United Kingdom Industry 2021 Additive Manufacturing
The UK manufacturing sector suffered declines in 2020 caused by factors such as Brexit and impact of the global pandemic.
The UK is currently the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world. UK manufacturing currently employs 2.7 million people, contributes 11% to GVA, represents 45% of total exports, and provides 13% of business investment.
The global pandemic had significant impacts on the UK manufacturing sector, this coupled with the country’s exit from the EU (a.k.a. Brexit) caused significant challenges for the industry. In February 2021, only 50% of UK companies believed they will achieve full operating levels by the end of 2021 (MakeUK).
UK manufacturers experienced over the past year significant disruptions to their supply chains. This led to revised investment decisions and a number of larger OEMs are considering or moving towards near-sourcing/on-shore manufacturing. Digital technologies are also being looked at as a solution to some of the issues caused by the supply chain disruptions.
The UK is one of the leaders and pioneers in Additive Manufacturing (AM) and one of the first countries in the world to develop its own AM Strategy in 2017. However, the uptake was slower than expected for making end user parts and is historically used mainly for Rapid Prototyping. Several UK manufacturers embraced Additive Manufacturing and have now notable facilities, but overall uptake of the technology is relatively slow. It is estimated that 42% of business leaders are planning to invest in new technologies, but the current investment commitments lack the scale to deploy these more quickly.
The UK Government is trying to increase the role of digital manufacturing in the UK linking such moves with the UK’s broader climate agenda. The government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy published in March 2021 highlights the potential to reduce emissions through efficiency improvements and also digitalization. The Government pledges to provide support to technologies such as 3D printing and digital twin technology.
In summer 2021, the UK intends to bring in legislation to mirror the Eco-design measures already in force in the EU (‘right to repair’). This means that the UK will tighten standards on energy efficiency and repairability for home appliances. Manufacturers will have to ensure that spare parts are readily available. This is expected to drive requirements for digitalization of manufacturing of legacy spare parts.
For more information please contact Kristina Schaferova.