It may be awards season, but it seems that it’s also the season for other events, more specifically in the manufacturing sector.

With MODEX at Georgia US, Global Manufacturing Tech Expo in Berlin next week, MACH next month at Birmingham’s NEC and Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week taking place there in June. But this week, whilst some of our team were away at ISPA in Columbus Ohio, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) was playing host to the National Manufacturing Summit.

One of the panel discussions included the topic: ‘Is Automation The Answer To The Skills Crisis?’, facilitated by Mike Wilson, Chief Automation Officer at the MTC, with David Barrett-Hague from Schneider Electric, Rosa Wells of University College Birmingham, James Selka from Manufacturing Technology Association and Oliver Selby of FANUC, Paul McKnight VEX Robotics contributing their thoughts, experience and insights.

A key point for us was Mike Wilson reminding manufacturers that “automation is ‘more than just robots. It can be a simple conveyor'” and reference to ‘flexible automation’.

Whilst robots are the ‘in thing’ at the moment, as they can often act as humans in grabbing, lifting and picking things up sensitively and gently, there is still much to be celebrated about the humble conveyors. Be it gravity rollers or more complex, innovative and bespoke solutions like those in our extensive range, as they can be used, not just in manufacturing but also processing and areas of logistics, fulfillment and distribution; loading, stacking, layering, palletising and off/unloading vehicles or production lines.

James Selka described the ‘crisis’ being experienced and the various reports that he and the MTA have conducted, carried out and contributed to and proposed that “the biggest barrier might be the skills to employ the technology that companies are investing in”.

The discussion inevitably included reference to AI (which has been around longer than people think, as well as the fact that implementing automation and programmed conveyors and processing systems can reduce, prevent and help you manage health and safety risk – with and without the use of light curtain sensors which shut off and emergency stop machines when workers are in the line of risk (caught by the sensor or laser) and protection guarding – something that we actively promote and are conscious of for out customers and installations.

You can watch the Panel discussions, from throughout the day on X/Twitter or LinkedIn

Call a member of our team on 01282 479922 today to discuss your Mattress Machinery requirements.


Unit 3 Forest Mill
Burnley Road East
Water, Rossendale

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