Drives and Controls Magazine
New group will champion uptake of automation in the UK
Published:  27 February, 2024

A new organisation has been launched to champion the uptake of automation in UK manufacturing. Called the UK Automation Forum, it brings together industry experts, end-users, policy-makers and technology suppliers to discuss the adoption of automation technologies in the UK.

It aims to turn the UK into a world-leading user of robotic and automation technologies, thus addressing the poor take-up of robotics in the country, compared to its global competitors.

The Forum is being supported by several leading trade associations, including Automate UK (formerly the PPMA Group), the MTA (Manufacturing Technologies Association), Make UK and Gambica. Its goal is to drive collaboration, highlight the benefits of automation, help break down barriers to adoption, and influence opinion and decision-making.

“We are creating a community of leading experts and businesses to ensure that all members of the industry have a voice,” says Mike Wilson, chief automation officer at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), who is chairman of the new Forum. “We will then use this voice to work together to drive improvements for mutual benefit.”

The Forum will host live events and roundtable discussions covering topics such as education and bridging the skills gap, while promoting careers in automation and breaking down barriers to automation for users, employees and manufacturers.

It will also gather and share end-users’ opinions, from SMEs to blue chips, to ensure that suppliers of automation equipment are meeting their needs.

Another major goal of the Forum is to influence policy-makers. “The aim is to use our combined voice to influence government and policy,” says Automate UK CEO, Peter Williamson. “We will also engage with academia and funding bodies to ensure an appropriate focus is given to automation, while working with education providers to provide relevant skills for the future.”

The UK Automation Forum has launched a Web site to promote its activities

An inaugural roundtable event will ask the question: Automation – how will greater adoption benefit UK PLC? The streamed event, taking place on 3 March, will bring together a panel including experts from trade bodies, automation suppliers and end-users. Another roundtable will be held during the MTC conference on 14 May

The Automation Forum will also take part in presentations at several trade shows during the year including the Mach exhibition at the NEC in April, Automation UK in Coventry in June, and the PPMA Show at the NEC in September.

In addition to Wilson and Williamson, other members of the Forum’s steering group, are MTA CEO James Selka, Gambica chief executive Steve Brambley and Fanuc UK’s head of sales, Oliver Selby. Gail Hunt is the group’s facilitator.

UK Automation Forum:  LinkedIn