UK Manufacturing boosted by £300mn Government funding
The news was confirmed by Business Secretary Alok Sharma at London Tech Week on Friday (11 September).
Through the Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge, the government is set to invest £147 million to support businesses introduce new technology that accelerates their manufacturing productivity, help reach new customers and create thousands of new highly skilled jobs.
The initial £50 million of the funding will be allocated to 14 state-of-the-art manufacturing projects, involving around 30 SMBs, 29 larger businesses and nine universities, with the remaining funds due over the next five years.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Increasing productivity is vital for any business, and having the right new technologies in place can help manufacturers make better products to compete and thrive.
“By helping manufacturers to reduce costs, cut waste, and slash the time it takes to develop their products, this multi-million pound uplift will help fire up the cylinders of productivity as we build back better from the pandemic.”
One of the successful projects - the Digital Designer Robot - aims to offer machine-to-person ‘digital assistance’. When a business requires a bespoke product, it will be able to utilise a digital robot to help design it and upload the design quickly onto a supplier’s website to allow the product to be sampled, prototyped and manufactured by the supplier.
The virtual assistant would then also provide expert advice and guidance, by asking questions to businesses, responding to feedback and offering suggestions. This reduces the time it takes to manufacture products, while cutting costs and waste due to more precise design processes.
The Manufacturing Made Smarter programmes will also help support technology SMEs through growth accelerators - partnerships between the government and the private sector where experts will work with businesses to determine ways to overcome barriers to growth. It will also create a national network of innovation hubs which allows businesses to partner and share advice to accelerate growth.