Data analysis is a key digital technology and as an emerging data analytical method, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are growing rapidly. AI/ML can give objects autonomy by enabling them to learn from past experiences. These technologies have a wide range of applications within manufacturing, including machine maintenance and improved accuracy in demand forecasting.
The 2017 Made Smarter UK review stated that “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.
These IDTs that Professor Juergen Maier refers to in the Made Smarter review are instrumental to the future success of the UK manufacturing sector and form the backbone of the Government’s plans to revamp the sector.
As outlined in the Made Smarter review, IDTs offer the promise of recapturing the UK’s industrial spirit as a nation of ‘creators and makers’ through
- Raising UK productivity and international competitiveness;
- Creating new, higher-paid, higher-skilled jobs that add value to society and positively offset the displacement of poor productivity and poorly paid jobs;
- Strengthening UK supply chains and creating new value streams;
- Addressing regional economic disparities;
- Increasing exports through competitiveness;
- Creating a new vibrant technology market serving UK industry and attracting Foreign Direct Investment
- Improving the resource efficiency of the UK’s industrial base, making it more resilient to global resource supply disruptions and reducing its environmental impact through more efficient manufacturing and industrial processes and more optimised supply chains.