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Holding back on investment

Posted on 10 Nov 2019 and read 584 times
Holding back on investmentAccording to a new report published by researchers at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), industrialists across the Sheffield City Region are holding back on investment in productivity-improving technologies such as robotics and automation because of poor access to funding, skills and hands-on ‘demonstrators’.

In the first comprehensive review of smart industrial technology uptake in the region, the Regional Technology Foresight report looks at Industry 4.0 technologies ranging from artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics to augmented reality, metrology and additive manufacturing.

Jorge Martins, one of the report’s authors (www.amrc.co.uk), said: “We wanted to assess where companies in the region feel they stand in terms of technological capabilities, but we also want a vision to emerge of what might be important to firms in the Sheffield City Region in the near future.

"Our goal is to help policy makers and industry prioritise the technology areas that will have the biggest and most beneficial impact on performance.

"Once we know that, we can determine what external support is needed, as part of a joined-up approach to regional economic strategy.”

The report — the second to be published by the Regional Technology Foresight team — says that many of the region’s SMEs want to innovate, but — due to lack of funds and skills — adopting new technology is not a priority for them.

Instead, they prefer to invest their limited resources in more immediate activities.

Changing this climate is critical to improving productivity in the region — and to moving higher up the value chain in manufacturing.