The UK laser industry has urged the UK Government to take up its recommendations as part of a strategy to grow a sustainable and competitive manufacturing sector, by ensuring all manufacturers have the skills, finance, knowledge and confidence to deploy lasers within their production processes, to substantially increase productivity.
Lasers for Productivity: a UK Strategy was developed with UK industry by the Association of Industrial Laser Users (AILU) and the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-based Production Processes (CIM-Laser) based at Heriot-Watt University.
Launched at Portcullis House, Westminster, on Tuesday 6th March, the Strategy identifies four key recommendations to accelerate the adoption of laser-based manufacturing and production: process demonstration and customisation for SMEs; increase skills and training; laser sources and process innovation; and greater access to finance.
Speaking about the future of the laser industry as part of the wider UK industrial strategy, sponsor of the event, Joanna Cherry QC MP, who counts within her constituency Heriot-Watt University and a number of laser industry stakeholders, said: “The photonics industry is a growth industry. Institutions are really helping to drive this forward with entrepreneurship and innovation within photonics.”
The launch of the UK laser industry’s inaugural strategy document heralds a new, forward-thinking drive towards a pan-industry approach to ensure that efficiency, innovation and technology are at the forefront of UK manufacturing, production and services. Prof Duncan Hand, Director of CIM-Laser commented, “a key aim of our industrial facing role in CIM-Laser has been to work with AILU to develop this UK strategy. I look forward to its recommendations being implemented, which will have significant impact on UK manufacturing.”
Talking about the recommendations of its strategy, Jonathan Blackburn of TWI and Vice-President of AILU said: “Our recommendations are founded on the strong partnerships we have with the UK laser and, more widely, the photonics industries. Currently, the global laser industry contributes in excess of £10bn to the world economy, and it is widely predicted to continue at its current growth rate of 10% per annum. By adopting these recommendations, the UK Government and the UK laser industry can work together to ensure that the UK is leading the way in the digitisation of manufacturing, production, healthcare and research and development.”