Scott Patterson, defence director, Petards

Tell us more about you and the company

I am proud to be representing Petards (one of the founding members of NDI and now a leading provider of security, surveillance and communication technology) at the Make UK conference. Petards helps the military, government agencies and other companies adopt innovative technologies. Following a career as a Weapons Engineer in the Royal Navy I spent eight years with Babcock International where I helped to create their Smart Technology roadmaps, Augmented Reality systems and high performing support solutions.

Now with Petards I oversee our Defence division. We provide a range of rugged military equipment from Electronic Warfare systems on aircraft to control systems on Main Battle Tanks. I recently led the development and launch of their newest product - eyeCraft 360™. EyeCraft 360™ is the world’s first 360-degree spherical camera system for armoured vehicles. It dramatically improves local situational awareness for the crew, making them safer and the vehicle more capable. EyeCraft 360™ was launched at DSEI this year and has already been taken forward by the British Army for trials.

What, for you, is the most pressing concern facing manufacturing in the UK?

For me the most pressing concern facing manufacturing in the UK is skills. Not just the fashionable skills in software, analytics or data science (although those are vital too) but also the traditional hands-on craftsmanship and know-how. I see an older generation who can still design for robust manufacture, build, assemble and test. I also see a huge gap where the younger generations haven’t served their time and aren’t developing their own similar skills. The gap is now often filled by overseas suppliers. They do provide very high-quality components at competitive prices but for some of our defence customers it just isn’t be appropriate to rely on them alone. Unfortunately, the UK supply base has got thinner and we have to look harder and harder for good manufacturing companies to work with.

How can events like the National Manufacturing Conference help address these concerns?

Events like the National Manufacturing Conference help address these concerns by raising the profile of the manufacturing sector and helping us all work together to share resources and knowledge.

Why should manufacturers attend the conference?

In my view manufacturers should attend the conference to Events like the National Manufacturing Conference can help address this by bringing us all together to share experiences, network and collaborate. We can always learn something from each other.

What is your hope for the future of the industry?

We believe that UK manufacturing can still lead the way in the world. Ongoing political events emphasise the need for get out into new markets and show what we can do. That’s the way to create real value and allow long term investment in high quality manufacturing jobs and skills.

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Mark Sage, executive director, AR for Enterprise Alliance (AREA)

Tell us more about you and the company

The AREA is the only global, membership-funded non-profit alliance dedicated to helping accelerate the adoption of Enterprise Augmented Reality (AR) by supporting the growth of a comprehensive ecosystem.

We support innovative companies, investing in AR technology who need a better understanding of the tools available, use cases, methods of implementation and return on investment.

What, for you, is the most pressing concern facing manufacturing in the UK?

To be able to compete and survive in a global economy, UK manufacturing companies need to operate at peak performance. Companies need to embrace technology to make a real, tangible difference and the use of Augmented Reality is one of many useful technologies.

How can events like the National Manufacturing Conference help address these concerns?

The National Manufacturing Conference provides a unique opportunity to listen to the industry thought leaders, gain industry insights and help develop best practice

Why should manufacturers attend the conference?

To ensure your company is relevant, well informed and take the opportunity to network with peers and industry experts.

What is your hope for the future of the industry?

The industry continues to position itself as global leading, dynamic and technology leading which will help us overcome any future challenges.

Manufacturing Management is proud to be the official media partner of Make UK's National Manufacturing Conference, taking place on 25 February 2020 at the QEII Exhibition Centre, London. For more information, and to register your place, visit the event website.