Barclays has said today it believes that further automation and utilisation of robotics could add as much as £60.5bn to the sector, and the economy as a whole, over the next 10 years. It would take the size of the manufacturing sector above pre-recession levels and mark a 20 per cent increase in its value compared with today.
While automation can put jobs at risk, Barclays said more would be created along the supply chain.
The bank also said the extra investment would only cost the sector £1.2bn, representing a return of £49 of economic output for every £1 invested.
The sector seems to agree. A survey of 639 manufacturing bosses commissioned by Barclays found 76 per cent of them believe there are opportunities for further investment in automation.
They said the biggest boost to innovation would be better access to external funding. The manufacturers also highlighted the need for flexible equipment that could accomplish multiple tasks.