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UK electronics industry is in decline.

Flyback

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #1
Hello,
I have noticed that hardware electronics jobs (especially switch mode power supply design jobs) in UK are getting less and less over the last decade at least.
This is quite clearly because the British Pound is very highly valued, and therefore, its not possible to manufacture or engineer products such as Switch Mode Power Supplies [SMPS] in the UK any more. Its simply not profitable to do it in UK. The pound is so highly valued, that its cheaper to buy in SMPS’s from overseas. A UK owned SMPS company would simply not be able to compete with a similar company from another country.
The only hardware electronics companies that can operate as UK owned companies now are companies that are extremely highly skilled, and are making products that no one else in the world are capable of making, or alternately, the UK company owns the patent and so other companies in the world are not allowed to make them. Examples are Dyson and Blackstar Amplification, which are both UK owned companies who make exceptional “stand out” products. In Dyson’s case, they also hold patents for many of their brilliant products.
The reason for the high value of the pound is specifically “North Sea Oil”. This is what keeps the pound high. In short North sea oil is destroying the UK electronics industry. The high pound is though, making UK property seem like a pertinent investment to an overseas investor. –Because viewing a graph of UK currency over the years reveals that Sterling has stayed high, so its viewed as a good “Home” for people’s investment money, and property is always viewed as a great investment, because, at least in theory, it can never become totally worthless. This is why places such as London, UK are seeing prices of some small 2 bed terraced houses going for one million pounds. These are houses, that, before North Sea Oil happened, were lived in by the poorest of the poor working class of the day. Many were ex-council houses, or even church-run charity houses.
However, with UK owned electronics companies dying out for the reasons mentioned, UK citizens are now deciding not to study electronics. This is making it even harder for UK electronics companies to thrive. And because fewer UK citizens are electing to study electronics, the really high-tech specialist electronics companies in UK are finding it increasingly difficult to trade in UK aswell. A stop-gap answer has been to employ engineers from the Far East. Though in truth, most of the best Far Eastern engineers want to stay in their own country, after all, why go to a little island called UK, which will be a “poor little island” when North Sea Oil runs out, when your own country is on the up-and-up.
A case in point is a small UK owned UV curing company near Bicester. UV curing is an exponentially growing market, and the technology involved is not particularly difficult. This is exactly the kind of thing that UK cannot do competitively, due to the high pound. In spite of the great prospects for this market, the UK simply cannot hold down these kind of companies. They are moving overseas. Closure of the UK operation.
In 1998, Sir James Dyson predicted the decline of the British Electronics & Engineering industry…
See under “European single currency”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dyson
The UK politicians are thinking of ways to “keep Britain’s hand in” to Engineering. They use North Sea Oil profits to invite overseas companies to set up divisions in UK….the idea being that they will employ UK engineers and therefore keep the British Engineering industry maintained.
However, this is simply not as effective as having your own industry.
The UK must act now and cap the North Sea Oil Fields (stop extracting oil) , devalue the pound, and bring back an intrinsic, UK owned Engineering and electronics industry….before the rot sets in too deeply. In the last 5 years in UK, the number of UK citizens electing to study Electronics at University level each year has dropped under the 400 mark. This clearly means there are not enough people to maintain Britain’s intended Engineering industry.
If you request the data on number of people studying Electronics in UK each year you get the figure of thousands,….however, this is primarily due to overseas students.
Of the 400 UK citizens mentioned here, most will take the “software” options, and dismiss hardware electronic s completely.
A lot of UK owned companies in so-called “essential” areas are actually in receipt of government funding (which derives from North sea oil). This is how they survive. Lighting is considered an “essential” area (just imagine if a country couldn’t even make its own lights), so these receive significant oil-derived grants.
Of course , there are now no UK owned car companies, as they simply cant compete. Even Morgan cars use BMW engines.
UK is the most densely populated country in Europe. Therefore, the UK is well placed to go back into Engineering & Manufacturing. Pouring out North Sea Oil to pay for our “Financial Services Industry” etc is not doing anyone any favours. I think everyone knows that the story about “London being the financial capital of the world” is total nonsense –and even if it was, anyone can buy up a load of computers and crunch financial numbers. I had a Managing Director of an Oil engineering company in Cornwall telling me he had sold half his company overseas to Norway, because he simply couldn’t compete, and also, “all the best UK engineers go into the financial services industry in London”…which, in fact, he described as “pushing money about”.
It was Nicholas Sarkozy who said, “The UK cannot do industry”. He was right. In fact, the UK massages UK industrial output figures by massaging them with the profits from North Sea Oil. Soon North Sea Oil will all be gone. We must cap the wells now and de-value the pound, and go back into Engineering, before as Sir James Dyson himself said back in 1998….
“It does not mean that the jobs will go tomorrow but will drift abroad over a period and the longer-term future of Britain as a manufacturing nation will be blighted……Ministers had better understand that if we delay….. too long there may be nothing left to save”
And regarding membership of the EU…..why would the EU want the UK?…why would they want a nation of “do-nothings” to join them? Look out of your car window and play “spot the UK made car” before answering.
 

strantor

Active Member
#2
You have a pretty narrow view IMO, attributing the entire problem to currency valuation.

What about labor laws and other regulations? I think that weighs more heavily. If in the UK employers were able to pay people hardly the cost of a boiled egg per day, and people at the bottom had no choice but accept that wage in the absence of welfare programs, then the UK could make electronics just as cheaply as China.

Not only would your assembly line workers' salaries be hardly a drop in the bucket, their low pay would work it's way up . Middle management salaries would be less, upper management would be less, everyone would have a lower salary. The "human resource" indeed.

I don't know about you, or the UK, but for me, here in the USA, I'm not quite ready to model our infrastructure and government after China's. The bonus SMPS design & manufacture jobs do not offset all the negatives. But for you, I don't know; it seems that would have some detrimental effect on your currency which might make you happy.
 

Ian Rogers

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#3
I don't agree... I have started manufacturing to overseas clients.... The UK is STILL the best place to have machining / electrical engineering work done....

Business owners here can be a bit slow t move sales to the rest of the world... With the onslaught of the web, people have to get out of their cocoons or they will die out..

Cheap imports from other countries are flooding the markets... The way to combat this is to make "reasonably" cheaper but better products here... UK built parts and devices are MUCH better, dearer, but better!

Products from the far east take too long to get here so we can afford to make the parts needed here!!

If you don't mind me saying!!! Your world seems to be wrapped around the SMPS industry.... This is an ideal industry for the Chinese.... All the same, repetitive and cheap to produce.... However! This is a tiny portion of electronics.. I will always use Traco SMPS devices... I know Swiss made, But do the job, dearer but better..

TVR has recently been resurrected. Here in Rochdale they are building the engines because the parts made here in Rochdale are easier to produce. So it can be done....
 

Flyback

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #4
I don't know about you, or the UK, but for me, here in the USA, I'm not quite ready to model our infrastructure and government after China's.
Its not just China that UK cant compete with, we now can't compete with mainland Europe...the inclusion of eastern European nations in to the EU is driving the euro down, making it impossible for uk owned electronics companies to compete with mainland European companies making the same thing. -Just look at the UV curing co' that I spoke of, I have been told it is closing and moving to mainland Europe......that is an exponentially growing market, very lucrative, and not very technically hard, we should be keeping that in uk. -but we are not able to.....(look I was in that company when the M.D's son came in with a big zoom lens camera to photograph all the stuff and equipment that he said would be taken over to Mainland europe).

I don't agree... I have started manufacturing to overseas clients....
…how are you going to keep doing that when someone in Mainland Europe sees what you are doing, sees that you are making money at it, then they realise that they can sell that product for less than you if they make it, because the euro trades a lot lower than the pound…then they start up in your business, contact your customers, then offer them your product for less than you can sell it to them….this is what happened top the UV curing company I spoke of.
Cheap imports from other countries are flooding the markets... The way to combat this is to make "reasonably" cheaper but better products here
...how are you going to do that when the number of uk citizens electing to study electronics is dwindling all the time, now down to less than 400 per year coming in to electronics at uni level.
I will always use Traco SMPS devices... I know Swiss made, But do the job, dearer but better..
That’s my point, theyre made in Switzerland, not uk, we cant compete with the swiss because they trade In a currency that is pegged to the euro and so benefits from that.
If you don't mind me saying!!! Your world seems to be wrapped around the SMPS industry.... This is an ideal industry for the Chinese.... All the same, repetitive and cheap to produce.... However! This is a tiny portion of electronics
….Every single electronics product needs a power supply, most of them are SMPS. A huge number of SMPS’s have to be custome made because of control, spec, form factor reasons, but because UK now has no smps industry, few people in uk can design an SMPS for their needs, and EVERYONE needs a power supply for their product…..and its no good saying we can get Custom SMPS’s designed overseas for UK…we can’t, because you need design skills to be able to evaluate them…..only one month ago I was called up to evaluate a 300w smps for an energy company that they had designed overseas…..IT WAS A TOTALLY BOGUS DESIGN…..i ended up just having to write a report on it. It was a synchronous buck with a totally inadequate circuit to ensure that the bottom fet stayed off in times of top fet being off for long periods…..also it was using a unipolar CST, when sync bucks like that one involve the current going back up into the top fet (bi-directional current)…..it also had NO RAIL CAPACITANCE WHATSOEVER on the PCB…..we need smps design skills in uk, and the only way to get it is to have an smps industry.
it seems that would have some detrimental effect on your currency which might make you happy.
Sir James Dyson himself is on record as saying that the high pound is putting uk engineering into decline.
I used to work at Baldor UK, -this was this USA company’s entrance point into Europe, but they couldn’t compete whilst trading in the pound here, so it sold out to a mainland European company.
I also used to work at a USA HQ’d fuel pump place in UK, but the electronics dept went down due to being misled by a certain individual…..they got on the wrong track with a certain project, and wouldn’t change, then the tech boss came over from USA and shut that bit of the electronics dept down. This is all tied in with the uk decline in electronics…..i’m not being subversive, this is now blatently obvious to a great many people.
I used to work at an electronics design consultancy near Salisbury UK, its still there now, but the gaffer told us that he had been holding the company up with his own money, due to lack of profit, and that on a 10 year outlook, it wouldn’t be possible to keep doing electronics design, (due to the decline in uk electronics grads, caused by the decline in uk electronics) and that he wanted to switch to Engineering project management.
I used to work for Atlas Lighting in Northumberland, UK, but this was taken over by Zumtobel group of Austria, and now trades as Tridonic. Again, Atlas simply couldn’t compete with zumtobel, so they had to sell out to them.
 
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large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#5
I dont think the number of jobs in SMPS design is declining, as I pointed out in another thread I think maybe your online stuff is looked at, they are likely to just be hiding the jobs from you :D
 

Flyback

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #6
The attached two graphs show why the UK electronics industry is declining (Sir James Dyson predicts UK manufacturing decline post 1998 on the wiki page of himself)...and will continue to decline unless either sterling is devalued, or UK joins the Euro,
One graph shows the history of the UK Pound vs Euro exchange rate, which shows a continuing devaluation of the Euro since 2010. This is because of the EU zone expansion to include eastern European states, the subsequent debt results in euro devaluation vs the pound, and a subsequent non-competitiveness of UK electronics industries in relation to Eurozone ones.
Also shown is a graph of the UK’s balance of trade deficit, which shows continuing and worsening performance since 1998, which is around the time of the birth of the Euro.
UK's worst ever Balance of trade figure was seen in 2014, at around 5 billion pounds.
 

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large_ghostman

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#7
animate.gif Deleted post just because the horse died while being resuscitated, apparently flogging them dosnt make them breath
 
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Flyback

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #8
I am of course not saying that expansion of the Eurozone to include "eastern European" countries is wrong. What I am saying is that it results in a devaluation of the euro, This is helpful to countries like Germany who is the world's largest exporter. (A bigger exporter than China). Devaluation of the euro vs the pound really hits engineering industries hard in uk who trade in the pound. The answer is either to leave the EU and devalue the pound, or join the euro, or just kind of stay half in Europe and devalue the pound.
In 2014, Germany recorded the highest trade surplus in the world worth $285 billion,[17] making it the biggest capital exporter globally.[
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Germany
 

large_ghostman

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Most Helpful Member
#9
baby8.gif <<-----------------I Agree
 

Flyback

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #10
Do I take it that that "gesture" means that you believe that if we keep the pound as high as it is, then UK will, in effect, albeit indirectly, end up funding a good part of the Eurozone expansion to include the "eastern European" states. (via uk's north sea oil). When the austerity measures start hitting the eastern European countries, then the people can avoid it by coming to uk and doing non-engineering type jobs which merely burn up north sea oil without actually generating any wealth. And meanwhile, the uk engineering industry declines further, and then when north sea oil runs out, UK will really really be up the creek without a paddle.
Did you realise that the number of uk citizens choosing electronics degrees fell by 47% from 2002-2008?
 

large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#11
Did you realise that the number of uk citizens choosing electronics degrees fell by 47% from 2002-2008?

You are aware its 2016 arnt you? 2008 was erm 8 YEARS ago, but maybe you have a point because also the price of fish has risen since 2008!! AND 1% resistors!!! and p&p from ebay seller zuse
 

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