Top three industrial trends in 2016

UK manufacturing has faced relatively uncertain times in recent years. The economic collapse of 2008 led to a hostile period of market instability, which coincided with a period of great technological growth - with few of these technologies being properly adopted due to costs. Almost a decade later, these advancements are at last becoming increasingly common in industrial sectors. John Cove, Marketing Manager of metrology and saw blade specialist Starrett, explores these current industry trends.

Technology is currently advancing at a rate never before seen and it is showing little sign of slowing down. Concepts that have existed for some time, such as additive manufacturing and big data, are now becoming commonplace and being used in new and innovative ways.

Starrett was excited to exhibit at this year's MACH trade show, alongside a number of other industry-leading businesses. The show not only demonstrated the ways that the industry is adjusting to new trends, but also the considerations that go into making these exciting concepts a reality.

Accuracy of big data

Big data in particular is becoming increasingly valuable to businesses. While the idea of accumulating and analysing large quantities of data from technological sources has been around since the turn of the century, it has taken us nearly a fifth of that to develop our infrastructure to a point where it can be used effectively.

Once analysed, this data can provide valuable insight into processes and can highlight areas for improvement. This is driving an industry requirement for precision measurement to ensure that data is accurate, which can be challenging in most manufacturing environments where time is of the essence and multiple tests are required to provide readings.

However, there has been progress on this front. Starrett's range of force measurement machines tackle this problem head on, using software developed to run multiple tests simultaneously for more accurate and immediate data. This can then be fed back to another device for analysis.

Additive manufacturing, not testing

One of the most prominent trends observed at 2016's industrial trade shows is that of new manufacturing techniques, particularly additive manufacturing. Initially, this process was used for quickly creating prototypes to offer a tangible insight into the end product, but in recent years we have seen this develop into a parts manufacturing process in its own right.

However, this new method of manufacturing is seeing businesses move away from conventional parts, creating challenges in terms of batch testing and measurement. As opposed to parts that fit the clean-cut shapes most measurement machines are designed for, additive manufacturing allows for more complex structures and shapes. It's not unusual now for parts to be designed in a hexagonal or even honeycomb shape, which prove difficult to submit for batch testing analysis.

Fortunately, the industry is adapting to this change. The software used by measurement devices is becoming increasingly successful at recognising and analysing challenging designs. Combining this with specialist technical knowledge allows businesses to ensure reliability and effectiveness in spite of these unconventional designs.

New materials and new challenges

Alongside the prospect of additive manufacturing, we're also seeing new and stronger materials being developed. Innovations such as graphene are providing manufacturers many opportunities to reinforce their existing surfaces with coatings of durable new materials, as well as to create entirely new structures.

These tougher surfaces are great selling points for manufacturers that make use of them, but they can become problematic further down the line. Contractors required to work on those materials may find difficulty in cutting through them, much in the same way that pre-existing surfaces made of materials including brickwork, masonry, plastic and wood, require specialist approaches.

As demonstrated at this year's trade shows, Starrett has developed a tool to address this dilemma. The new range of carbide-tipped hole saws is designed to run at higher drill speeds to cut through stronger and denser materials efficiently, with the carbide tips providing a deeper cut than standard steel tips.

As the UK continues on the path to economic recovery, the manufacturing sector is also progressing towards widespread adoption of these new technologies. If businesses continue to tackle the hurdles that may arise, it isn't beyond belief that we could even witness these innovations become commonplace in the next few years.

For more information about Starrett's products and services please visit

The L. S. Starrett Company Ltd

Oxnam road

+44 (0)1835 863501

More technical articles
17 hours ago
Spring budget presents mixed bag for UK industry
The Chancellor’s spring budget presents a mixed bag for UK industry, says Mark Yeeles, VP for industrial automation at Schneider Electric in the UK and Ireland, commenting: “While the full expensing measures are a good step towards encouraging the investment that is vital for our sector to become more efficient and productive, the imminent end to energy cost support presents an existential threat to many businesses in our sector.”
3 days ago
William G Search wins Atlas Copco Compressors’ Distributor of the Year Award
Honouring William G Search with the Distributor of the Year Award, Ariel Rubinstein, general manager at Atlas Copco Compressors, said: “At Atlas Copco, we want to recognise and celebrate partners who contribute towards our overall growth.
3 days ago
CMZ and NSK celebrate over 25 years of technology collaboration
World-renowned Spanish lathe manufacturer CMZ is lauding more than 25 years of high-level technological collaboration with linear motion and bearing specialist NSK. The company’s machines incorporate NSK innovations that include ground ball screws, linear guides and super-precision bearings.
4 days ago
Ensuring regulatory compliance for razor blade assembly machine
When consulting services company Laicon identified the need to appoint a European Authorised Representative (EUAR) in compliance with EU Regulation 2019/1020 for a razor blade assembly machine project, it turned to Hold Tech Files.
4 days ago
Delta Electronics recognised as Top 100 Global Innovator 2023 by Clarivate
Delta has been honoured for the second consecutive year as one of the Top 100 Global Innovators (2023) by Clarivate for its superior innovation and patent intellectual property portfolio.
4 days ago
Schneider Electric appoints Mark Yeeles as vice president for Secure Power
Schneider Electric has appointed Mark Yeeles as the new vice president of its Secure Power division in the UK and Ireland. Yeeles joins the Secure Power division from Schneider Electric’s Industrial Automation business, where he delivered a sustained period of growth through its robotics and process automation solutions.
5 days ago
Sustainability and green technology create new markets
Sustainability efforts create entirely new markets, lead to attractive business models, and offer great opportunities for the key technology that is robotics and automation. Automatica, held in Munich from 27 to 30 June 2023, presents the opportunities of sustainable production.
5 days ago
SBTi approves SKF’s science-based emissions reduction targets
SKF has received validation of its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions reduction targets from the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi). The SBTi has verified SKF’s net-zero target by 2050, validating both SKF’s near and long-term science-based emissions reduction targets.
6 days ago
New labour saving ‘apple-ication’ for ai-optimised 3D vision
Scorpion Vision is presenting a new application for its AI-powered 3D vision platform. The new 3D+AI solution will enable fresh produce processors to automate the peeling, coring and chopping of apples without impacting yield for the first time ever.
6 days ago
Low-cost molecular diagnostic tests delivered using Festo technology
A new near-patient diagnostic testing system which promises to slash the waiting time for results relies on handling gantries and electric axes from Festo for pipetting and dispensing.

Login / Sign up