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Advancing the cause

Aiming to help UK manufacturers take advantage of the latest technologies, Advanced Manufacturing offers a range of measures that will keep the UK at the forefront of the low-carbon industrial future

Launched by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson back in July of this year, Advanced Manufacturing is a £150m package of measures that aims to help UK manufacturers seize the opportunities that are being provided by emerging technologies.

Advanced Manufacturing describes businesses that use a high level of design or scientific skills to produce technologically complex products and processes. Because of the specialised requirements involved, these are usually goods and associated services of high value. Advanced Manufacturing is usually based on new industrial platform technologies that have multiple commercial applications. For example, the composite materials that are being developed to replace various metals in many goods are used in shipbuilding, aerospace, car manufacturing and construction.

It is possible across the huge range of activities that encompass modern industry, from large aerospace companies to small firms spun off from university research. It is an area where the UK?s leading industrial companies excel ? thanks to their competitive advantages in design, technology, skills, innovation and creativity. The government?s aim is to enable UK companies to exploit opportunities to become advanced manufacturers and to ensure that the benefits accumulate throughout the supply chain.

Advanced Manufacturing builds on the government?s 2008 Manufacturing Strategy and the New Industry, New Jobs strategy of April 2009, in which the government set out its broad framework for supporting the development of new industries and new jobs in Britain.

Key new measures include:

  • A total of £45m funding to Rolls-Royce, which will see four new advanced manufacturing facilities built in the UK ? three in aerospace and one civil nuclear ? creating and sustaining around 800 jobs.
  • The provision of £45m from the low-carbon element of the Strategic Investment Fund to support research and technology critical to the development of lowcarbon aircraft engine technology. This will be led by Rolls-Royce.
  • At least £40m investment in SAMULET Research and Technology programme ? a collaborative aerospace project focusing on productivity and environmental improvements ? with £28.5m from the Technology Strategy Board, £11.5m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and further support under discussion with regional bodies.
  • A £12m expansion of the Printable Electronics Centre in Sedgefield which focuses on display technology, creating up to 1,500 jobs by 2014.
  • The Technology Strategy Board will invest a further £5m in collaborative R&D projects as part of its High Value Manufacturing competition, in addition to the £24m invested earlier this year.
  • A £4m expansion of the highly successful Manufacturing Advisory Service to help a wider range of businesses improve efficiency and increase orders (in addition to the £4m expansion announced as part of the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy).
  • Investment of £500,000 to support the development of a Centre of Excellence for Silicon Design in the South West.

?At the heart of Britain?s knowledge economy is our manufacturing base. High-value, highly-skilled and internationally-successful businesses that have worked hard to secure a lead in hi-tech global supply chains.

?This practical package of measures will help equip British manufacturers, of all sizes and sectors, to take advantage of the advanced technologies and new market opportunities now shaping our low-carbon industrial future.

?It?s about giving them the support they need to create jobs in Britain and export the best of British manufacturing design, technology, skills and innovation around the world.?

Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing

Despite the recent slowdown in global growth and world trade, many still expect the world economy to double in size over the next decade ? driven by the growth in prosperity of emerging markets like China and India. The market for high-value goods and services associated with Advanced Manufacturing, especially those produced to high environmental standards, is likely to increase significantly.

New and improved technologies will continue to reshape manufacturing by creating the capability to adopt more efficient processes and develop new and better products to cater for new and changing market demands, such as low carbon.

The UK is well placed to take advantage of this growing market. It is the world?s sixth-largest manufacturer measured by output, and has a well-developed infrastructure of manufacturing companies and supply chains. The UK is a leading exporter of high-tech goods, with 25% of UK goods exports defined as high-tech, compared to 22% in the US, 15% in France, and 11% in Germany.

A Package of Support

Much of the UK?s manufacturing is focused on specialised and diverse activities, particularly in high-technology areas. Many UK-based firms have used information and communications technology, new materials such as advanced composites, and process revolutions such as nanotechnology and biotechnology, to transform the way they work. These innovations have driven growth in Advanced Manufacturing sectors far faster than in other manufacturing.

The manufacturing sector is a major investor in innovation and productivity and contributes 75% of all UK business expenditure on R&D in the British economy. The UK outperforms every other country in Europe in attracting manufacturing foreign direct investment, and is second overall only to the US globally.

For this reason, the jobs created in Advanced Manufacturing activities are in highly-skilled areas, such as specialist production techniques, R&D, product design, and professional support services. For example, the recent announcement by Nissan to invest more than £200m over the next five years in a new rechargeable lithium-ion battery plant in Sunderland ? Nissan?s European Centre for Excellence for Battery Manufacturing ? creates up to 350 direct jobs and creates and safeguards hundreds more in the associated supply chain.

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Added the 05 October 2009 in category Innovation UK Vol5-2

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