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New UK Government Scheme May Make Britain a 3D Printing Hotbed

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Last June, Britain’s Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable announced a £14.7 million investment to develop 3D printing projects within the UK.  It is already paying off, bringing more jobs back to domestic soil. The success of the program has shown politicians just how important a strong manufacturing sector can be for the nation.

Manufacturing is a key sector of the United Kingdom’s job market, one which employs over 2.5 million people and contributes almost £140 billion a year to their economy. A strong manufacturing sector usually means a strong, vibrant economy. This is why the government has announced yet another £100 million earmarking of funds, for the sole purpose of strengthening the manufacturing supply chain, and bringing jobs back to the United Kingdom from other nations.

Britain's Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable

Britain’s Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable

Business Secretary Vince Cable stated: “A strong manufacturing sector is vital to a balanced economic recovery and I want to ensure that Britain’s supply chains are up to the task of supporting the sector in the long term.”

Companies within the UK will be able to bid for a portion of the funds which are now made available via the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI). The funds are to be put to use to strengthen research and development initiatives, as well as train employees to operate new means of manufacturing. such as additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. With 3D printing, there can oftentimes be a somewhat steep learning curve. Unlike traditional manufacturing techniques, which require mainly laborious tasks, 3D printing requires an understanding of the software which controls the printers. This means that those within the manufacturing sector need new training, which can cost companies a great deal of money. Companies can bid for funding at the AMSCI website.

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“This is another welcome boost for British manufacturing, which will have a positive impact on the wider economy,” said Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, Terry Scuoler. “Our own research shows that in the last three years, one in six companies have re-shored production back to the UK with many turning to a UK-based supply chain for parts and components. High value manufacturing creates jobs and wealth here so I’m delighted to see the Government getting behind it.”

The UK is not alone in their drive to enhance their manufacturing sector via the latest technologies, such as additive manufacturing. The governments of the United States, Finland, Japan, and China, among others, have all helped fund initiatives to further the development of 3D printing technology within their nations.  There is no doubt, that there is an almost war-like mentality among several nations, which has increased the rapid progress we have seen in the development of new manufacturing capabilities.  No nation wants to be left behind because those who don’t adapt to the latest means of manufacturing will see a drastic negative economic impact.

How big of an effect will this funding have on the UK economy? Let us know your opinion in the 3DPB.com forum thread related to this article.

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