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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Jul-18 > Policy report: Manufacturing

Policy report: Manufacturing

Britain must do more to boost its manufacturing sector. But what? Should government encourage innovation—or is the real problem the financial sector’s failure to lend? And if Britain were to start churning out huge amounts of high-end manufactured goods, who would buy them all?

Britain’s 3D future

Alan Mak

A pair of Adidas trainers—the soles were made by 3D printing
© KRISZTIAN BOCSI/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

At an automated Adidas plant in Germany, 3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, is changing the way manufacturing works. Adidas can now shift production from the cheap Asian outsourcers to plants closer to its key consumer markets. As a result, the company can react quickly to changing demand.

3D printing is a valuable source of lowvolume, high-value production. GKN Aerospace recently signed an agreement to print aircraft parts in titanium. The hope is to halve assembly time and slash waste material by up to 90 per cent. Imagine if clicking a mouse caused a product to be made locally then delivered to your door.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect's July issue: Editor of Prospect Tom Clark tackles the major fault lines developing in the Conservative Party over Brexit, arguing that the issue could be one of those few occasions where the Tories can’t overcome a significant challenge. Alongside his lead essay, Andrew Gamble, professor of politics at the University of Sheffield, examines why many European parties on the right are struggling and why the continent should be worried. Conservative MP Lee Rowley charts what some of the policy areas that the Tories will have to deal with beyond Brexit if they are to get it right. Elsewhere in the issue: Nabeelah Jaffer tries to answer one of the most difficult questions of our time: how do you de-radicalise an extremist. Using examples from both the UK and Denmark, she argues that the UK model needs more work to be effective; Philip Collins asks why Britain’s towns have fallen by the wayside while its cities have thrived; and Sam Tanenhaus profiles “the real deal-maker” in Donald Trump’s White House, Mike Pompeo, after the Secretary of State oversaw the US-North Korea summit.