Karol Janik, Technology Manager, Manufacturing Technology Centre
Please could you tell us more about your role as Technology Manager at Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).
My role as Technology Manager at the Manufacturing Technology Centre focuses on three core areas: technology strategy, strategic partnerships and technical governance. I lead technology development strategy in the fields of Robotics, Automation and Mechatronics. I look after the quality and on-time delivery of a broad portfolio of innovation projects. The last component that I believe really drives innovation is developing strategic partnerships with academia and industry to create collaborative R&D programmes.
One of the current challenges in the industry is improving and increasing manufacturing technologies- what do you think is driving this demand?
In the last two years, some of the industrial sectors faced more disruptions than in the last few decades. Global supply chain disruptions, components shortages, staff shortages, volatile costs of materials and requirements for more sustainable management of resources puts pressure on many businesses. Improving manufacturing capabilities is no longer just about the productivity and costs but also about becoming more resilient and sustainable in your operations.
Do you think that the industry is on track to tackling these issues, or what could be done to ensure efficient implementation of more effective manufacturing?
There are many activities that could be done better and it varies between different sectors. Many manufacturers recognised these challenges and taken an action against them however some of them can be solved only in a long term. Some of the things that we can improve are promoting horizontal innovation and technology transfer between sectors as well as supporting SMEs that are core for many supply chains but often don't have internal capability or resources to drive manufacturing improvements internally.
Are there any particular technologies that you think will have an impact on approaches to manufacturing / innovations of note?
I believe that wider adoption and development of automation, robotics and digital technologies will have a great positive impact on improving manufacturing capabilities and addressing earlier mentioned issues, especially in sectors that historically didn’t use them such as the Space sector. European manufacturing is on the right path and in some areas is at a forefront of innovation. Collaboration between academia, industry and policymakers improves slowly and making rapid change requires a holistic approach to these challenges.
If you were sent to spend a year alone onboard a spacecraft, what one item would you take for entertainment?
Probably some musical instrument, maybe a guitar? I never learned to play any but always wanted to! Being alone on board a spacecraft might be a good excuse and my poor attempts will not disturb anyone!
Karol will be joining a panel of experts to discuss increasing manufacturing capabilities, on the Smallsats Conference stage at Space Tech Expo Europe, taking place in Bremen, Germany from November 15-17. Make sure not to miss out, and register for free here.