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FANUC joins industry calls for UK manufacturing strategy

FANUC UK Managing Director, Tom Bouchier, has this morning called on government and political leaders to develop a cross-party strategy to secure the future of UK manufacturing.

Image courtesy FANUC

Speaking live at the FANUC Open House event in Coventry, he stated: “Make UK’s recent report has identified that 99% of manufacturers want an industrial strategy, and 87% believe it would give their business a long-term vision.

"What we need now is a coherent, joined up strategy for manufacturing, with cross-party consensus, to give businesses the certainty they so badly need. As the only developing country without an industrial strategy, we’re in danger of being left behind if we can’t deliver this soon.”

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Taking place 14th-16th November at FANUC’s UK headquarters in Ansty Park, Coventry, the Open House event is showcasing the latest innovations in automation and robotics to help manufacturers improve the efficiency and productivity of their factories, as well as alleviate labour shortages.

In attendance this morning was Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, who encouraged businesses to embrace automation: “Manufacturing is a worldwide, competitive race and in order for UK firms to be competitive, they need to increase their productivity. Automation solutions such as those on display at the FANUC Open House can help UK companies to remain competitive in the long term. What’s happening here is really important for the future of our economy.”

Encompassing panel debates, case studies, 35 exhibitors, live robot demonstrations and the finals of the WorldSkills UK Industrial Robotics competition, the FANUC Open House brings together leading figures from the world of robotics, automation, manufacturing and academia to showcase the latest cutting-edge innovations that are changing the face of UK factories.

The morning’s first panel debate, focusing on overcoming barriers to automation, featured insights from industry leader Stuart Whitehead of the Jefferson Group, who stated: “Many UK firms are still addicted to cheap manual labour, focusing on short-term costs rather than long-term gains.”

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The panel agreed that highlighting the longer-term paybacks of automation – including increased efficiency and sustainability gains, as well as compensating for worker shortages – is key to encouraging greater uptake of robotics in the UK.

Inspiring future talent
In addition to showcasing the latest automation innovations to manufacturers, one of the event’s main aims is to encourage more young people to pursue a career in engineering. While day one centres on the future of manufacturing and day two tackles sustainability, day three will focus solely on education, featuring presentations by current and past apprentices as well as the live final of the WorldSkills UK industrial robotics competition.

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “One of my takeaways from today is that there are legions of opportunities here for young people. I’ve seen for myself by talking to the WorldSkills UK participants some of the brilliant talent that’s coming through. Engineering offers a very vibrant career pathway for our young people, stimulated by events such as FANUC’s Open House.”

There is still time to register your interest in attending the FANUC UK Annual Open House (14-16 November 2023, Ansty Park, Coventry) here: https://ukopenhouse.fanuc.eu
 

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