Resilient UK manufacturing


The continued resilience of the UK’s manufacturing base has delivered a strong sales year for Yamazaki Mazak in the UK. Despite challenging conditions, the company has reported strong sales in key markets and machine categories as UK manufacturers continued to invest in new technologies.

Alan Mucklow, Managing Director UK, Eire and National Distributors at Yamazaki Mazak, says the company’s strong UK sales demonstrate that UK manufacturing remains highly competitive.

“Against a challenging backdrop of rising inflation, interest rates, skills shortages and energy costs, we have delivered a strong year for machine sales driven in large part by the continued resilience of the UK’s manufacturing base. The post-COVID upturn that started in H2 2021 continued into 2022 and we delivered a record month for production in late autumn. Our new machine sales figures are proof that UK manufacturing is willing to invest in new technology in order to remain productive and competitive.

He continued: “Our customers are telling us that they remain very busy, order books are full and they are confident about the future, particularly those who have more technologically-advanced machining operations. Anecdotally, we are hearing that there is still a 5-axis capacity gap in the market which is a major opportunity for the UK’s subcontract manufacturing base. The message coming from the market is that if you’ve got the right technology, we’ll help you fill that machine.”

Mr Mucklow says Mazak has demonstrated strong growth across multiple sectors and machine types. “We’ve seen growth in key sectors including defence, medical and energy, including renewables; as well as automotive, which is trying to fill a backlog of orders for new vehicles. The stand-out sector however has been aerospace, which is benefiting from the major aircraft OEMs increasing production, such as Airbus with the A320.”

He continued: “We’ve also benefited from the introduction of new machines with a lower price point, such as the CV5-500 5-axis machining centre that continues to be a star performer amongst our UK-built machines. The VCE-600 vertical machining center is opening up new opportunities amongst customers who have never previously acquired Mazak technology, and we’ve seen very strong interest in our new VCN-700 high performance machining center.”

Looking forward, Mr Mucklow says Mazak is responding to demand in the market with a number of initiatives. “We’re continuing to work closely with automation partners to deliver plug and play machine and automation solutions that are helping our customers respond to the deepening skills crisis. Our automation solutions continue to go from strength to strength as customers see the value of freeing up high-value employees from low-value tasks to concentrate on critical applications.

“We’re also introducing a new sales structure that will be rolled out shortly and, the fact that it is an EMO year, will inevitably drive further innovation. There is much to look forward to and we remain very positive in our outlook.”

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