Daily Manufacturing News Digest – the industry stories you should be aware of today

Posted on 7 Dec 2023 by The Manufacturer

Each day The Manufacturer compiles the top manufacturing news stories from around the web. To make your life a little easier, we trawl through all the major trade publications, broadsheets and business magazines to find you the most important manufacturing news each morning. Don't forget to bookmark this page and check back daily.

Recycled brick maker Kenoteq selected for key COP28 showcase space

A wall built from bricks made by Scottish company Kenoteq using recycled construction waste has formed the centrepiece of one of the major showcase spaces at the 28th meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

Global investment company Dubai Holding’s presence in the Green Zone at COP28 is built around a curved wall formed from the company’s K-BRIQ, which was selected by internationally renowned architecture and engineering collective Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

The wall – built from 7,000 bricks made using recycled waste from the construction industry – is paired with seating produced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber and a living wall containing greenery, giving Dubai Holding a sustainable space to engage with its guests. More via The Manufacturer

University of Nottingham research partnership results in groundbreaking new industry tech

A partnership, which paired researchers from the University of Nottingham with a UK tech company, has produced a highly advanced power converter to drive an electric motor that could revolutionise the manufacturing and renewable energy industries.

For the past five years, researchers from the university have worked closely with digital motor control solutions company, Sprint Electric, to develop and prototype the Generis AC regen drive – set to be the next generation in AC drive technology.

Launched at the Smart Production Solutions (SPS) exhibition in Nuremberg, one of the most highly regarded international trade fairs in the field of smart and digital automation solutions; this leap in innovation has been made possible thanks to two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) between researchers at the University of Nottingham’s Power, Electronics and Machines Centre (PEMC), and Sprint Electric. More via The Manufacturer

Bentley introduce first fully electric first response team vehicles

Bentley Motors has initiated the renewal of its First Response Team fleet, with the arrival of two fully electric models to handle day-to-day activities such as medical emergencies and off-site events at the company’s UK headquarters in Crewe.

The new Volkswagen ID3 and ID Cargo Buzz can be charged at 107 on-site charging points powered by more than 36,000 on-site solar panels. The switch to electric First Response Vehicles supports Bentley’s commitment to meeting its environmental targets in line with the brand’s Beyond100 strategy, while the new vehicles are also quieter, minimising noise pollution for neighbours.

From a technical standpoint they are also better placed to operate within the confines of the 10mph speed limit in place at the Bentley site, not facing the same strains placed on their predecessors’ gearboxes and diesel particulate filters. More via The Manufacturer

Babcock and Atlas Elektronik UK sign charter to maximise collaboration

Babcock International and Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) have signed a charter to foster a deeper and more collaborative relationship.

The agreement sets out the principles for collaborative exploration on services and solutions for customers, utilising systems integration, maintenance and in-service support expertise from Babcock and AEUK’s experience in product and software design, installation and in-service support and training.

Working on programmes across the maritime domain will maximise benefits for customers in the delivery of complex solutions which are capable, available and affordable.

The charter, signed at Babcock’s headquarters in London by John Howie, Babcock’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, and John Weale, AEUK’s Chairperson, builds on a longstanding working relationship between the two businesses. More via The Manufacturer

Pragmatic Semiconductor secures £182m investment

Pragmatic Semiconductor, the world leader in manufacturing flexible integrated circuits, has announced that it has completed a first close of its Series D funding round, securing an investment of £162m.

The company is planning a limited second close for key investors, of which £20m additional investment is already allocated. M&G’s Catalyst and UK Infrastructure Bank co-led the funding round with participation from new investors including Northern Gritstone, Latitude and MVolution Partners, and existing investors such as British Patient Capital, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Prosperity7 Ventures (the diversified growth fund under Aramco Ventures).

The investment will enable Pragmatic to accelerate its expansion plans in the UK to meet the growing demand for its unique technology from customers worldwide. This includes building its third and fourth fabrication lines at its Pragmatic Park facility in Durham. Over the next five years Pragmatic anticipates building at least eight manufacturing lines in the UK, creating over 500 highly skilled jobs in the North East and Cambridge. More via The Manufacturer

Leading Formula One team feels the ‘Force’

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, a user of VERICUT verification, simulation and optimisation software from CGTech for over two decades, recently completed trials of VERICUT Force with highly impressive results. VERICUT Force is physics-based software that analyses and optimises cutting conditions to deliver significant time savings and improved tool life.

The trial use of Force on a complex radiator component at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team provided notable cycle time savings of 25% at the first attempt. The success of Force emanates from its ability to set the maximum reliable feed rate for a particular cutting condition based on four factors: load on the cutting edge, spindle power, maximum chip thickness and maximum allowable feed.

With the Machine Shop at the Brackley headquarters of Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team keen to discover what advantages VERICUT Force could deliver, CGTech granted the use of three temporary licences for trial purposes. More via The Manufacturer

William Cook Holdings takes the top title at the UK Cast Metals Industry Awards

One of the UK’s leading suppliers of safety-critical steel components has capped a year of growth, acquisition, and investment by being named as the ‘Best of British Casting’ at the recent UK Cast Metals Industry Awards.

Sheffield-headquartered William Cook Holdings beat off the challenge of the other finalists to secure the ‘Company of the Year’ title, impressing judges with landmark rail contract wins, support for the war effort in Ukraine and a £5m investment programme that has reinforced its position in the nuclear power supply chain.

The group also stepped in to protect vital foundry skills when it saved 75 jobs by acquiring HI Quality Steel Castings of Chesterfield out of administration. More via The Manufacturer

Midlands manufacturer strikes hot with digitalisation overhaul

A Birmingham-based commercial ironmonger has increased its manufacturing capacity by 15% and enhanced the digitalisation of its operations, thanks to knowledge acquired through the Help to Grow: Management Course.

Instinct Hardware is a bespoke hardware manufacturer that produces ironmongery products – such as door knobs and handles, door stops and accessories – for commercial developments, as well as education, healthcare and hospitality projects.

The business, which was founded in 1989 and is co-led by Director Nil Chohan – the son of Co-founder Ray Chohan – employs 50 people across its manufacturing, digital and operations teams. More via The Manufacturer

New review published on STEM clubs increasing aspirations for engineering and tech careers

EngineeringUK has today released a new report which brings together the available evidence on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) clubs and their ability to increase students’ aspirations for engineering and technology careers.

This rapid evidence review looks at the delivery mode, evaluation and key findings from engineering and technology-related STEM clubs. Through summarising the existing evidence, the report aims to draw out learnings on STEM clubs that can be used by STEM outreach providers to raise aspirations around engineering and technology careers.

Jess Di Simone, Senior Evaluation Manager at EngineeringUK, explained: “Given the limited presence of engineering and technology in school curriculums, high-quality STEM clubs can play a key role in complementing or broadening the STEM curriculum – thereby expanding young people’s aspirations for engineering and technology careers. So, it’s really important we understand how to make these initiatives as effective as possible.” More via The Manufacturer

EU to put forward three-year delay to UK EV tariffs

Fears about a tariff cliff-edge in UK-EU trade in electric vehicles (EVs) have been eased by a proposal by the bloc to delay the introduction of post-Brexit tariffs by three years.

It follows calls by members of industry in both the UK and EU to change the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), signed following the UK’s departure from the bloc, to remove origin rules that would impose a ten percent duty on cars with batteries manufactured outside the UK and EU.

Former chief Brexit negotiator for the EU Michel Barnier said in August that a modification was unlikely before a 2025 formal review of the agreement, though it now appears the British government’s desire for a deferral of the tariff may be met before its introduction.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Adopting the commission’s proposal would be a pragmatic solution, safeguarding the future of the EU and UK automotive industries, supporting motorists, the economy and the environment. Such an extension would avoid damaging tariffs on the very vehicles we need consumers to buy, allow UK and EU manufacturers to compete with the rest of the world and, crucially, give the European battery industry time to catch up. Above all, voting for the proposal will enable us all to cut carbon emissions while supporting growth and jobs across the entire EV supply chain. We urge every party to get behind it.” More via Institute of Export & International Trade

Government must prioritise policies that support food and drink manufacturers

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published the Q3 State of Industry Report. This found a mixed picture on investment expectations with not all businesses in a position to increase their capital spending and worryingly, nearly one in five (18%) report they expect their investment to fall over the next year. Some manufacturers are in a better position and are committed to growth, with over four in ten (41%) planning to increase their investment over the next year.

According to ONS data, the industry’s business investment in real terms during the first half of 2023 was 36% below its level during the first half of 2019, in sharp contrast to investment in the UK overall, which has increased by seven percent. The report also reveals that confidence has increased by 18 percentage points on the last quarter creeping into positive territory for the first time since Q2 2021.

This is a sign that market conditions have stabilised, however the industry still faces significant challenges. Labour vacancies across a wide range of roles in the sector have risen in the last quarter to 6.5% from 4.8% in Q2 due to increased production ahead of Christmas resulting in more job openings that were difficult to fill. Manufacturers also report that average pay has increased by 5.2% over the last year and the National Living Wage will rise further next April. More via Food & Drink Federation

Airbus and BMW Group launch quantum computing competition

Airbus and BMW Group launch a global Quantum Computing Challenge entitled, ‘The Quantum Mobility Quest’ to tackle the most pressing challenges in aviation and automotive that have remained insurmountable for classical computers.

This challenge is the first-of-its-kind, bringing together two global industry leaders to harness quantum technologies for real-world industrial applications, unlocking the potential to forge more efficient, sustainable and safer solutions for the future of transportation. “This is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on quantum technology and its potential impact on our society.

“Partnering with an industry leader like BMW Group enables us to mature the technology as we need to bridge the gap between scientific exploration and its potential applications. We’re seeking the best-in-class students, PhDs, academics, researchers, start-ups, companies or professionals in the field, worldwide to join our challenge to create a massive paradigm shift in the way aircraft are built and flown.” said Isabell Gradert, Vice President Central Research and Technology at Airbus. More via Airbus

JCB’s Christmas toy appeal breaks record

JCB’s annual Christmas Toy Appeal is set to deliver a sackful of festive cheer to children in Staffordshire and Wrexham thanks to a record number of gift donations. The appeal got under way in November with the installation of 14 collections points at JCB plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Wrexham.

Today it was revealed that a total of 1,242 gifts had been donated as George Burton, aged five, and brother Henry, aged three, handed over the final two toys for the appeal to JCB Chairman Anthony Bamford in the reception at JCB’s World HQ at Rocester where all the presents are assembled.

Now the gifts are being handed over to the NSPCC, the Stoke-on-Trent Hubb Foundation and Wrexham-based Yellow and Blue charity, for distribution to children at Christmas. As well as huge support from JCB employees, the GMB Union also donated £1,250 to buy toys, the JCB Academy raised £300 for the purchase of gifts and IT specialists Capgemini donated 40 toys. More via JCB