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The positive impact of faster innovation and adoption of Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs) could be as much as £455 billion for UK manufacturing over the next decade, increasing manufacturing sector growth between 1.5 and 3 percent per annum, creating a conservative estimated net gain of 175,000 jobs throughout the economy. Made Smarter UK review

The Made Smarter Innovation Network endeavours to support this future success. Our ambition is to help UK manufacturing be more productive, competitive and sustainable – specifically via a powerful ecosystem of innovative IDT providers being developed across a variety of leading-edge technologies.

These IDTs are instrumental to the future success of the UK manufacturing sector and form the backbone of the Government’s plans to revamp the sector.           

  • Additive Manufacturing is extensively used in many industrial manufacturing processes and applications.
  • Blockchain can enable manufacturers to exchange data more easily, accurately and securely within complex supply chains
  • Data Analytics, Artificial intelligence and Machine learning technologies have a wide range of applications within manufacturing, including machine maintenance and improved accuracy in demand forecasting.
  • Immersive Technologies such as VR and AR can be applied in various scenarios in manufacturing, such as providing remote expert support, validating manufacturing processes and prototyping manufacturing processes.
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and connectivity integrates and gathers data from connected devices, such as manufacturing equipment and tools, and sensors, enabling faster decision making for industrial companies.
  • Robotics and Automation is now the core technology for developing smart and flexible manufacturing capabilities in smart manufacturing.
  • Sensors can be used in manufacturing processes to gather real-time data to detect defects, monitor machinery and the manufacturing process itself as well as to enable traceability on the shopfloor.
Additive Manufacturing (AM)
  • Additive Manufacturing (AM) summary

    Additive manufacturing (AM) has gained wide applications in many industrial manufacturing processes. Different from the traditional machining processes, additive manufacturing builds up components in a layer-by-layer fashion. Additive manufacturing enables more complex design innovation, shorter time to market and lower tooling cost. Moreover, parts that are designed for additive manufacturing are both lighter and less costly compared to parts manufactured by traditional manufacturing methods.


  • Who is it for?

    AM is a method of making production parts and products directly from design data, building accurate components by adding layers of material to obtain the final shape with minimal waste and no expensive dedicated tooling. It permits radical product re-design and creates new material properties. Currently it is most applicable for those companies looking to produce relatively small numbers of bespoke complex parts, however recent developments in cost reduction per part means that the technology can now benefit an increasingly large market share.

    For further information, please visit Additive Manufacturing UK.

    For the UK National Strategy for AM, sectors and current opportunities for the UK in AM please click here.

  • How does it work?

    Additive manufacturing (AM) is the industrial application of 3D printing, the layer-by-layer construction of a part from a 3D model created using computer-aided design software. It is the collective name for a group of technologies that use a variety of feedstocks, power sources and build techniques.

    Watch a short introductory video looking at the opportunities for both plastic and metal components here

  • What are the benefits?

    There are various similar listings of the main benefits of Additive Manufacturing. An example is:

    • Affordable
    • Reduces Waste
    • Design Freedom
    • Customisation
    • Assisting with Prototyping
    • Lower Energy Costs
    • Quicker to Market

    Further details on each of these can be found here.

  • Get involved

    There are various groups and organisations that can help you on your journey to the successful implementation of AM.

    The National Centre for AM is based at the Manufacturing Technology Centre and includes a free access knowledge hub.

    If you'd like a more informal way to look for help, try the UK Additive Manufacturing at KTN LinkedIn group.

    Or if you know your problem but need an organisation to help, try the Made Smarter Directory or the AM UK directory.

    Finally, it may be good to see a variety of machines live. Opportunities for this in 2022 include Mach 2022 (where Made Smarter will also be exhibiting!) and TCT 3Sixty, both in the UK and FormNext in Germany.

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