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28 May, 2024

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Blogs & Opinions » Gambica

We need to embrace AI responsibly

01 May, 2024

Artificial intelligence has tremendous potential to improve the way that UK manufacturers operate and do business, but it also poses risks. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, examines the possible attractions and downsides of the technology.


Building our engineering future starts at primary school

01 April, 2024

The UK needs to put far more effort into engendering an interest in technical topics at the primary school level, if we are going to create the engineering workforce that we will need to survive and thrive in the future, argues Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation.


Meeting the need for instant gratification

01 March, 2024

There is increasing pressure for immediate results. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, argues that automation can help to meet this demand, acting as powerful tool for progress, not just for businesses, but for society as a whole.


We need to pull together to tackle the skills gap

29 January, 2024

A shortage of appropriate skills is continuing to hold back the UK’s manufacturing sector. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, suggests that a variety of parties need to work together to tackle the problem.


What will 2024 hold for our sector?

01 January, 2024

There were signs last year that the Government is prepared to offer more support to UK manufacturing – at least to those sectors that it regards as being key. Will this continue in 2024? And what other changes can be expect? Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, gazes into his crystal ball.


UK manufacturers need to pull together

01 December, 2023

Faced with unrelenting pressures from a variety of sources, UK manufacturers are coping with a plethora of problems. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, suggests that one way of dealing with these issues is to learn how manufacturers that are successfully weathering the storm, are managing to do so.


Manufacturers cannot afford to ignore climate change

01 October, 2023

The Government may have watered down its measures for achieving net-zero, but climate change remains a pressing issue which is having a variety of effects on manufacturers. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, examines some of them and argues that focusing on sustainability can deliver benefits.


Helping to bridge the academic-industry gap

01 September, 2023

The are many potential benefits for both sides from closer collaboration between industry and academics. As Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, explains, the organisation has been acting as an intermediary to help bridge the gap between these sectors.


Navigating around the digitalisation roadblocks

01 August, 2023

Many UK manufacturers are deterred from adopting digital technologies by a variety of fears and obstacles – some real, others less so. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, considers some of these issues and how to tackle them.


Invest now to save in the long term

01 June, 2023

Investing in appropriate new technologies can assist manufacturers in cutting their costs in the long run, and helping them to stay ahead of their rivals. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, argues that those that adopt technologies early will be in a better position to compete in the future and to take advantage of new opportunities.


A little acceptance goes a long way

01 May, 2023

If the UK automation industry is to thrive and expand we need to accept the inevitability of certain changes, argues Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation.


Young eyes throw a new light on Gambica’s activities

01 April, 2023

Gambica has set up a “council” of 16 young people to take a new look at the association’s role from a young perspective. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, reports on how this council is throwing a new light on the trade body’s activities.


Sustainability is no longer just a box-ticking exercise

01 March, 2023

In the post-Covid era, many manufacturers are changing the ways that they operate. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, argues that one major change in emphasis is the drive for sustainability which can result from adopting smart manufacturing practices.


Will 2023 be a good year for industrial automation?

01 February, 2023

The UK industrial automation sector performed remarkably well during 2022 considering the many pressures that it experienced. Can this continue into 2023? Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, looks at what lies ahead for the sector.

At Gambica, during our special interest group and council meetings, we usually talk about market trends and the outlook for the sector, and discuss where we think the industrial automation market is heading. The past three years have certainly been very unpredictable, with so many external shocks and pressures causing our member companies to feel a fair deal of uncertainty.

However, despite this, 2022 saw a significant increase in revenues for all categories of products in the industrial automation sector. Our categories include variable-speed drives, controlgear, PLCs, Scada software, terminals, soft-starters and many more.

This was a very positive sign for our industry. It was evident from the figures that the UK industrial automation market had managed to stay resilient despite the many external pressures, raising the value of the market to nearly where it had been before the pandemic.

But what does this mean for the year ahead? Will the market simply continue to do what it’s been doing? The honest answer there, is no. Instead of carrying on as normal, the New Year’s resolution for the industrial automation sector must be to use 2022 as a benchmark, with the aim of continually increasing the market value over the coming years. By encouraging end-users to automate and digitalise their processes, the knock-on effect will reap huge benefits for our industries.

We are certainly unable to predict what this year may bring in terms of external shocks. As it is, the cost of living and energy prices rises are continuing to impact both UK businesses and our personal lives. However, as an industry, we must prevent ourselves from becoming complacent based upon the successes of the past year.

Last year, I discussed frequently how automation was the “answer” to the pandemic, and how many Gambica members felt that their order books were gaining traction as a result of companies looking to “future-proof” their processes. This is a good sign for large projects, however it doesn’t always mean repeat business. That is another reason to ensure that, as an industry, we are not complacent, and continue to upskill our workforce and find ways in which we can add value to end-users.

Perhaps later in the year I will publish the official Gambica Index for last year, which demonstrates the overall trend of the market, without giving away any valuable commercial data. That would be a great way of illustrating the trends which I am discussing.

In general, I am trying to stress that we needn’t slow down our efforts to encourage businesses to automate, based on the fact that we had a good year last year. In fact, we should aim for 2023 to exceed those numbers, as hopefully inflation begins to balance out later in the year and perhaps the exchange rate fluctuations may start to steady, helping businesses with imports of components.

In six months’ time, I hope to be writing another article explaining how we’ve seen more consistent growth from the industrial automation market in the first half of 2023. Often, it can be the case that certain businesses lack the knowledge about where to get started on their journey to help contribute to this industry boost. This is why it is important for trade associations such as ours, as well as organisations such as the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Government-backed movements such as Made Smarter, to offer the best advice and to share knowledge to help end-users to embark on their journeys.


* Gambica is the trade association for the automation, control, instrumentation and laboratory technology sectors in the UK.  For more information, please contact Nikesh Mistry on 020 7642 8094 or via nikesh.mistry@gambica.org.uk


Help to win over future engineers at an early age

20 December, 2022

There’s strong evidence that the best time to attract people into future careers in engineering is when they are very young. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, argues that practicing engineers and automation specialists can play a key role in helping to persuade youngsters to follow similar careers.


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