When you think about 3D printing in the United Arab Emirates, the glamorous city-state of Dubai and its ambitious 3D Printing Strategy are probably what immediately come to mind. But innovations in 3D printing are happening all over the UAE in many sectors, from construction to aerospace and education to medical and waste management. In 2016, 16,000 jobs opened up in the UAE, and technology skills such as robotics and 3D printing topped the list of in-demand skills for those positions.
The UAE previously announced its plans to continue preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, taking steps such as launching a program to encourage knowledge and experience sharing between governments and creating a Fourth Industrial Revolution Council, as a global entity answering to the UAE cabinet that will work with the public and private sectors, civil society, and the governments.
This week, the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, the premier business organization dedicated to advancing bilateral commercial relations between the US and the UAE, released a new report at an event in Abu Dhabi about some of the latest developments in the UAE’s manufacturing sector. The report, titled “Making the Future: The U.A.E.’s Growing Manufacturing Sector,” offers an overview of manufacturing trends, and what drives them, in the UAE; it also provides insight into sectors that have been a focus of the UAE’s manufacturing growth and offers a sneak peek at the sector’s prospects, such as the International Centre for 3D Printing at Dubai Industrial Park.
“In May 2016, Dubai Holding launched the International Centre for 3D Printing at Dubai Industrial Park. This project seeks to bring together 3D designers and technology suppliers as well as factories. It will also include research and development centers and laboratories for testing 3D printed products. This is in keeping with Dubai’s vision to become a 3D printing technology hub,” the report notes.
The noted project was one of several high-profile initiatives to launch in Dubai in 2016, as the International Centre for 3D Printing was announced just weeks ahead of another project set to bring 3D printing to Dubai’s solar park. In 2017, the UAE announced microfactories in Abu Dhabi and Dubai set to bring 3D printing and small batch manufacturing to greater prominence in the area.
“The U.A.E. is a story of transformation. With strong leadership, and a continued focus on long-term goals, our advanced manufacturing sector is set to share a quarter of the national GDP in the very near future,” said Badr Al-Olama, the Head of the Aerospace Business Unit at Mubadala Investment Company and leader of the organizing committee for the Global Industrialization and Manufacturing Summit (GMIS). “Growth in manufacturing is encouraging greater investment in developing specialist skills and promoting wider societal sustainability initiatives across the country.”
At a business roundtable luncheon, Al-Olama and SENATT CEO Eng. Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri both provided the keynote speeches, before the new report was discussed.
“SENAAT is a key contributor to Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, strategically developing the Emirate into a global industrial player. As a fast-growing industrial champion with a track record in forging successful partnerships, we are currently managing AED 27.5 billion of industrial assets in metals, F&B, O&G services, and the construction and building materials sector,” said Al Dhaheri. “In line with Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 & the Abu Dhabi Industrial Development Strategy, we continue to explore multiple investment plans and strategic projects and we look forward to strengthening ties with the international investment community in this journey.”
Al Dhaheri also offered insights into his company’s plans and projects, such as the Ducab Aluminium Company (DAC), and discussed the country’s manufacturing sector in his keynote. Then, he and Al-Olama discussed the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the impact of technologies like automation, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence on industry with several senior-level attendees at the event, before talking about some of the challenges and opportunities for manufacturing in the UAE.
The two also offered up some advice to any companies that were thinking about setting up operations in the UAE.
“At Mubadala, we believe that manufacturing, ultimately, has a transformative impact on society— by creating an agile economy that offers high-value employment opportunities that are more resilient to market dynamics,” said Al-Olama about the part his company plays in the industrial transformation and the UAE itself.
Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, offered several highlights from the organization’s new manufacturing report, and touched on the many opportunities for US investors and companies in the UAE’s manufacturing sector.
Sebright said, “This new report and today’s event demonstrate that the prospects for U.A.E. manufacturing are bright. There are substantial opportunities for U.S. companies who are considering establishing manufacturing operations in the U.A.E. or exploring commercial relationships with U.A.E. manufacturers.”
You can read the full report here.
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