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Automation Trends in UK Manufacturing for 2024: Insights from FANUC UK Experts

by Anna

In 2024, the UK is poised for increased adoption of industrial robotics, marking a shift from previous years where the nation lagged behind global counterparts in this technology. The International Federation of Robotics predicts substantial growth in the installation of robots across various sectors, including traditional users like automotive and electronics, as well as new adopters in areas like food and beverage and logistics.

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Experts from leading robotics manufacturer FANUC UK highlight key automation trends to watch for in 2024:

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Energy-efficient solutions: Automation solutions will prioritize energy efficiency, aiming to stabilize and minimize energy consumption. Manufacturers will focus on providing evidence through live data monitoring and enhanced reporting to support efforts in achieving net-zero goals.

Application-specific software: The trend of developing bespoke application-specific software is expected to rise, simplifying programming for customers and system integrators. This approach enhances traceability compared to manual operations.

New and improved features: Existing products will undergo upgrades, introducing greater functionality and reducing downtime. Continuous improvements in features, such as the launch of new models like the ROBODRILL with enhanced capabilities, will enhance flexibility and productivity.

Smart functionality: Intelligent robot systems will witness increased adoption, with more industrial automation users incorporating features like vision and force control. These functions enable robots to perform complex and repetitive tasks by providing them with the ability to see and feel.

Education initiatives: There is a growing trend of young individuals showing interest in robotics and engineering. Initiatives like the FANUC Training Academy, work experience programs, apprenticeships, and competitions aim to increase awareness and participation, ensuring a strong talent pipeline for the future of UK manufacturing.

Reduced manual handling: Amid labor shortages, particularly in the food and beverage sector, manufacturers are actively seeking to minimize manual handling. The use of robotics for moving products between production stages and autonomous robot vehicles for stock movement and loading/unloading will increase to address staffing challenges and improve health and safety outcomes.

Automation in aerospace: While the automotive industry has led in automation uptake, other sectors, including aerospace, are catching up. Continued innovation and development of new products will support the aerospace industry in its automation transformation.

These trends collectively signify a changing landscape in the UK manufacturing sector, with automation playing a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency, flexibility, and overall productivity.

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