The metals sector in the UK is very diverse, ranging from large multinationals producing primary raw materials, to SMEs located all around the UK supplying castings, forgings and a wide range of other services into the Advanced Manufacturing supply chain as well as a robust supply chain for the recycling and re-use of metals.
Process and product innovation will be vital if the UK Metals Industry is to grow and thrive. Yet the metals sector, like so many foundation industries, is often overlooked as it is incorrectly perceived to not be novel or innovative. In addition, research shows that many companies, and SMEs in particular, do not value research and development (R&D). This is due to the cost, the perceived high rate of failure and the lack of quick returns on investment.
To achieve the Industry’s 2030 vision, a forward-thinking, collaborative approach to R&D needs to embed innovation throughout the industry, from the smallest company to the largest organisation.
The Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge, part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, ISCF, is investing £66 million in a partnership with UK businesses to develop sustainable technologies that reduce the environmental impact of the Foundation Industries (Cleantech for heavy industries). This is to ensure that these sectors remain internationally competitive and are ready to meet the government commitment of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The UKMC recognises that as one of the foundation industries, alongside glass, cement, bulk chemicals, paper and ceramics, it has a role to play in ensuring that the sector is able steer any projects so that its member companies, who are all part of the metals sector supply chain, are able to fully engage and benefit from the results of research work carried out.
The UKMC seeks to exploit any opportunities for coordinated activity and cross-cutting research through the cross-sector knowledge transfer that will be enabled through the new ISCF in order to improve the sectors productivity and global competitiveness.
To encourage innovation, commitments sought from policymakers may include:
19/07/22 - Stellar Speaker Line-up Announced for the New UK Metals Expo organised in Partnership with the UK Metals Council.
UK Metals Council is the proud partner of UK Metals Expo, the NEW free to attend event that brings the entire metals supply chain together with the engineering and manufacturing sector on 14 and 15 September at the NEC in Birmingham.
13/06/22 - UK Metals Council Welcomes UK Government Apprenticeship Reforms Article
Skills and recruitment issues are particularly challenging at present with a shortage of trained people entering the metals sector and more people retiring with specialist hard to replace skills.
UK Metals Council welcomes reforms announced by UK Government, whilst recognising that much more is needed to support the sector, which is key to levelling up, the UK circular economy for metals and the net zero supply chain.
04/03/22 - Steel Decarbonisation Strategies 2022 and UK Metals Council
The world's carbon neutral future will be built with steel. It is a critical component in solutions such as wind power turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and green buildings.