Leading manufacturing expert, author and journalist, Peter Marsh, has completed a 2-day visit to Mid Ulster, the centre of manufacturing in NI, as the region prepares to embrace the ‘4th industrial revolution’.
The former Financial Times Manufacturing Editor and author of ‘The New Industrial Revolution’ visited some of the region’s 800 manufacturing businesses and delivered a keynote address at an engineering seminar, emphasising the need to prepare for the digitisation of manufacturing.
The advent of new and emerging technologies, including advanced robotics, automation and digital fabrication, is set to transform manufacturing in the 21st century and is being hailed as the next industrial revolution.
Peter, during his first visit of the day to Specialist Joinery Group in Maghera, said:
“It has been fascinating to see, in this my first visit to the region, how locally founded and owned businesses are embracing the integration of digital technology and machine automation to address areas of innovation that are necessary to compete successfully on the global stage.”
The second day saw over 130 businesses attending the ‘Mid Ulster Engineering Event – ‘Facing The Future’ in Cookstown where Peter Marsh was joined by Harald Egner, a global expert in 21st century manufacturing, from The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), part of the network of world-leading facilities which provide access to first-class research and development facilities and expertise which would otherwise be out of reach of most businesses.
They spoke alongside a panel of successful Mid Ulster businesses including Strickland Ireland and Specialist Joinery Group which have made digital advances to increase efficiency and stimulate growth.
Mid Ulster District Council is driving the digitisation of manufacturing agenda in its region, as Chair of the Council, Councillor Sean McPeake, explains:
“Mid Ulster has the highest concentration of manufacturing businesses here, the largest Gross Value Added at over £830M annually, and our latest research shows very clearly that the sector’s dominant position is set to grow.
“Engineering alone accounts for 21% of jobs in the industry, more than twice the average of 9%, and our businesses are now looking to the future and the challenges of digitisation.
“Our long-term innovation programme for engineering, together with seminars like this which allow our engineering sector to explore and understand how even smaller enterprises can achieve a competitive advantage by embracing technology in their processes and product development, are crucial to future growth”.
Aaron Black, Senior Research Lecturer at South West College, who deliver the Mid Ulster Engineering Programme, “Our programme is designed to help local engineering businesses with worldwide ambition to accelerate their growth. Best practice visits to innovative companies such as Specialist Joinery Group, and seminars that bring companies together share innovation concepts that can help the development of new products, processes and services within our local companies for competitive advantage.”
For more information on the Mid Ulster Engineering Innovation Programme and other business support programmes contact Mid Ulster District Council on 03000 132 132, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view extrensive photo coverage of the visit, go to: https://goo.gl/cv6U32