May 16, 2020

UK manufacturing industry slows after best quarter in three and a half years

Sophie Chapman
2 min
Markit/CIPS records best month in manufacturing for four years
The manufacturing sector in the UK hit its highest quarter in three and a half years in November 2017, which was followed by a dip in December.


The manufacturing sector in the UK hit its highest quarter in three and a half years in November 2017, which was followed by a dip in December.

According to the Markit/CIPS’ Purchasing Manager Index, the industry reached a 51-month high in November of 58.2, and then fell to 56.3 in December.

However, although the sector’s reading fell in the last month of 2017 – and was lower than the anticipated 58.0 – by staying above 50.0 it is clear the industry is still expanding.

“Although growth of output and new orders moderated during December, rates of expansion remained comfortably above long-term trend rates,” reported Rob Dobson of IHS Markit, the firm that composes the survey.


The average reading for manufacturing PMI in the UK for the final quarter of 2017 was 57.0, claims the Financial Times, which is the highest quarterly figure recorded since 2014.

“The manufacturing sector continues to be a clear bright spot, but it’s worth remembering that it makes up a relatively small share of the overall economy,” said James Smith, ING Bank.

“Elsewhere, there are few obvious catalysts for a pick-up in consumer spending, particularly with real wages set to be more or less flat this year.”

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Jun 16, 2021 x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

2 min and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines. 


According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.


What Sets Apart? 

After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.  


  • Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions. 
  • Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately. 
  • Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations. 


How Voice Automation Works

Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production. 


‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’. 


Future Global Adoption 

In the coming years, BSH and will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier. 


Said Probal Lala,’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’. 



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