Engineering and Manufacturing Forum – May 2024

Author - Jasmin Brown

Date published:

At our most recent engineering and manufacturing forum hosted by Husqvarna in Newton Aycliffe we focussed on the use of AI and robotics in the sector.

Following an introduction by the forum’s Chair, Mick Howard, Chief Executive at Clearly Drinks we moved on to our hosts Husqvarna. Caraline Robinson, Managing Director welcomed us to their site and talked about how she has progressed from starting as an apprentice due to the firm’s people focus. Caraline also highlighted their commitment to 100% green electricity and recycling equipment.

The group then heard from Lee Francis Engineering Manager at Husqvarna who highlighted how the business is moving towards lean manufacturing to avoid repetitive tasks with teams being upskilled. Robotics are being used in packing with an algorithm being used to to decide how different products can be packed. They are also looking to use AI to look for defects that are not standard and use machine learning to identify which processes lead to defects.

Members then heard from Deborah Hardoon and Evie Wilkinson from HM Treasury who talked about the strength of the UK’s digital sector and he Government’s pro—innovation approach to AI regulation to ensure safety as well as the AI upskilling fund.

Finally, as part of the wellbeing update the group heard from Matthew Williams from Knock Out Depression who run community programmes and workplace training combining boxing training with support.

Attendees then enjoyed the opportunities to network and make new connections and catch up with existing contacts from across the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

After the forum attendees were able to go on a tour of Husqvarna and see some of robotics and new processes in person.

The Chamber’s engineering and manufacturing forum has been established to bring together North East businesses across engineering and manufacturing sectors, as a platform for focused discussion, sharing concerns, achievements, and best practice and information gathering to support effective Chamber campaigning.

To find out more or to be included in the forum invite list, please contact either: [email protected] or [email protected].

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