What does 2018 have in store for UK manufacturing?

Released: Thursday 7th December 2017 at 14:03

Writing in the national journal 'Manufacturing Management', Dr David Baglee, a Reader in Advanced Maintenance in our Faculty of Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, gives his thoughts on the UK's manufacturing sector in the coming year.

"Recently, the development of new Information and communications technologies has triggered a revolution in manufacturing and this is set to continue.

"The UK manufacturing sector is slowly embracing this new industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0. In 2018 and beyond, Industry 4.0 will offer vast opportunities for UK manufacturers to attract and develop a new generation of skilled employees, create new products and services and expand into new supply chains.

"However, in order to embrace fully Industry 4.0 and the new opportunities for UK manufacturing the ever-present skills shortage will need to be addressed.

"The demand for employees with manufacturing and related skills is higher than supply. Industry driven training or re-training, new academic engineering programmes, which focus on digital technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, are under development in many companies and universities.

"However, modern manufacturing involves more than just making things therefore time is needed to identify the jobs of today and the future and ensure our training and teaching programmes are able to adapt to the every changing manufacturing environment thereby creating not just specialised skills but cross cutting skills for communication, creative thinking and problem-solving.

"Couple this with digital technologies to improve speed, efficiency and accuracy UK manufacturing will develop a highly skilled, technologically advanced world leading workforce for next year and beyond." 

About Dr David Baglee

Dr Baglee obtained his PhD from Sunderland in 2005, where he is currently a Reader in Advanced Maintenance. He is also a Visiting Professor of Operations and Maintenance at the University of Lulea, Sweden and a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Maryland USA. His research interests include advanced maintenance management strategies, condition-monitoring technologies and advanced manufacturing techniques and technologies to support maintenance strategy development; this includes Big Data systems, Industry 4 and the use of Virtual Reality to design new manufacturing systems.  He has more than 100 conference and international journal publications, 15 invited and keynote presentations and four book chapters. He is currently working with an international colleague on a book, which will combine new approaches to maintenance supported by a number of case study examples.

Dr Baglee has also worked on a number of local, national and international projects including the Framework programmes 5 and 6, as well as working with large multi-national companies including Nissan, Volvo, Seat, Fiat, BP and a large number of research and academic institutions.