The rise of the machines: how robotics and automation are creating jobs in manufacturing

SME manufacturers adopting robotics and automation, with the support of Made Smarter, are creating hundreds of new and upskilled jobs.

Since 2019 the North West Adoption Programme, a collaboration between UK government and industry designed to support the increased use of digital technologies, has supported 41 businesses with 45 technology projects focused on robotics and automation machinery.

The £2m investment, which combines £883k in grant funding and leverages £1.1m of private finance, is forecast to create 183 new jobs and upskill a further 234 existing workers.

Furthermore, the region’s GVA is expected to grow by £137.4m over the next three years.

Alain Dilworth, North West Adoption Programme Manager at Made Smarter, said: “These figures are further evidence that robots, cobots, and process control automation technologies are creating more jobs than they displace, as well as a host of other benefits. 

“Manufacturers who have adopted these digital technologies are experiencing increased productivity and efficiency, more consistent and improved part production and quality, lower operating costs, reduced lead times, the ability to be more competitive, and improved worker safety.

“The Made Smarter North West Adoption Programme has proven the value that digital technology can bring to the manufacturing sector. By providing businesses with specialist, impartial technology advice, grant funding for projects, digital transformation workshops, a leadership programme, digital technology internships, and skills development, Made Smarter is helping them select the right approach and the appropriate level of investment and tools for their business.

Ultimately, at the heart of any change are the people, who are fundamental to understanding the need for change, driving that change and adopting that change.”


Rachel Brown, CAD technician, and Steve Elleray, R&D fabricator, witrh the robotic welder at Storth. Courtesy of Storth.

Rachel Brown, CAD technician, and Steve Elleray, R&D fabricator, witrh the robotic welder at Storth. Courtesy of Storth.


Agricultural machine manufacturer Storth, based in Cumbria, used robotics to navigate staff shortages during the pandemic and overcome the problem of skilled welders being tied up with repetitive tasks. 

Its robotic welding system produces parts at twice the rate its human counterparts and welding staff have been moved to higher value, more rewarding and more technically challenging roles. 

Julian Lopez, Export Manager at Storth, said: “Our investment in the robot welder enabled us to manufacture quicker and cost-effectively, and solved the problem of manpower not just in terms of sourcing quality welders to satisfy demand but to maintain production during the pandemic when welders were self-isolating. Meanwhile, the technology has made us more competitive to be able to react quickly to orders and changed the way we can approach export markets.

“We have also been able to create new apprentice roles to operate the robotics and cultivate the skills we will need in the future.”


Andrew Bond, CEO, of Empire Cartridges, an ammunition manufacturer, based in Preston. Courtesy of Empire Cartridges.

Andrew Bond, CEO, of Empire Cartridges, an ammunition manufacturer, based in Preston. Courtesy of Empire Cartridges.


Ammunition manufacturer Empire Cartridges, based in Preston, invested in a six-axis cobot and process control technology which increased manufacturing output of shotgun cartridge shells by at least 50%.

Andrew Bond, CEO, said: “By adopting Industry 4.0 automation we have been able to increase quality control, reduce manual handling and upskill our workforce from simple box fillers to cobot programmers.”


A Brainboxes operator using robotics Courtesy of Brainboxes.

A Brainboxes operator using robotics Courtesy of Brainboxes.


Brainboxes, an electronics manufacturer based in Liverpool, adopted robotics to improve its manual labelling process.

Luke Walsh, Managing Director, said: “The task of playing hundreds of thousands of labels on products was low skilled and expensive, so by Investing in technology which prints directly onto the product and robotics to move the products into place, the entire process could be automated.

“There was scepticism among our production staff about what a robot would do to their livelihoods. Now my production staff aren’t saying to me ‘the robot has taken my job’ but suggesting where the technology could also be adopted.”

While the adoption of robotics in the UK is on the rise, it is well behind global competition. According to the International Federation of Robotics, the UK’s ‘robot density’ or the number of robots per 10,000 workers is 71, below the global average of 74, and significantly lower than Germany (309) and South Korea (631).*

Mark Stepney, Director of the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA), part of the PPMA Group of Associations, said: “It is fantastic to see Made Smarter supporting SME manufacturers in the adoption of advanced technologies like robotics to address the UK’s shortfall in productivity. 

“The ROI on the use of industrial robots is startlingly clear. Along with faster production comes a long sought-after benefit: the ability to free human workers from the dangers and drudgery of manual work. Human workers can be elevated to roles where their individual skills and cognitive abilities can be better utilised.”

*https://ifr.org/news/robot-density-rises-globally/


**Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

Source: The rise of the machines: how robotics and automation are creating jobs in manufacturing

*This is a free press release. Upgraded press releases are ad-free!

Blackhawks GM Bowman Resigns After Sexual Assault Probe

Stan Bowman, the Chicago Blackhawks’ general manager and president of hockey operations, resigned Tuesday after an investigation commissioned by the team found he was among a group of leaders who failed to respond promptly to allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted a player in 2010. The Blackhawks hired Jenner & Block to conduct what…

Read Press Release

China Tech Stocks Slump as Tensions With U.S. Spook Investors

(Bloomberg) — Investors rushed to offload Chinese tech stocks as a flare-up in Sino-U.S. tensions sparked fears that more scrutiny from Washington could be in store for the sector.Most Read from BloombergA Deep Dive Into Squid Game’s World of InequalityHamburg Is at the Heart of Germany’s Growing Dilemma Over ChinaWhy Americans and Britons Are Rushing…

Read Press Release

What is NFT CyberKongz?

NFT CyberKongz appears as a collection of 1k unique and randomly generated Non-Fungible TokensThe 34×34 pixel images achieved tremendous popularity due to sustainabilityCyberKongz VX is seen as the next logical evolution of the projectNFT CyberKongz is one of the most popular NFTs projects. These NFTs are unique and randomly generated 2D/3D NFT Social Avatars for…

Read Press Release

Willie Mays Exclusive NFT Sells For $50,000 At Auction

Willie Mays released this exclusive NFT that sold for $50,000 at auction on October 26, 2021. Mike Campau At 90 years old, Willie Mays is willing to evolve with the game. The legendary Hall of Famer has collaborated with the Costacos Collection to release an exclusive NFT, launching himself directly into the emerging blockchain collectibles…

Read Press Release

The rise of the machines: how robotics and automation are creating jobs in manufacturing - Click To Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp