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The manufacturing industry is one of the most economically important and lucrative sectors in the UK. In fact, the UK is currently the ninth-largest manufacturing country in the world. The total value of UK manufacturers’ product sales was estimated to be £396.6bn in 2019 and the industry as a whole contributed around 11% of the GVA. All this indicates just how crucial innovation and progression of this sector are to the overall growth of the UK economy. 

Several factors have contributed to the steady growth of the manufacturing industry. Production of high-quality goods, the introduction of new and improved processes and technology, a better-skilled and qualified workforce, and most importantly, increased investment in R&D, have contributed to more innovation and sustained growth of the manufacturing sector. Technology has been the driving force of progress in this industry so far and is expected to continue being one in the future. Here are some of the key manufacturing trends that industries will need to adapt to succeed in 2022 and beyond.

  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Industrial Internet of Things is where interconnected devices from manufacturing and industrial settings are used to collect data that can be used to enhance the manufacturing process. Manufacturing companies can get vital information about the performance and limitations of their equipment through data collecting devices like sensors and optimise their maintenance processes accordingly to get better efficiency and productivity. IIoT is also helping manufacturers speed up response times, improve safety, and identify opportunities to cut costs, all by gathering valuable data through specialised devices. 

  • Predictive Maintenance

Using AI and IoT sensor data, manufacturing companies can now perform remote monitoring and predictive maintenance and improve the efficiency of machines and reduce downtime. Equipment breakdowns result in huge repair bills, disruptive downtime, and the loss of productivity, all of which are extremely costly for manufacturers. Predictive maintenance and remote monitoring help them devise performance metrics, monitor equipment performance, automate data collection, and reduce the number of unexpected outages. Thus helping manufacturers get the most out of their equipment and improve their productivity and output.

  • Digital Twins

Digital Twin technology uses AI and machine learning to simulate any physical process or object such as the entire supply chain or a new product’s dimensions or a digital replica of the equipment to understand how it operates under specific conditions. Most manufacturing companies are already using digital twin technology for simulation and evaluation. By adopting this trend, manufacturers can improve production efficiency and subsequently the quality of products and profits.

  • Collaborative Robots (Cobots)

Collaborative robots are programmed to perform repetitive tasks and work alongside humans who are responsible for problem-solving. They can be used to carry out several functions with precision, like measurement of components in the assembly line, using cameras and sensors to detect defects in products inspecting products for defects using cameras and sensors, and carrying out recurring tasks like sanding, grinding, welding, etc. 

  • 3D Printing

3D printing or additive manufacturing is one of the most efficient ways of manufacturing products by utilising fewer materials and drastically reducing the cost of production. It allows manufacturers to produce items on demand instead of in bulk, thereby also reducing the cost of storage. Everything from testing new prototypes and modifying products based on feedback to troubleshooting issues swiftly and effectively is possible with 3D printing. Put simply, it allows the manufacturers to reduce outsourcing and increase localised manufacturing. 

Manufacturing businesses have a lot to gain by adopting these new technological trends. Just like they have a lot of gain from the government’s R&D Tax Credit scheme. Innovative manufacturers can claim thousands in tax credits and gain funding for their pioneering R&D. To learn more about claiming R&D Tax Credits in manufacturing, contact us at 0800 035 2510 or email us at info@data-fox.com.