Plant & Works Engineering

Britain on cusp of 4th industrial revolution, but manufacturers warn it is in danger of being left behind

Published:  25 February, 2015

Britain’s manufacturers are bracing themselves for the imminent impact of a 4th industrial revolution, but raise grave concerns over the UK’s ability to play a leading role, according to recent research from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.

The revolution – dubbed Industry 4.0 and driven by rapid advances in technology – will become a widespread reality of manufacturing life within the next decade, with eight in ten manufacturers (80%) expecting their business to be affected by 2025.

Nine in ten (88%) say the UK should be taking a leading role, seeing clear benefits to the sector and the rebalancing of the wider UK economy. But six in ten (58%) warn that the UK risks being left behind, potentially knocking back Britain’s burgeoning industrial renaissance and prompting calls for the next Government to ensure the right industrial strategy and support framework is in place.

The research supports a key theme of this year’s National Manufacturing Conference and is published alongside a specially-commissioned report - Manufacturing, Britain’s Future - sponsored by leading technology companies Infor and IBM. The report sets out how the 4th industrial revolution is at hand, and how, in the global battle for dominance, innovative firms can take the lead and help position Britain as the manufacturing and technology hub of Europe.