New research has found that UK manufacturers are investing in digital technologies more than ever before to reduce their carbon footprint and make the transition to net zero.
According to manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, 23 per cent of manufacturers have already invested in digital solutions to decarbonise their business and a further 24 per cent are planning to do so.
The Decarbonisation through Digitalisation study shows manufacturers are capitalising on multiple benefits by investing in solutions like data analytics tools, sensors, 3D printing and robotics. These include productivity increases, product improvements, reduction in waste and labour efficiencies.
Nearly two thirds of those that have already adopted digital technologies said they were also saving significant money on their energy bill.
Among the companies featured in the research is Rochdale manufacturer Crystal Doors. Thanks to support from Made Smarter and the Growth Hub’s Manufacturing and Sustainability teams since 2015, Crystal Doors has reduced its electricity consumption by 78 per cent.
However, SMEs like Crystal Doors are in the minority, with SMEs continuing to find it much harder than larger companies to take the first steps on their digital journey.
Over the last three years, the Growth Hub’s Manufacturing Advisors have played a key ‘stepping stone’ role in helping SME manufacturers prepare the groundwork for digitalisation, by first embedding manufacturing excellence in areas such as production, waste and people management.
For example, Arden Dies, a die and tooling manufacturer in Stockport, put itself in a great position for digital transformation by delivering continuous improvement and lean manufacturing projects with the support of our Made for Manufacturing programme. The company went on to progress its digital transformation as well as reduce its carbon footprint.
The Manufacturing Team’s advice and guidance for companies like Arden Dies has shown that lean manufacturing principles in particular can be a valuable pre-cursor to decarbonisation efforts.