Leading economist and entrepreneur to address MTC Robotics Conference

27 April, 22

Leading economist and entrepreneur John Mills will be the keynote speaker at a Manufacturing Technology Centre conference aimed at increasing the uptake of robotics and automation across UK manufacturing.

John Mills, founder of consumer goods company JML, will launch the Robotics and Automation – A New Perspective conference being held at the MTC on May 4 and 5. In 2020, he founded the Institute for Prosperity, which campaigns for higher levels of manufacturing and economic growth in the UK.

His book, “Why the West is Failing”, due to published later this year by Polity Press, details how Western economies are falling behind the East when it comes to manufacturing and industry.

The two-day conference will enable delegates from a wide range of industries from aerospace to food production to share insights into the transformational benefits of cutting edge robotic technologies and learn how automation can drive productivity in UK manufacturing.

The conference will build on the recommendations of a report by MTC robotics experts and the Industrial Policy Research Centre at Loughborough University. The report, entitled Robotics and Automation: A New Perspective, can be viewed at https://www.the-mtc.org/media/bdba0ls0/automation-and-robotics-research-paper-a4-pages.pdf

The report called for more knowledge-sharing between robotics users and an emphasis on skills, as well as a greater understanding among the investor and finance community of the business benefits of automation. These themes will form the basis of discussions at the conference.

Mike Wilson, chief automation officer at the MTC and co-author of the report, said, “We are absolutely delighted that John Mills will be addressing this conference. He has long been a vocal advocate of UK manufacturing and its importance to the country’s prosperity. The UK lags behind many industrialised nations in its adoption of robotics and this slow uptake is undoubtedly holding industry back. This conference aims to change that and instil confidence in our manufacturers to transform their future.

“The event will enable SMEs and supply chain companies to explore ground-breaking and innovative industrial robotic solutions so they can understand how their manufacturing operations would benefit.”

He added, “At the MTC we aim to create an ecosystem for everyone from SMEs to major industrial players and academics, to collaborate with the outcome being the greater use of automation in UK industry.”

John Mills, founder of the Institute for Prosperity, said, “I’m delighted to be speaking at this event, which I know will provide valuable insights into innovative new technologies for British manufacturing. In order to get UK industry growing again, we drastically need to increase the levels of investment in machinery, technology and power — where a staggeringly low amount is currently invested.”

“If we foster these vital industries, we will increase the levels of prosperity for everyone living in the UK by making goods we can be proud of. We must create the right environment for manufacturing, and organisations like the MTC are vital to achieving just that.”

The report recommended that the adoption of robotics and automation in the UK needs to be dramatically speeded up to increase the competitiveness of manufacturing and avoid a costly lag in productivity. It called for a renewed emphasis on the benefits of automation and for greater collaboration between manufacturers, research organisations, equipment suppliers and Government to improve awareness and help businesses improve their performance through automation.

The conference will bring together high-level speakers from industry, government and academia to emphasise the transformational benefits of automation, as well as the skills and system integration solutions needed to enable adoption

As well as traditional manufacturing, the conference is aimed at the construction and infrastructure sectors, utilities, the food and drink industry, agriculture and sectors which involve hazardous environments, including nuclear.

More information about the event can be found at https://www.the-mtc.org/events/industry-events/robotics-and-automation-a-new-perspective/

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.

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