Scotland’s manufacturing sector has been invented and reinvented but it has always been to forefront of world technology.

It was global, not locally-controlled trends shaped the way big beasts like the car industry and Silicon Glen were built and dismantled.

However, new ways of creating products where industry and academic experts work closely together in research centres and laboratories are now changing the way manufacturers approach the future aerospace, oil and gas, energy and rail and car industries.

If new models of linking manufacturing directly to university-level research to industry like Strathclyde University’s Advanced Forming Research Centre can be replicated, it could be a winning formula.


Above: An artist's impression of FutureForge centre

In all, the country has led the way through three "industrial revolutions"; mechanisation, electric mass production and computer automation.

It is hoped through embracing novel ways of manufacturing Scotland will continue to lead.

The Strathclyde University facility is already a globally-recognised centre of excellence in innovative manufacturing technologies, engineering research and development, and metal forming and forging research.

It is also seen as a critical link between manufacturers in Scotland and global manufacturing innovation and expertise.

However, the new AFRC factor will also mean, according to proponents, that the Industry 4.0 technological framework's “smart factories” will be able to elevate to an industrial scale the changes that in the last 10 years have had a such a huge an impact on all our personal lives, from embedded AI to the App economy.

It is also claimed that the same technologies - together with many others - will change the way we build both products and our economy tomorrow in the so-called fourth industrial revolution.