Commentary on the Cambridge University Institute for Manufacturing’s report on High-Value Manufacturing
I’ve spent many years at the front-line of innovating in high-value manufacturing. High-value is characterised by a combination of high R&D intensity and high growth – as predictors of financial success over the long-term. High value manufacturing accounted for 35% of all UK exports in 2010, contributing £151bn to the UK balance of payments.
The IfMs report was written for the UKs arms-length from central government body, the Technology Strategy Board to serve as a foundation the strategic future of high value manufacturing as a route to creating growth for UK firms.
Context in 2013
The mega drivers of population growth, increasing wealth and longevity and climate change demands a technological angle as part of a solution to the response. There seems to be at the moment, an alignment of the planets whereby Government, industry and academia’s interests overlap with mutual interests about rebalancing an economy by bridging commercial interests with the world-leading UK research base. The TSB aims to operate in the space between these two worlds.
Trends/Drivers – Increasing cost and security of energy and raw materials. The global megatrends, the reality of globalization of innovation, making for effective, repeatable innovation performance and the trend for collaborative innovation as part of an innovation ecosystem.
Challenges – The pressing need to reconfigure our systems to low carbon ones. That there are too few skilled staff (the UK has an intractable problem here that has lasted generations; I favour then upgrading skills of the few to positions of maximise their impact). Stimulating organizations and the national innovation machine to make fit for purpose. Overcoming UK SME disadvantages for delivered cost, scale, reach and service.
Market Needs/opportunities – Reconfiguring the energy, transportation and production processes and new products and services.
HVM Needs – Realizing the potential of new materials and composites. Designing new factories and supply chains for a global production system. Developing manufacturing systems tailored for competitive advantage. Incorporating and demonstrating and commercializing new technologies. Developing new business models to secure fair value. Greening of products and processes.
Twenty-two national competencies are grouped around five strategic themes:
- Developing resource efficient manufacturing processes,
- Creating more efficient manufacturing systems to generate firm competitiveness,
- Creating innovative products, by integrating the product with new manufacturing technologies, and,
- Developing agile, more cost-effective manufacturing processes.
- Improved business-models – remembering that innovation’s job is done when new revenues are generated.
Alongside the competencies, enabling technologies of advanced materials; biosciences; electronics, sensors and photonics; and information and communication technology have a key role to play in underpinning innovation. In advanced materials, businesses in the UK that produce, process, fabricate and recycle materials form a critical element in the high value manufacturing (HVM) supply chain. They have an annual turnover of around £197bn and contribute GVA of £53bn.
Reflecting back over my many years experience as a leader in manufacturing product and process innovation, I wondered where my experience fits with this strategy?
- Developing resource efficient manufacturing processes – Design and manufacture for sustainability and through life.
- Creating more efficient manufacturing systems to generate firm competitiveness –
- Understanding manufacturing and designing formulated products
- Design & manufacture for small-scale & miniaturisation
- Process engineering capability and efficiency development across food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals
- Novel mechanical conversion processes for scale economy and efficiency
- Automation, mechanisation and human/machine interface
- Systems modelling and integrated design/simulation
- ‘Plug and play’ manufacturing
- Creating innovative products and by integrating the product with new manufacturing technologies – Smart, hybrid and multiple materials.
- Developing new, agile, more cost-effective manufacturing processes – Combining product development steps in parallel/concurrent engineering
Product and Process Technology Important to the Future of HVM
|The most significant process and service technologies,||The most significant product and service technologies identified,|
|Additive manufacturing, net shape manufacturing, robotics and automation, customisation, small run technologies (including distributed manufacture and ‘batch size of one’), micro and nano-manufacturing processes, end of life activities: recycling, re-use, renewing and re-lifing, surface engineering (finishing and coating processes), link design and manufacturing more closely, integrating technologies and processes, bioprocessing for new/replacement materials/fuels, ICT and enabling ICT structure||Materials and materials science (excluding composites), low carbon technologies, lightweight materials, ICT and enabling ICT structures, biomaterials, sensor technologies, integrated technologies, nanotechnologies, energy storage, hydrogen fuel cells, robots, integrated products and services, new composites, nanomaterials.|