Last week’s Anglo-German seminars followed on from the 1997 series, which featured speakers from Japan. The Machine Tools Technologies Association (MTTA) will look to the US next year.
Simon Brown, MTTA director general, says the seminars helped raise the profile of UK machine tool expertise. But Germany has an advantage in that its machine tool research ‘is heavily supported by industry and its trade body’. The German industry is bigger than the UK’s (see graphs), a difference only partly accounted for by the larger size of German manufacturing.
The UK has centres of excellence such as Birmingham, Aston and Huddersfield Universities and Warwick’s International Manufacturing Centre. But the laboratory of machine tools and production engineering at Aachen University alone has over 500 staff. ‘In that respect we’re behind,’ says Brown.