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UK laser industry launches strategy for government to grow manufacturing

The UK laser industry has urged the UK Government to follow a strategy deploying lasers within production processes to grow the manufacturing sector.

Launching its Lasers for Productivity: a UK Strategy at Portcullis House, Westminster, on 6 March, the Association of Industrial Laser Users (AILU) and its partners, identified four key recommendations to accelerate the adoption of laser-based manufacturing and production: process demonstration and customisation for SMEs; increase skills and training; laser sources and process innovation; and greater access to finance.

AILU would like all UK manufacturers to have the skills, finance, knowledge and confidence to deploy lasers within their factories to increase productivity.

Speaking about the future of the laser industry as part of the wider UK industrial strategy, sponsor of the event, Joanna Cherry QC MP, who counts within her constituency a number laser industry stakeholders, said: ‘The photonics industry is a growth industry. Institutions are really helping to drive this forward with entrepreneurship and innovation within photonics.’

The launch of the UK laser industry’s inaugural strategy document heralds a new, forward-thinking drive towards a pan-industry approach to ensure that efficiency, innovation and technology are at the forefront of UK manufacturing, production and services.

Talking about the recommendations of its strategy, Jonathan Blackburn, vice-president of AILU, said: ‘Our recommendations are founded on the strong partnerships we have with the UK laser and, more widely, the photonics industries. Currently, the global laser industry contributes in excess of £10 billion to the world economy, and it is widely predicted to continue at its current growth rate of 10 per cent per annum. By adopting these recommendations, the UK Government and the UK laser industry can work together to ensure that the UK is leading the way in the digitisation of manufacturing, production, healthcare and research and development.’

The authors of the report include: industry stakeholders; AILU; the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN); and EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-based Production Processes.

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