The key to developing the UK’s long-term reshoring strategy – PES Media – PES Media

by admin on June 21, 2020

Embracing digital manufacturing technology will need to be a key component of any UK reshoring strategy, warns leading innovation technology specialist PTC.

Paul Haimes, European vice president of technical sales for Farnborough-based PTC, believes the new-found desire to manufacture more in the UK will have to be supported by a willingness from industry to invest further in automation and the industrial internet of things.

Mr Haimes feels that for domestic production to continue its increasing parity with traditionally low-cost counties, there will need to be careful investment to improve productivity throughout the full product lifecycle, including the connected factory and product in the field.

This means aiming for greater manufacturing operational intelligence by capturing and analysing data from machines, processes and factories to reduce lead times, shrink costs and boost product throughput.

“The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the fragility of outsourcing to offshore locations,” explained Mr Haimes, who was central to PTC’s involvement in the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium. “While many UK manufacturers had already experienced quality issues and rising transport costs associated with outsourcing, the virus has wreaked havoc on extended supply chains. As a result, the risks of over-reliance on overseas supply of strategically critical components and parts have come into sharp focus.”

He continued: “The challenge now, as I see it, is for manufacturing companies to figure out how to turn reshoring into a long-lasting and sustainable trend. In preparation for a post-Covid world, companies need to start planning for a fundamental shift in industrial production, based on digital technologies that leverage our proven strengths as a global base of manufacturing skills and talent.”

PTC is playing a significant role in the successful ramp-up of Smiths and Penlon ventilators for use by the NHS.

The company has used its Vuforia Expert Capture Augmented Reality (AR) technology and Microsoft’s HoloLens to create a virtual guide to building the different models and is transferring it to the factories of consortium partners through the power of AR glasses and tablets. This is helping increase capacity, whilst at the same time minimising the risk of coronabirus spreading among consortium partners.

Whilst many manufacturing leaders may worry that this reinvention will involve huge investment at a time when preserving capital is paramount, Mr Haimes believes this approach shows how you can achieve operational intelligence on an incremental basis.


Michael Tyrrell


Michael Tyrrell
Digital Coordinator


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