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3 February, 2023

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Blogs & Opinions » Gambica

Will 2023 be a good year for industrial automation?

01 February, 2023

The UK industrial automation sector performed remarkably well during 2022 considering the many pressures that it experienced. Can this continue into 2023? Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, looks at what lies ahead for the sector.

At Gambica, during our special interest group and council meetings, we usually talk about market trends and the outlook for the sector, and discuss where we think the industrial automation market is heading. The past three years have certainly been very unpredictable, with so many external shocks and pressures causing our member companies to feel a fair deal of uncertainty.

However, despite this, 2022 saw a significant increase in revenues for all categories of products in the industrial automation sector. Our categories include variable-speed drives, controlgear, PLCs, Scada software, terminals, soft-starters and many more.

This was a very positive sign for our industry. It was evident from the figures that the UK industrial automation market had managed to stay resilient despite the many external pressures, raising the value of the market to nearly where it had been before the pandemic.

But what does this mean for the year ahead? Will the market simply continue to do what it’s been doing? The honest answer there, is no. Instead of carrying on as normal, the New Year’s resolution for the industrial automation sector must be to use 2022 as a benchmark, with the aim of continually increasing the market value over the coming years. By encouraging end-users to automate and digitalise their processes, the knock-on effect will reap huge benefits for our industries.

We are certainly unable to predict what this year may bring in terms of external shocks. As it is, the cost of living and energy prices rises are continuing to impact both UK businesses and our personal lives. However, as an industry, we must prevent ourselves from becoming complacent based upon the successes of the past year.

Last year, I discussed frequently how automation was the “answer” to the pandemic, and how many Gambica members felt that their order books were gaining traction as a result of companies looking to “future-proof” their processes. This is a good sign for large projects, however it doesn’t always mean repeat business. That is another reason to ensure that, as an industry, we are not complacent, and continue to upskill our workforce and find ways in which we can add value to end-users.

Perhaps later in the year I will publish the official Gambica Index for last year, which demonstrates the overall trend of the market, without giving away any valuable commercial data. That would be a great way of illustrating the trends which I am discussing.

In general, I am trying to stress that we needn’t slow down our efforts to encourage businesses to automate, based on the fact that we had a good year last year. In fact, we should aim for 2023 to exceed those numbers, as hopefully inflation begins to balance out later in the year and perhaps the exchange rate fluctuations may start to steady, helping businesses with imports of components.

In six months’ time, I hope to be writing another article explaining how we’ve seen more consistent growth from the industrial automation market in the first half of 2023. Often, it can be the case that certain businesses lack the knowledge about where to get started on their journey to help contribute to this industry boost. This is why it is important for trade associations such as ours, as well as organisations such as the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Government-backed movements such as Made Smarter, to offer the best advice and to share knowledge to help end-users to embark on their journeys.


* Gambica is the trade association for the automation, control, instrumentation and laboratory technology sectors in the UK.  For more information, please contact Nikesh Mistry on 020 7642 8094 or via nikesh.mistry@gambica.org.uk


Help to win over future engineers at an early age

20 December, 2022

There’s strong evidence that the best time to attract people into future careers in engineering is when they are very young. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, argues that practicing engineers and automation specialists can play a key role in helping to persuade youngsters to follow similar careers.


Make the most of what you already have

14 November, 2022

Digitalising a manufacturing operation does not necessarily involve making large investments in new equipment. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, argues that upgrading existing installations and upskilling your workforce can often achieve similar results at a much lower cost.


Help is at hand to guide you on your digital journey

01 October, 2022

It can be bewildering for manufacturers embarking on the journey to digitalise their operations. But, argues Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, expert help is available to guide them in the right direction.


What is blocking the path to the fourth industrial revolution

01 September, 2022

The UK lags behind other industrial nations in adopting digitised manufacturing technologies. Why is this? Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, reports on a recent gathering of experts to discuss the issue.


Manufacturers’ resilience is the key

01 August, 2022

Manufacturing industry has had to cope with a series of shocks in recent years, but most manufacturers have managed to survive – and, in some cases, to thrive. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, argues that a key element in this has been the resilience of UK manufacturers.


Equipping young people with skills for life

01 June, 2022

In the never-ending quest to boost the UK’s present and future engineering skills, Gambica is backing the Worldskills competition-based training and assessment scheme as a way of attracting and fostering new talent. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, explains the background.


Automation adapts to our changing times

01 May, 2022

The past few years have thrown up almost unprecedented challenges for the automation sector in the form of Brexit, the Covid pandemic, supply chain problems and now the war in Ukraine. But Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, reports that the sector has shown remarkable resilience and has even discovered new areas for business.


One step forwards; how many steps back?

01 April, 2022

Just as the UK manufacturing sector appeared to be heading for recovery following the Covid pandemic, the Ukrainian conflict has intervened, with effects that can only be speculated about at this stage. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, explains how his organisation is planning to help its members.


Are you ready for Industry 5.0?

01 March, 2022

We are still getting to grips with the concept of Industry 4.0, but already we are being told it’s time to start thinking about Industry 5.0. What’s going on? Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, explains.


Goodbye 2021, hello 2022

01 February, 2022

Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, reflects on the momentous year just ended, and gazes into his crystal ball for 2022 to predict some trends that might emerge.


Learning lessons from the pandemic

05 January, 2022

Covid-19 has changed the way that UK industrial companies operate in many ways. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for automation, considers the longer-term effects that the pandemic may have on British industry.


Banging heads together to solve the skills conundrum

30 November, 2021

Gambica has created a group that brings together academics with industry representatives in an attempt to move forward in solving the perennial problem of how to create a skilled workforce for the future. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for industrial automation, reports on the group’s activities and the progress it has made.


What do the new efficiency regulations mean for you?

15 October, 2021

New regulations on efficiency levels for motors and VSDs came into effect in July. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for industrial automation, examines the changes and their implications for motor and drives users.


Manufacturers need help if UK is to achieve full potential

14 September, 2021

The need to move towards net-zero emissions is adding to the pressures faced by UK manufacturers. Nikesh Mistry*, Gambica’s sector head for industrial automation, argues that if they are to make the transition, they will need government assistance. 


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