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

Posted on 29 Sep 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.

Macpac completes second phase of £1.5m investment

Further underlining its position as one of the UK’s leading independently owned manufacturers of sustainable thermoformed packaging products, Macpac has completed the second phase of a £1.5million investment in its 50th anniversary year with the installation of a high speed Illig RDKP 72 automatic pressure thermoforming system at its plant in Stockport.

In line with an ambitious growth strategy which has been primarily driven by increasing demand from the food and pharmaceutical industries, Macpac’s new Illig six-bar thermoformer is set to offer the company more scope in terms of run speed. It offers industrial process control, forming/punching technology and a maximum forming area of 756mm x 535mm. Find out more at The Manufacturer

Scotland is ‘UK’s most productive manufacturing region’

New research from professional services giant PwC has named Scotland the UK’s most productive manufacturing region. PwC’s Industrial, Manufacturing and Services Productivity Tracker showed output per hour was 19% higher than the UK average, at £47 per hour.

The tracker analyses productivity progress – with a focus on key sectors that contribute to UK-wide growth including manufacturing, construction and services. It attributes Scotland’s success in manufacturing to key subsectors including food and drink (26.6%), chemicals (10.6%) and pharmaceuticals (8.4%). It also hailed the nation’s strong performance in the hydrocarbons and oil industry. Find out more at Insider

UK car manufacturing falls in August as factories gear up for next gen models

UK car production fell -9.7% in August, following six consecutive months of growth, as 45,052 models rolled off factory lines, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Typically the smallest volume month of the year with often variable summer shutdowns which can lead to large percentage variations, August’s output was in part affected by extended production pauses at some plants for planned maintenance and upgrades as car makers gear up to produce the next generation of electric vehicles. Find out more at SMMT

GSK announces Wendy Becker to join the board as Non-Executive Director

On joining the Board, Wendy will succeed Urs Rohner as Chair of the Remuneration Committee after the Company’s 2024 Annual General Meeting when Urs steps down on completion of his nine years’ service to the Board.

Wendy is currently Chair of Logitech International S.A., and a Board member and Chair of the Compensation Committee of Sony Group Corporation. She has strong executive management experience including senior roles at McKinsey & Company, TalkTalk, and Vodafone and as CEO at Jack Wills.

Within the life sciences sector, Wendy is a board member and Chair of the Remuneration Committee of Oxford Nanopore Technologies . She is a member of the governing bodies of the University of Oxford and related subsidiaries. Find out more at GSK

Nissan-backed research project to bring autonomous mobility to UK residential and rural roads

evolvAD, the UK’s newest autonomous driving research project backed by Nissan and funded by the UK government, has officially got underway.

With the aim of enhancing the UK’s autonomous drive capability and technically supporting the supply chain’s readiness for mass adoption, evolvAD will put Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), through their paces on a variety of urban residential and complex rural roads.

These types of roads present their own unique set of challenges for AD technology. For example, in residential areas, drivers often face narrows roads, single lanes with parked vehicles on either side and slow driving speeds. Rural roads can include similar conditions but with higher driving speeds and winding roads with little to no road markings. Find out more at Nissan

Toyota leads on reliability among Britain’s volume car makers

A major survey of Britain’s motorists has revealed Toyota as the country’s most reliable volume car brand. The 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey ranked Toyota second with an overall score of 97.4%, close behind its sister luxury brand Lexus.

The result is a repeat of Toyota’s success last year and once again it was RAV4 that proved the top performer, dominating the survey’s large SUV category with a 98.7% score. Among the nation’s small cars, the Yaris hatchback proved is strength with the previous generation model achieving 99.3%, just ahead of the current version on 98.6 per cent, securing them second and third place in their category. Find out more at Toyota

SMMT statement on the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, has said: “With less than 100 days to go, manufacturers finally have clarity on what they are required to sell next year and up to 2030. The industry is investing billions in decarbonisation and recognises the importance of this mechanism as the single most important measure to deliver net zero.

“Delivering the mandate will challenge the industry, despite the flexibilities now included to support pragmatic, equitable delivery given this diverse sector. It is worth noting the mandate means the UK still retains the most ambitious transition timeline of any major market but without any private consumer incentives. Furthermore, the lack of a post-2030 regulatory framework, including a definition as to the vehicles eligible for sale from 2030 to 2035, creates investment uncertainty.

“Manufacturers offer a vast range of zero emission vehicles, but demand must also match supply. We need a buoyant market that delivers fleet renewal at scale, ensures a vibrant used EV market and gives consumers confidence. This means an attractive package of fiscal and other incentives, mandated infrastructure targets and a consistent message that encourages drivers to switch now.” Find out more at SMMT

Airbus to install new fuel-saving sails for maritime operations

Airbus will equip one of the vessels it uses to transport aircraft subassemblies, chartered from shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, with a wind-assisted propulsion technology that captures wind energy to generate thrust and, therefore, delivers savings in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The eSAIL, developed by the Spain-based firm bound4blue, creates as much as six to seven times more lift than a conventional rigid sail. It consists of a sail-like vertical surface and an electric-powered air suction system that helps the airflow to re-adhere to the sail, generating additional lift and thereby reducing the load on the ship’s main engines. Find out more at Airbus

Backlog orders of aircraft and engines hits a record high

The latest report from ADS Group, the trade association for the UK’s aerospace, defence, security, and space sectors, has highlighted a whopping 440% increase year-on-year in aircraft orders compared to August 2022.

In total, 1,941 aircraft orders have been placed with orders for single aisle aircraft continuing to dominate market demand with 1,584 ordered compared to 357 wide-body orders year to date. As order books continue to grow, the backlog of aircraft continues to swell, and is the largest ever with 14,535 aircraft on order following nine percent growth in August 2023. At current rates, the backlog is estimated to be worth around £219bn to the UK and represents more than ten years of advanced manufacturing work. Find out more at ADS Group

Fractory inspires next generation of engineers during National Manufacturing Day

Fractory hosted a group of engineering students from Manchester College. This was one of many events taking place in manufacturing settings across the country this week as part of the second National Manufacturing Day, an initiative run by industry body, MakeUK.

The students learned briefly about the supercharged tech startup scene in Estonia where Fractory was founded. They learned about the specific problems in engineering which Fractory has set out to solve, specifically the many inefficiencies around procurement. Find out more at The Manufacturer