisation accessible, understandable and​ ​practically useful to firms up and down the country.​"​

The ​review​'s proposals include​ training​ ​a million industrial workers to ​increase ​the use of ​digital technologies​ ​and the creation of 12 Digital Innovation Hubs and​ ​five digital research centres​.

​The review received ​input from academic​ ​institutions such as the University of Cambridge and the University of Newcastle and the R&D​ ​centres of excellence such as the Digital Catapult.

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