Emerging technologies

Emerging technologies have the power to transform the products we make, as well as the way we make them. New technologies enable the production of new high value products, but they also facilitate more efficient ways to produce those products competitively, responsively, and with substantially greater resilience.

While understanding the benefits of emerging technologies is not hard, adopting and exploiting those technologies requires significant effort. However, from the perspective of embracing and optimising emerging technology, the Midlands is well placed to benefit from the advantages provided by new ways of working resulting from new technologies.

Emerging technologies have always existed, and their influence has continually challenged industry to adapt and change both their products and processes. However, the current pace of technological acceleration, combined with the wide array of new technologies, poses a significant and growing threat. Deciding which technologies to adopt and how much capital to invest, gaining the knowledge and skills necessary, and understanding the best way to implement, has never been harder.

The problem with emerging technology is not deciding whether it should be adopted, but rather choosing the most appropriate technology and finding the correct implementation path. While predicting the future is always a gamble, it is clear there are some key trends that have the potential to influence and stimulate the Midlands’ manufacturing landscape more than others.

Midlands’ manufacturing companies have good access to emerging technologies provided by our multiple research-intensive universities and through the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network, which has the capability to support implementation.

This has already enabled many organisations in the Midlands to adapt a range of these emerging technologies and they have developed adoption strategies, which include skills development, finance and resource planning.

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"It’s about bringing in network connectivity people from IT, the algorithm designers and the people in production, who have to make this all work, so it’s an ecosystem of different skills that you’re bringing together in an area you are not familiar with. So the deployment topic for us is not a straight forward one, it needs a lot of support and a lot of skills and it shouldn’t be trivialised."

Andrew Peters

Siemens