Fluke Reliability’s view on the UK’s 2024 Spring Budget: £360 million to be invested in UK strategic manufacturing sector a welcome addition for the industry

Ankush Malhotra, President of Fluke Reliability, has welcomed the £360 million pound funding package to boost innovation in UK manufacturing announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt as part of his Spring Budget.

Addressing the updates from the UK Spring Budget, he said “New technologies like artificial intelligence can help businesses save money and make informed decisions about capital expenditure by providing better information about the condition of their existing assets.

Manufacturing has been overshadowed by other highly polarising topics in the run up to this Budget, but we mustn’t forget that sectors like life sciences, automotive and aerospace which are the focus of this investment will play a key part in reviving the UK economy.

At a time of economic uncertainty, when businesses are understandably cautious about investing in new equipment, it’s good to see the emergence of a strategy that builds on commitments set out in the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan.

Extending the Made Smarter Adoption programme, which supports SMEs who are using advanced digital technologies, alongside the new Industry Innovation Accelerator will help companies identify how they can speed up the use of transformative technologies like artificial intelligence.

An important part of this digital transition is that it makes it easier for businesses to take a more joined-up approach to maintaining their existing assets. By thinking in terms of connected reliability, they can bring hardware, services and software from across the enterprise together into a single maintenance ecosystem.

Using predictive technologies like artificial intelligence to analyse data not only helps to avoid breakdowns that can cause costly disruption to operations, it also provides the basis for better informed planning of where investment in new equipment will be required. This means the £520 million allocated to support life sciences manufacturing can go that much further for enterprises, with the visibility of those at the top.

Although some adoption of artificial intelligence is being driven in part by a shortage of skilled labour, these tools work best when they are incorporated in workflows alongside human experts.

We need to invest in emerging talent and reinforce the manufacturing industry as a valuable and attractive market to work in – experimenting with new technology is one way to do this. But it’s also good to see that the Budget included investment in apprenticeships that will help to foster and grow younger talent to help fill the roles of the future.”