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A-level Business Studies - Manufacturing in the UK: Technological change

A guide to resources about manufacturing in the UK, compiled by your librarians.

What's on this page?

Technological advances have already had a huge impact on manufacturing and will continue to do so. This page covers some of the current trends in technology that are affecting manufacture now and will do so in the future.

Find out about:

Technological change

This short video outlines the challenge for manufacturing industries of keeping up with technological change. 


Technology and Innovation Centres

This video introduces the UK's Catapult centres.   "Catapults are centres of technology and innovation where the best engineers, researchers and businesses work side by side to help accelerate the journey of new products and services to the market. There are seven Catapults which focus on high value manufacturing, offshore renewable energy, cell therapy, connected digital economy, transport systems, future cities and satellite applications." Source: Youtube

This video looks at The Advanced Manufacturing Research Park outside Sheffield.  This is one of the centres of excellence helping to take innovation out of the laboratory and into the market place.

Technology in new product development

This video looks at the role of technology in new product development at Caterpillar UK.

The video specifically looks at the development of the next generation of high-powered diesel engines.

Big data

Big data and knowledge based automation "will be important in the on-going automation of many tasks that formerly required people.  In addition, the volume and detail of information captured by businesses and the rise of multimedia, social media and the internet of things will fuel future increases in data, allowing firms to understand customer preferences and personalise products."  (Source of information: The Future of Manufacturing)


3D printing

3D printing "is expected to have a profound impact on the way manufacturers make almost any product.  It will become an essential 'tool' allowing designs to be optimised to reduce waste; products to be made as light as possible; inventories of spare parts to be reduced; greater flexibility in the location of manuturing; products to be personalised to consumers; consumers to make some of their own products; and products to be made ith new graded composition and bespoke properties." - Source of information - The future of manufacturing)

This video introduces plans to build a dedicated 3D Printing Centre that will be located next to the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry.

This video gives a useful introduction to 3D printing and discusses some of the implications that 3D printing will have on businesses manufacturing in the UK.  

Please bear in mind that any predictions are the presenter's personal opinions.



Advances in advanced and autonomous robotics "are likely to make many routine manufaturing operations obselete, including healthcare and surgery, food preparation and cleaning activities.  Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles will boost the development of computer vision, sensors including radars and GPS, and remote control algorithms.  3D measurement and vision will be able to adapt to conditions, and track human gestures" (Source of information - The future of manufacturing)

This 2014 Financial Times report looks at Rethink Robotics' latest creation, Baxter.  The company believes the robot will redefine how robotics are used in manufacturing. It can be trained to perform more delicate operations. FT's Sarah Mishkin finds out how the makers envisage it being used in the workplace.


The development of the internet has provided a wide range of opportunities for businesses.

Here is an example:

Internet of Things

"There is potential for major impacts in terms of business optimisation, resource management, energy minimisation, and remote healthcare.  In factory and process environments, virtually everything is expected to be connected via central networks.  Increasingly, new products will have embedded sensors and become autonomous" (Source of information - The future of manufacturing)

Find out about the Internet of Things and how it is likely to impact our lives in the future.

Cloud computing

Computerised manufacturing execution systems (MES) will work increasingly in real time to enable the control of multiple elements of the production process. Opportunities will be created for enhanced productivity, supply chain management, resource and material planning and customer relationship managment. (Source of information: The future of manufacturing)