Those of us associated with engineering and manufacturing have never been in
any doubt about its capacity to make the world a be er place.
But it’s fair to say that in the perennial quest to a ract and inspire the next
generation, and to address outmoded and entrenched perceptions of what
engineering’s all about, industry evangelists have often faced something of an uphill
The engineering response to the Covid-19 crisis - arguably the greatest
mobilisation of the UK’s manufacturers since World War Two - provides a golden
opportunity to address this perception gap.
From tales of fi rms repurposing production lines to produce face shields for
health workers, to stories of academic research groups transforming themselves into
manufacturers, the engineering response to the pandemic has straddled sectors and
disciplines, and spurred into action organisations of all shapes and sizes. We look at
a number of these stories over the following pages, and hear directly from some of the
manufacturers involved about what they’ve achieved and how they’ve overcome the
challenges that they have faced (page 22).
We also talk to High Value Manufacturing chief executive Dick Elsy (page 18)
leader of the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium, the headline grabbing crossindustry
eff ort to scale up ventilator production for the NHS.
Elsy describes the events of the past couple of months as having “an engineering’s
fi nest hour” feel about them, and is determined that this high-profi le tale of the
positive impact of engineering is put to good use.
The engineering response to Covid-19 also contains some valuable lessons for
industry itself, he adds, both in terms of highlighting the frailties of existing supply
chains, and demonstrating the genuine utility of digital collaboration tools.
The rise of the UK
Gigafactory; reshoring and
priorities for post Covid
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The aim of
is to champion
across all of
the UK’s key
sectors. Jon Excell EDITO R • JON.EXCELL@MARKALLENGROUP.COM
More broadly, it has shown what can be achieved when organisations set aside
their corporate diff erences and work together on a common challenge. And as
manufacturing moves beyond the current crisis and begins the process of recovering
and identifying new opportunities it’s vital that that it hangs onto this reinvigorated
spirit of collaboration.
For all of these reasons it’s important that the engineering stories of the
past couple of months are not forgo en which is why The Engineer is delighted
to have joined forces with its sister engineering titles at MA Business to launch
#EngineeringHeroes, a special campaign established to help ensure that the
engineering response to Covid-19 is kept in the spotlight for as long as possible.
To fi nd out more, or to pledge your organisation’s support to this initiative visit
development takes as
long as 14 years
2 Gravity energy
to debut in Scotland
3 Ventilator scale
across nine sites
4 59 per cent of
the pandemic should
prompt a major UK
sold his possessions
to fund the project
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June 2020 / www.theengineer.co.uk 4