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Members press release

BARA, UK - IFR-Industry Association

BARA's Automating Manufacturing Campaign spurs on UK manufacturers!

21 April 2011

A recent series of breakfast meetings, attended by leading UK manufacturers have successfully launched BARA's Automating Manufacturing Campaign to stimulate interest in automation among the UK manufacturing community; a quest which has received Government support following an industry study Application of Automation in UK Manufacturing 27 Sept 2010.

Numerous manufacturers across all sectors including food and beverage, automotive and electrical industries attended the meetings which were supported by the Manufacturing Advisory Service and held at leading automation advocates Lander Automotive Ltd (Birmingham), Harwin PLC (Portsmouth), and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (Holbeach) where Graham Thomas of Greencore talked about his experiences of introducing automation.

The events, which form part of a larger two year BARA campaign to raise manufacturers' awareness of the benefits of automation, gave attendees the opportunity to have one-to-one discussions with industry experts, learn from users of automation of their experiences, and review the automation in use at the host facility: "It's great to know that there's funding available for automation and to find out what other companies are doing. Although I already had an idea of what I wanted to achieve, seeing real-life examples of automation in action was very useful," said Martin Miller, Chief Engineer (Manufacturing) at supermarket Morrisons.

Speaker Mike Wilson, President of BARA, the British Automation and Robot Association which is a PPMA Group Association, outlined the benefits to be gained from automating at the events: "UK companies invest far less in automation than their European counterparts and this campaign gives us an opportunity to show them what they're missing. An automated machine consistently produces a high quality product and operates reliably for every hour of every day for many years, allowing staff to be utilised where their skills are more effective. Manufacturers benefit from greater productivity and improved customer response and service, such that it increases a firm's competitive edge and reduces its costs."

Neale Ryan, National Network Manager of the Manufacturing Advisory Service comments: "As the recent BARA events have shown robotics and automation can play a strong role helping businesses achieve growth and success, something that we feel extremely passionate about. MAS continues to be dedicated to improving productivity, competitiveness and making a real difference to manufacturers' bottom line and we look forward to working more closely with BARA in the future."

For Premier Foods' Manufacturing Manager, Peter Davies, the event was an ideal marketplace to kick-start a project: "It was a fantastic taster of the benefits to be gained from automating. And the format, a short, sharp breakfast session, packed with information and no hard sell, was perfect. I'm now looking to follow up conversations I had at the meeting and begin work on an automation project in the near future."

A second series of events planned for later this year, look to educate automation-shy manufacturers: "Two of my business objectives for the year were to find out more about automation and lean manufacturing and the road show was the perfect opportunity to do both. It was fantastic to see automation in action and discover the long-term savings that can be made," commented Adrian Ryan, General Manager of Snazaroo, a manufacturer of face paints and party supplies.

Following the success of these events, a second series is planned for later this year: "Attendees gained valuable insights into automation provided by excellent presentations and tours from the hosts. We are looking to maximise Government's backing to stimulate automation by providing further breakfast meetings later this year. Profile-raising events such as these can only help to improve the uptake of automation and, consequently, the UK's manufacturing success on the international stage," said Mike.