The global smart manufacturing market will be worth nearly $590 billion by 2028, according to a report by US analyst firm, Verified Market Research.

This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4 percent from 2021, based on 2020’s valuation of $259.63 billion, says the firm – more accurately, a CAGR of 10.79 percent from 2020, according to Transform Industry’s calculations.

The 202-page report breaks down the sector by component (hardware, software, and services), technology (such as machine execution systems, programmable logic controllers, and SCADA), vertical market (including Automotive, Aerospace & Defence, and Chemicals & Materials), and geography.

The growing adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies – including robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, edge systems, cloud platforms, 5G, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – is expected to boost demand for integrated systems from manufacturers.

Increased automation, predictive maintenance, self-optimisation of processes, and new levels of efficiency and responsiveness are the goals of digital transformation in the sector, though challenges remain in terms of skills, scope, interoperability with traditional systems, scaling smart factory programmes, and cybersecurity.

A 2019 smart factories report by Capgemini found that only 14 percent of digitisation programmes in Manufacturing were successful, because of these difficulties.

According to Verified Market Research, key players in the provider market include ABB, Siemens, General Electric, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, Honeywell International, Emerson Electric, Fanuc, and more.

In related news, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) unveiled a plan before Christmas to accelerate the adoption of automation, robotics, and smart manufacturing techniques.

The bold aim is to ensure that 70 percent of all large manufacturers will be digitised by 2025. By that year, China wants the added value from core industries in the digital economy to account for 10 percent of GDP.

The MIIT also published a dedicated five-year plan to develop China’s robotics sector.

The UK launched its own Industrial Strategy in 2017, supported by Challenge Fund investment and a focus on Eight Great Technologies, including robotics and AI. However, the Strategy was iced by Boris Johnson in 2021, in favour of a vague Plan for Growth as the pandemic hit every sector.

In 2018 the US published its own Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, while the following year Germany published the final version of its National Industry Strategy 2030.

In this light, the UK appears to have squandered its progress, having being ahead of the pack in seeking to modernise its industrial capacity.