Innovate UK outline its vision for the future of the UK's manufacturing industry

2 min read

<b>What does the future of manufacturing look like? 3D printing breakthroughs, environmental improvements and hyper connectivity through the use of the Internet of Things. Here’s what you can expect.</b>

Custom, Personalised Manufacturing

Manufacturing will be positioned far closer to the end user. We’ll see it in many places where it isn’t present today. From local businesses to hospitals, and even in the home. We expect manufacturing to be highly personalised. If you need a household item, simply order it at home. It will then be made locally to the specifications you require and will be delivered at speed. This will be especially helpful for areas of medicine where your treatment will be custom-made to your genetic needs.

The Environmental Impact

Manufacturing of the future will be more environmentally friendly and will produce less waste. We’re likely to see less large-scale inventories required. Innovations in 3D printing and additive manufacturing will also help to reduce waste material and will even let us create components which aren’t yet possible with modern practices.

Popular Opinion

Will people actually get on board with this? We certainly think they will. This fresh approach to manufacturing is likely to see a far more information driven marketplace. People will want to know where things are made and what goes into them. Locally made items will become more desirable.

Large Factories

While local manufacturing will take preference, it won’t mean the abolition of large factories. These will focus on generation of economies of scale. The mass-production of items, especially those for international markets, will remain a crucial part of the everyday life of large factories.

Large factories will be far more efficient than they are today. Companies will use closed loop (or circular economy) systems to ensure the waste from one process is another’s input.

The Importance of the Internet of Things

For the future of manufacturing to be realised, the whole process needs to be connected. This will not only keep track of demand but also help monitor the efficiency of production. Interconnectivity will help to anticipate potential losses, downturns or hold ups while also boosting delivery times.

The Place of People

Where do people fit into future factories? People will still be working in factories though will be side-by-side with autonomous robots. Machines will handle the dangerous, repetitive or unskilled roles. People, will be working on the areas like design, engineering and innovation where a human element is essential. Relationship building as well as the maintaining of customer/supplier partnerships will be key roles of people in future factories.

The Benefits of Future Manufacturing

The future of manufacturing is likely to offer numerous benefits, here are a few of the most obvious:

- Get whatever items you want/need made

- Get items custom made and personalised

- Order items with ease

- Items will be locally made

- Items will be delivered at speed

- There will be less environmental impact

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