Despite advances in the technology sector, manufacturing continues to thrive as a vital part of the economy, and technological advances intertwine with the manufacturing industry to push it into the future. Analysts believe that the next industrial revolution will pertain to advanced manufacturing, and it will increase the output and net profits in manufacturing hubs all around the globe. While there are many manufacturing centers on our planet, many of them are situated in America, where big cities bring big business, and the large strides made in the technology sector ensure that manufacturing techniques are becoming honed with time and practice. Large cities around America, including Chicago, are home to massive manufacturing centers and precision machine-working shops. Naturally, these businesses have advanced beyond the old limits thanks to advanced manufacturing.
We need to become more like Germany: a misguided national obsession with keeping old manufacturing equipment running as long as possible rather than investing in the latest technology is holding UK firms back and hampering productivity. This was just one of the claims made at a recent roundtable event convened by The Engineer and BAE Systems to discuss the opportunities presented by digital manufacturing technologies and practical challenges of implementing these technologies. Held at BAE's impressive Samlesbury facility – home to its F-35 manufacturing and assembly operations and something of an exemplar of the digitally enabled factory – this debate brought together a mix of OEMS, Tier Ones, SMEs and manufacturing researchers to examine the benefits and challenges of adopting digital manufacturing technologies and to look at how UK industry might accelerate its digital transformation. We asked our panellists to talk about their own adoption and development of technologies including cobots additive manufacturing to AR, to comment on the much-trumpeted productivity-enhancing benefits of these techniques and to consider the lessons they've learned that could make it easier for others to follow in their footsteps. Until recently, it's not been easy to answer these questions.
The manufacturing industry has always been an epicenter for technological change. Many of the most influential technological developments have been spurred by the need to improve operational efficiency and the bottom line for manufacturing facilities around the world. One of the most important technological breakthroughs that manufacturers are embracing is machine learning. A 2017 report by PWC showed that about 50% of manufacturing companies were using machine learning technology. That figure has risen sharply since that study was first published.
This event will bring together senior leaders across the manufacturing sectors for a dynamic discussion on the future world of manufacturing, discuss their future needs, showcase successful Irish manufacturers who are leading with new technologies and process and address topics of importance to the Irish manufacturing sector.
"The survey indicates that factory output is dropping at an annualized rate of approximately 3 percent, and factory headcounts are being culled at a rate of around 10,000 per month," Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist, said in a statement Monday. "Rather than reviving after a disappointingly weak first quarter, the data flow therefore appears to be worsening in the second quarter, raising question marks over whether [gross domestic product] growth will improve on the near-stalling seen in the first three months of the year." Indeed, the government announced last week that America's GDP expanded at a measly 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2016 – representing the worst quarter for domestic growth in two years. Weak consumer spending and soft export data tied to both international sluggishness and the faltering U.S. manufacturing sector contributed to the quarter's underperformance. Manufacturing's overall weakness is hardly new, as various indicators throughout the last several months have at times suggested U.S. manufacturers were in the midst of an isolated recession.