Event gives glimpse of manufacturing in the future


People got a glimpse of the future of high-tech manufacturing at a special event put together by the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre and the Satellite Applications Catapult.

The Oxfordshire Future Manufacturing Roadshow on the Science and Innovation Campus at Harwell demonstrated cutting edge manufacturing technologies in the space, energy, healthtec and general manufacturing sectors.

Visitors to the event saw demonstrations of some of the most cutting-edge technologies available to manufacturers, introducing technologies developed by the MTC, the Satellite Applications Catapult and their partners.

The event aimed to give businesses an understanding of how technology could be rolled out to increase competitiveness, upscale production, and improve productivity.

Demonstrators showed off the latest in artificial intelligence, automation and robotics, including advanced robotic handling for hazardous materials, decision-making robotics, advanced lasers, data handling and zero carbon manufacturing using sustainable power.

The event was held in the Satellite Applications Catapult building at Harwell, near Didcot. As well as the live event it was possible to access the event virtually via a streaming platform.

Chris Dunkley, deputy director for the Oxfordshire Cluster at the MTC said the event offered technological insights to many of the challenges facing UK manufacturing industry.

“The UK has developed some of the most advanced technology in the world but there is room to speed up its adoption in manufacturing industry. This event demonstrated the benefits of automation and digitalisation. It helped them consider some of their options before adopting technology,” he said.

He added, “The UK manufacturing sector is having to adapt to exponential technological change. The MTC and the Satellite Applications Catapult specialise in the development and application of manufacturing and process technology that can accelerate industrial growth and improve productivity.”

Satellite Applications Catapult chief operating officer, Lucy Edge said,
“The Satellite Applications Catapult was delighted to support this high-tech manufacturing event with the Manufacturing Technology Centre. The demonstrations seen gave us fantastic insight into future manufacturing technologies and capabilities. When these are developed and rolled out they will undoubtedly secure UK business competitiveness and productivity.”

She added, “From our perspective, occasions like these are of paramount importance as we continue to challenge and partner with industry to find economic and sustainability solutions empowered by satellites. Satellites can be used to add value to manufacturing technologies and capabilities, but it is through events such as these that we also get to understand future market trends and demands. This roadshow had the potential to fast-track many potential products to market through increased exposure, and in this regard, our partners at the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre must be commended.”

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.