This eight-part series features voices from all of the UK’s regions and spans the nation’s biggest industries. Today Tim Wallace visits Sunderland where, to combat a sharply aging population and high unemployment rate, businesses are turning to automation. A 10 ton load of steel is swinging wildly above my head. Try as I might with the crane’s joysticks, I cannot bring it to a stop. With a multi-million pound press yards away and a busy factory floor, any mistake or slip could be dangerous – and expensive. “Basically, you’ve got to take the energy out of that. It is a massive pendulum,” says Tommy Searle, a 29-year veteran at Unipres in Sunderland, a supplier of pressed metal parts for the car…
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