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

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.

Friday – 14/05/2021

New Apprenticeship Program at Bombardier’s London Biggin Hill Service Centre Training Next Generation of Aircraft Technicians

Bombardier is pleased to announce the introduction of its comprehensive, new apprenticeship programme at its London Biggin Hill Service Centre with its first cohort of maintenance apprentices becoming immersed in the aircraft maintenance training program. Sixteen men and women make up the 36-month program’s first apprentice cohort, which kicked off in March. The combination of virtual classroom and onsite training provides apprentices with an agile, in-depth learning environment to achieve their critical EASA part 66 modules (B Licence) Certification as well as a Level 4 City & Guilds Diploma in Aerospace and Aviation. — Read more via Bombardier

Mayor Nik Johnson to scrap £2bn Cambridgeshire metro project

Dr. Nik Johnson, the newly elected Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), has confirmed that he is scrapping the £2 billion Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) project.

The project would have seen the introduction of driverless pods in Cambridgeshire to help ease travel and boost the economy. The vehicles would have been comparable to trams and powered by electric batteries. — Read more via Varsity

Manufacturers set the pace in the Augmented Reality race

Augmented Reality has gone from a future business investment into an extremely powerful tool for helping industry achieve remote access, skill retention and operational productivity. Paul Haimes, Vice President of Field Engineering at PTC, explains how Covid-19 has accelerated demand for digital technologies by more than five years and why demand is here to stay. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Telford lighting manufacturer enjoys strong sales

Lighting products maker Luceco said strong trading momentum has continued in 2021.

The company, which is based on Stafford Park in Telford, has seen strong demand in all major sales channels, with revenue growth accelerating as expected against a comparative period weakened by the first wave of Covid lockdowns. It said it has taken swift action to protect its margins from rapid, industry-wide inflation in raw material and freight prices, and kept overheads under tight control. — Read more via Shropshire Star

Ford urges agreement and action on UK-wide electrification roadmap ahead of COP26

Ford today is calling on policymakers, energy providers, local authorities, consumers and the auto industry to join forces on a nationwide electrification strategy that will set the country on the right trajectory for 2030.

Since February, Ford has announced significant investments across Europe as it goes all-in on electrification, committing its entire passenger vehicle range being all-electric by 2030, and to the majority of its commercial vehicles sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid in the same timeframe.

But the company says that individual actions are not enough and that a coordinated effort is needed to help consumers move to an electrified future. — Read more via Ford

Thursday – 13/05/2021

First ‘made in Scotland’ 3D printed swabs to streamline COVID-19 tests

A new 3D printed COVID-19 testing swab which can collect sufficient viral material from the back of the nose – without need of a throat swab – is now being manufactured in Scotland.

The nasopharynx 3D printed swabs provide a less intrusive experience compared to traditional cotton bud swabs, cutting testing time, reducing anxiety and minimising discomfort for patients. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK manufacturers operating within freeports could face tariffs

The UK government admits that post-Brexit trade deals include clauses that could prevent companies benefitting from freeport tax breaks, affecting business worth up to £35bn annually.

Rollover free trade deals signed with 23 countries, including Switzerland, Canada, Norway and Singapore, as part of the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal contain clauses that exclude manufacturers benefitting from freeport tax breaks, shutting the UK out of markets worth up to £35bn a year, the Labour party says. — Read more via The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Urgent build of more gigafactories crucial to securing the future of UK car production

According to a report recently published by manufacturing consultancy HSSMI, the UK must rapidly accelerate the establishment of gigafactories and new battery technology development, or risk losing domestic car production altogether.

HSSMI says by 2040, the UK is expected to need 140 GWh in battery cell capacity. But currently boasts less than 3 GWh of production, with just 45 GWh planned, leaving a 95 GWh gap between supply and demand. — Read more via HSSMI

Lancashire firm receives major accreditation for the defence, security and aerospace sectors

Lancashire firm LARS Communications has successfully attained JOSCAR (Joint Supply Chain Accreditation Register) accreditation.

JOSCAR (the Joint Supply Chain Accreditation Register) is a collaborative tool used by the defence, security and aerospace industries to act as a single repository for pre-qualification and compliance information relating to potential suppliers. Using JOSCAR can determine if a supplier is “fit for business”. — Read more via Lancashire Business View

EDF and Nuclear AMRC to deepen collaboration

EDF has signed a new membership agreement with the Nuclear AMRC to drive innovation in low-carbon power generation and support UK manufacturers.

EDF, Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, has supported the Nuclear AMRC’s development over the past decade, and the new tier one membership strengthens and deepens the relationship between the two organisations. — Read more via Rotherham Business News

Wednesday – 12/05/2021

University of Birmingham provides West Midlands-based SMEs with access to state-of-the-art manufacturing technology

The University of Birmingham is enabling local businesses to develop new products and processes by bringing the UK’s first Desktop Metal Shop System to the West Midlands through its Advanced Manufacturing Technologies to Create, Activate & Automate (AMTECAA) programme, part-funded by European Regional Development Fund.

The goal is that SMEs will be able to develop new products and processes, while improve existing ones, by deploying a range of state-of-the-art additive, subtractive and hybrid technologies. They will also be able to automate processes and operations by deploying robotics and other Industry 4.0 technologies to production lines. — Read more via University of Birmingham

Industry calls for targeted sectoral approach on Apprenticeship funding

Britain’s manufacturers are calling today on Government to adopt a sectoral rethink on how apprenticeship levy money can be spent to boost essential skills in high growth industries like manufacturing and engineering. The manufacturing sector is ideally placed to help deliver the Prime Minister’s promise of more good jobs in those left-behind areas of the country, with average wages 13% higher than the rest of the economy and 2.7m jobs already countrywide with a £191bn contribution to national output. — Read more via The Manufacturer

 DS Smith invests £100m into circular economy R&D

UK-headquartered plastic-free packaging provider DS Smith has announced that it plans to invest £100m into research and development (R&D) over five years to help the packaging industry progress towards a circular economy.

The research will include the creation of ‘Unit 17’, a new prototyping and testing facility in the UK. It also aims to accelerate new material investment including alternative natural fibres and fully recyclable and translucent packaging as an alternative to plastic windows in sandwich and ready meals pack. — Read more via Packaging Gateway

Cake and dessert maker creates 65 new jobs in Hull

BBF Ltd, a cake and dessert manufacturer, has created 65 new jobs at its Hull bakery following an uplift in sales.

The new jobs come as changing consumer buying habits have generated higher demand for the company’s products, including a new range of cake jars which are being produced out of the Hull base, amongst many other products for the UK’s supermarkets. — Read more via BBF Ltd

Silence helps drive UK electric revolution from West Midlands

The West Midlands took another leadership step in the electric vehicle revolution today – as leading Spanish electric vehicle brand, Silence, opened its ‘urban ecomobility’ headquarters, training centre and first UK retail store in Solihull.

The targeted investment in the region is no accident: it is fast becoming a hub for UK electrification and green travel initiatives. — Read more via Automotive World

Tuesday – 11/05/2021

GKN Aerospace delivers first intermediate compressor case for Ultrafan™ engine

GKN Aerospace in Sweden has successfully delivered the first Intermediate Compressor Case (ICC) to the Rolls-Royce UltraFan™ engine demonstrator programme. GKN Aerospace is a Core Partner in Clean Sky 2 and in the Rolls-Royce led UltraFan™ engine demonstrator programme with responsibility for design and manufacture of the ICC. The ICC is a structure between compressor cases, which carries the rotor gas loads to the engine casing and thrust mounts. — Read more via GKN Aerospace

Leicestershire Institute of Technology bid reaches final stages

Experts in cyber and space technology are bidding to create a £13m ‘skills factory’ in Leicestershire to revitalise the region’s economy.

The Leicester and Leicestershire Institute of Technology (IoT) in Space, Digital, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering aims to help plug the skills gap in the region and help the area recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw Leicester remain in lockdown for longer than anywhere else in the UK. — Read more via De Montfort University

Gordon Murray Group announces £300m investment in automotive operations

The Gordon Murray Group has revealed plans to expand its automotive manufacturing and design divisions with £300m investment.

The UK-based company, founded by renowned car designer Gordon Murray, plans to invest in vehicle design, production, research and development and hiring top talent. — Read more via Shropshire Star

UK’s sustainable homecare brand receives £24M funding, eyes to expand its presence

smol, the UK’s fastest-growing homecare brand, is celebrating its third anniversary. Now, the company has bagged nearly £24m in Series B funding.

The new funds will allow the company to continue investing in new product development and expand into other European markets. smol notes that the pandemic has further increased the demand for its products, driven by their convenient home delivery and sustainable approach. — Read more via UKTN

61% of UK manufacturers have changed business practices as a result of Brexit

According to accountancy network MHA’s latest issue of The Engine, 61% of manufacturing businesses have changed their practises as a result of Brexit. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters (75%) said they are planning to invest less or the same as planned before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

MHA also found the number of manufacturers that aren’t planning to change their supply chains dropped from 65% in 2020 to 45% in 2021. — Read more via MHA

Offshore wind farm developers told to use UK manufacturers

Offshore wind farm developers have been warned by the UK Government that they could lose their subsidy contracts if they fail to deliver on their promises to use British manufacturers.

Right now, less than 30% of the capital expenditure in offshore wind farms is spent in Britain. The government is trying to improve this through a combination of financial support for port upgrades to house new factories, as well as tougher requirements on developers. — Read more via Energy Voice

Monday – 10/05/2021

5487.16JM announces new net zero targets as it opens new state-of-the-art Battery Technology Centre in Oxford

Johnson Matthey (JM) has announced a new commitment to be net zero by 2040, as well as further strategic development in the commercialisation of eLNO® , its portfolio of leading nickel rich advanced cathode materials.

The official opening, performed by the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, of its state of the art Battery Technology Centre near Oxford, enables JM to drive rapid improvements in battery performance for customers and sustainable, secure value chains, aligned with its vision for a cleaner, healthier world. — Read more via Cambridge Network

RBSL to build Next-Generation Challenger 3 Tanks in major boost for UK prosperity

Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) has been awarded the UK MOD contract to upgrade 148 British Army Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic this contract award, worth £800m (incl. VAT), marks a significant boost for UK prosperity and economic recovery.

The programme will make significant enhancements to the vehicle and provide the British Army with a world-class capability, made in the UK. — Read more via European Defence Review

£1bn apprenticeship levy cash goes unspent

The government faces new calls to overhaul the apprenticeship levy after it emerged that more than £1bn has recently gone unspent by businesses.

The expired levy funds in the nine months from last May was a record amount, surpassing the £847m that was returned to the government between May 2019 and last April. — Read more via The Times

GKN Automotive workers present alternative plan to keep Birmingham plant open

UNITE union members at GKN Automotive’s Birmingham plant presented bosses with an alternative business plan today in a bid to save its 500 jobs.

A campaign to save the facility was sparked in January when venture-capitalist company Melrose, which bought GKN in 2018, announced that it would close in 2022 — despite promising to create a British manufacturing powerhouse. — Read more via Morning Star

Prima & TTP plc prove pivotal in time-critical project for Pitney Bowes

Cambridgeshire-based contract manufacturer Prima Electronic Services has underlined its ability to address customers’ needs within an ultra-short period.

Together with leading product development firm TTP plc, the company was recently assigned to work on a major project for Pitney Bowes, the global technology company whose sending technology is used by industries all over the world – including the postal sector. — Read more via Prima Electronic Services

Friday – 07/05/2021

SME manufacturer optimism bounces back, as growth expectations ramp up – SME Trends Survey

SME manufacturing output held flat in the three months to April but is expected to improve markedly in the coming quarter, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) quarterly SME Trends Survey.

The survey of 260 SME manufacturing firms saw optimism grow considerably, at the fastest pace in seven years. Sentiment regarding export prospects continued to fall, although at a much slower pace than that seen over the past year.

The volume of total new orders grew, reflecting a rise in domestic orders, while export orders were flat.  Employment numbers also ticked up in the three months to April, for the first time in two years.   — Read more via CBI

Fast track degree programme accelerating engineers towards Industry 4.0

An innovative training solution from Siemens Digital Industries is helping upskill their customers and suppliers to capitalise on the opportunities of Industry 4.0.

The one year ‘top up’ degree programme gives engineers a BEng Hons (Bachelor of Engineering) in Control and Automation. Co-designed and co-delivered by Siemens Digital Industries and the University of Salford it uses a block delivery model combining academic modules in automation, robotics, and embedded systems, Siemens S7 Certified PLC programmer training and accreditation, and a workplace project to solve a real-world problem. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Teesside metals company gains critical quality certifications

LIBERTY Powder Metals has earned critical quality certifications that will enable the business to expand its reach in additive manufacturing and sell to customers across the aerospace, automotive, and industrial and engineering sectors.

The company’s atomiser, which opened last December at the Materials Processing Institute on Teesside, produces a range of premium stainless steel and nickel superalloy powders that enable 3D printing of precision components in a market already worth more than £2bn a year. — Read more via The Northern Echo

Leading bagpipe manufacturer boosts productivity with collaborative robot investment

A leading bagpipe manufacturer has realised dramatic increases in productivity and operational efficiencies from its first collaborative robot investment.

Kilmarnock-based McCallum Bagpipes Ltd. is now reaping the benefits afforded by its new Doosan cobot from Mills CNC Automation. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Ranked: The UK’s biggest farm machinery manufacturers

To end today’s and this week’s digest, a nice overview of the farm machinery manufacturing market, including the UK’s biggest firms (apart from one that modestly declined to be featured). — Read more via Farmers Weekly

Thursday – 06/05/2021

Prime Minister announces £1 billion of new UK-India trade

More than 6,500 new jobs will be created around the UK thanks to £1bn of new UK-India trade and investment announced by the Prime Minister.

The package contains over £533m of new Indian investment into the UK, which is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology. £200m of these deals will support low carbon growth. — Read more via GOV.UK

Training provider aims to create another 200 additional Apprenticeships with launch of ‘Equip the Recovery’ Campaign

One of the UK’s leading training providers is throwing its weight behind the UK’s economic bounce back by announcing a new Apprenticeship campaign designed to give firms the talent they need to grow.

In-Comm Training, which already supports more than 750 apprentices across three Technical Academies in the Black Country and Shropshire, has launched ‘Equip the Recovery’ to help more employers look at investing in apprentices by helping to remove some of the barriers. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Satellite Applications Catapult to offer MetalFAB1 3D printing capabilities to UK space SMEs

The UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult is set to take delivery of a MetalFAB1 3D printing system from Additive Industries in a bid to bring the latest metal additive manufacturing technology to the UK space industry.

The machine has been acquired as part of an investment from the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, through the Getting Building Fund, and will made available to UK companies at the Satellite Applications Catapult’s Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre (DISC) at Westcott Venture Park from July this year. — Read more via TCT Magazine

Ashby manufacturer sold to US counterpart in £43m deal

HK Wentworth (HKW), an Ashby-de-la-Zouch manufacturer of electro-chemicals for the electronics, LED, automotive and industrial sectors, has been sold to NYSE-listed Element Solutions in a deal worth £43.1m.

HKW has manufacturing facilities in the UK, India and China and its products serve customers globally across a diverse set of end-markets, including consumer electronics, telecommunications, medical, automotive, military and aerospace. HKW generated sales of approximately £31.6m in 2020. — Read more via The Business Desk

Q-Rich Creationsto set up packaging products plant in UK

Hexcore Limited, a subsidiary of Tirupur-based garment maker Q-Rich Creations, has announced  plans to set up a £12m manufacturing facility for packaging products using 100% recycled paper in the United Kingdom. — Read more via Times of India

IET celebrates 150 years with special programme

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is broadcasting a magazine programme to celebrate its 150th anniversary this month.

To celebrate its 150th anniversary on 17 May with the rest of the world, the IET is broadcasting a one-hour magazine programme each day of its anniversary week, called the 150 Show.

The 150 Show gives the IET an opportunity to mark this important milestone and to celebrate engineering with its 158,000 members across the world, as well as inspiring those from outside the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) community too. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Wednesday – 05/05/2021

UK Manufacturing PMI highest since 1994

UK manufacturing activity grew at its fastest rate since 1994 the newly released IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for April 2021 shows.

The seasonally adjusted PMI rose to 60.9 in April, up from 58.9 in March and above the earlier flash estimate of 60.7. The latest reading is the highest since July 1994’s record high (61.0). — Read more via The Manufacturer

Carmakers want petrol and diesel vehicle ban to start from 2035

ehicle manufacturers have told the Government they want the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, due to start from 2030, pushed back by five years.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has revealed carmakers told him in a recent meeting that a “more realistic” target date would be 2035. — Read more via Fleet News

Supply chain for battery electric vehicles inquiry launched

In the latest stage of its Technological Innovation and Climate Change inquiry, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) announces that it is to look at the supply chain for battery electric vehicles. — Read more via UK Parliament

Aviation, travel groups urge fully reopening U.S.-UK travel market

A coalition of U.S. and European travel, airline, union, business and airport groups on Monday called for fully reopening the US-UK air travel market “as soon as safely possible.”

In a letter to US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the groups said the leaders’ planned meeting in early June “would be an ideal opportunity for a joint announcement of the full reopening of the US-UK air travel market for both US and UK citizens.” — Read more via Reuters

Half of Britain’s manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-security attacks in last 12 months

Half of Britain’s manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-crime during the last 12 months, after thousands of organisations moved their staff to remote working when the Covid crisis struck.

Cyber criminals have been exploiting the emergency working measures mounting attacks which have come at a massive cost to businesses, with a quarter of companies reporting losses of up to £25,000 for each cyber breach and 6% left coming to terms with losing £100,000 plus after an attack. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 04/05/2021

Ford boosts investment in Solid Power, aiming to accelerate solid-state vehicle battery development for customers

Ford Motor Company today announced it is growing its investment in Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all-solid-state batteries for EVs.

Initially investing in Solid Power in 2019, Ford is making an additional equity investment to help accelerate further development of solid-state vehicle battery technology, contributing to a $130m Series B investment round in which the BMW Group becomes an equal equity owner with Ford. — Read more via Automotive World

Self-driving cars to be legal on UK roads by the end of 2021

Self-driving (autonomous) vehicles are set to be legal on UK roads by the end of the year, the British government has confirmed.

The UK’s Department of Transport stated vehicles with automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS) would be the first in the country to be legalised for hands-free driving at speeds up to 60km/h (37mph).

The move to allow vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities to drive legally on British roads was confirmed by the UK’s Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean MP. — Read more via Drive

Green Lithium plans large-scale lithium refinery in the UK

Green Lithium, a mineral processing company, has secured a £631,000 grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre to support the development of what it claims will be Europe’s first large-scale lithium refinery, located in the UK.

The funding that equals about 727,614 euros at present comes through the APC’s Automotive Transformation Fund Feasibility Studies (ATF-FS). — Read more via electrive

Electric car market to hit $1.9tn by 2028

The electric car market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 37.1% by value from 2021 to reach $1.9tn (£1.37tn) by 2028. This market is expected to grow by volume at a CAGR of 36.2% from 2021 to reach 69.3 million units by 2028.

Factors such as supportive government policies and regulations, increasing investment by leading automotive OEMs, rising environmental concerns, and decreasing prices of batteries are driving the growth of the market. — Read more via Meticulous Research

Businesses eyeing fresh trade agreement between India and UK, says UKIBC

Businesses are looking forward to India and the UK implementing an Enhanced Trade Partnership that would address market access barriers in the short and medium term and eventually lead to a potential comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the UK India Business Council said in a statement on Monday.

The statement comes a day ahead of a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson. The India-UK summit aims to lay a comprehensive road map to 2030. — Read more via Business Standard

Monday – 03/05/2021

Morning Foods expands oat milling factory in Crewe

Morning Foods aims to boost output over the next four years by more than 50% thanks to a major expansion of its oat milling capabilities at its site in Crewe.

The development is the second significant expansion of oat milling operations announced this year. Canadian agribusiness Richardson International Limited announced substantial investment at its oat mill in Bedford to boost capacity by at least 35%. Separately, last month Swedish oat drink firm Oatly announced the construction of its first UK factory, which it claims will create 200 jobs. — Read more via Food Manufacture

Ridat delivers innovative thermoforming technology to major French merchandising group

UK-based thermoforming equipment manufacturer Ridat has strengthened its presence in France due to a major commission from merchandising specialist Marie-Laure PLV Merchandising Group.

Ridat has recently supplied a 4030AVF Vacuum Forming Machine with Duplex Heater with Auto Sheet Feed to Marie-Laure PLV Merchandising Group’s Creaplast site near Evreux. — Read more via Interplas Insights

US firm acquires leading manufacturer

Magma Group, a leading ceramics and catalyst manufacturing and related services business has been acquired by the Texas-based Unicat Catalyst Technologies.

The deal builds on an existing partnership between the firms and will see the combined business offer vertically-integrated global manufacturing and distribution of innovative catalyst and ceramics products and services for the refinery, syngas, chemical, steel, agriculture, and green energy industries. — Read more via The Business Desk

Chinese stranglehold on rare earths forces UK into secret talks with allies

Fears China will “turn off the taps” on Britain’s green revolution has forced ministers to enter secret talks with seven commonwealth countries to mine their rare earths.

Officials from the Department of International Trade and the Foreign Office have had meetings with representatives from Australia, Canada, Malawi and Tanzania in a bid to persuade them to supply rare earths, as well as critical metals such as lithium to the UK. — Read more via The Telegraph

SpaceX returns four astronauts to Earth in rare night splashdown

SpaceX has returned four astronauts from the International Space Station, marking the first US crew splashdown in darkness since the Apollo 8 Moon mission. — Read more via Yahoo! News

Friday – 30/04/2021

Queen’s Awards 2021: Every manufacturing and engineering winner

Manufacturing and engineering businesses have always featured prominently in the annual Queen’s Awards and this year’s list is no exception.

Now in their 55th year, the Queen’s Awards are considered the highest accolade bestowed upon a British business (outside of The Manufacture MX Awards, naturally) and showcase excellence in the areas of international trade, innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK car production rises on anniversary of pandemic-driven factory shuttering

UK car production rose 46.6% in March, the first increase after 18 months of decline, with 115,498 cars manufactured, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The performance marks one year since the coronavirus crisis caused all UK automotive plants to be shuttered in mid-March 2020, after only 78,767 cars had left factory gates that month. — Read more via SMMT

London City becomes first major airport to control air traffic remotely

London City Airport has become the first major international airport to control air traffic remotely.

Planes are being guided from a control tower more than 70 miles away.

A 50m-tall tower has been built at the airport, equipped with 14 high-definition cameras which will feed video and audio back to the remote-control centre in Hampshire, where air traffic controller NATS is based. — Read more via Sky News

Small Robot Company launches first commercial robot

Small Robot Company (SRC), a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, today announced its first commercial robot, ‘Tom’. The Tom monitoring robot is now delivered to commercial specification and entering service on UK farms. Customers include the Lockerley Estate, where robots are a key part of its regenerative farming strategy, as well as the Waitrose & Partners and the National Trust.

SRC’s first service using Tom will be per plant weeding, a world-first milestone. This is now in field trials, with Tom scanning first arable crops to detect weeds, and robot weeding prototype ‘Dick’ then zapping individual weeds with electrical ‘lightning strikes’, using no chemicals. On-farm pilots of the service will commence this autumn. — Read more via Small Robot Company

New ‘Augmented Reality’ deal to help steel industry protect vital skills and move towards net zero

The power of Augmented Reality (AR) is set to be used to optimise processes in the steel and metals industry and retain crucial skills that could be lost forever as an ageing workforce retires.

PTC®, one of the world’s leading authorities on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), has joined forces with the Materials Processing Institute, a research and innovation centre serving global steel and materials organisations, to explore the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) at its Normanton Plant in Teesside. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 29/04/2021

Hartlepool automotive manufacturer has eyes on growth after £2m investment

A Hartlepool-based vehicle brake pad manufacturer is accelerating growth plans after securing investment worth more than £2m.

TMD Friction says it will scale up production to meet global demand following support from its parent company.

Officials say the backing will help the firm, based on Hartlepool’s Oakesway Trading Estate, make around 120,000 parts every week this year while providing foundations to build on its near 450-strong workforce. — Read more via North East Times Magazine

EDF and University of Sheffield Nuclear AMRC to deepen collaboration

EDF has signed a new membership agreement with the University of Sheffield Nuclear AMRC to drive innovation in low-carbon power generation and support UK manufacturers.

The collaboration will focus on research and development to deliver the UK’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and the goal of the Nuclear Sector Deal to reduce the cost of nuclear new build by 30%. — Read more via University of Sheffield

Toyoda Gosei announces proposal to close its UK manufacturing facilities

Automotive component manufacturer Toyoda Gosei has informed its employees of a proposal to close the business in the United Kingdom. TGUK will now enter a formal period of consultation with its employees regarding the proposed changes.

The proposal is in response to continued changes in the global automotive sector, and a significant reduction in key UK customer demand. Due to these changes, Toyoda Gosei does not foresee growth of its business there and has decided to make this proposal. — Read more via Automotive World

Yorkshire manufacturer safeguards jobs with £500k funding for “stronger future”

A Yorkshire mechanical manufacturer has announced that it has secured £500k in funding to safeguard jobs and drive development.

Allerton Steel, based in Northallerton, which specialises in structural and mechanical fabrication,  said that the funding has directly safeguarded 20 jobs, and will be used as part of development plans to return the business to growth following the pandemic. — Read more via Bdaily News

Nestle planning hundreds of job cuts and closure of UK factory

Confectionery giant Nestle is planning to cut almost 600 jobs in the UK, close a factory and switch production of some products to Europe, the company announced.

The Swiss-owned firm is proposing the closure of its site in Fawdon, Newcastle upon Tyne, towards the end of 2023, with the loss of around 475 jobs, with a further 98 job cuts in York.

The company said it is proposing changes to adapt its confectionery manufacturing for the future, with a £29.4 million investment at its factories in York and Halifax. — Read more via Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday – 28/04/2021

IET crowns STEM Personalities of the Year

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has crowned its STEM Personalities of the Year in a worldwide competition.

The competition asked people around the world to nominate a superstar scientist, a trailblazing technician, an exuberant engineer or a motivational mathematician worthy of receiving this once in a lifetime award. A person could nominate anyone – a celebrity, inventor, activist, or even a YouTube sensation – with the goal of changing the narrative on what it really means to be an engineer or technologist. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Food and Drink industry export figures revealed

After more than a decade of continuous growth, the £104bn UK food and drink sector experienced a significant drop in exports in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there remains “significant headroom for growth for UK food and drink exports, both within the EU and further afield”, according to a report by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and Santander. — Read more via Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and Santander

Vestas considers expanding UK blade production

Vestas plans to expand its UK manufacturing footprint if it is successful in securing a large volume of offshore wind turbine orders as a result of the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round 4, the company announced today.

Discussions are ongoing with “potential partners that can competitively supply towers and additional blade manufacturing in the North East of the UK,” the company said in a statement. — Read more via Windpower Monthly

Calls for rescue of Coventry manufacturer after jobs put at risk

Labour MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana, has called for the government to “step-in now” to “guarantee the future” of manufacturer Liberty Pressing Solutions.

The company, based in Willenhall, is part of the Liberty Steel Group, which is at risk after the collapse of its main financial backer, Greensill Capital. — Read more via Coventry Live

Ricardo to assess feasibility of a UK-based battery manufacturing facility for niche volume electrified vehicle manufacturers

As part of its mission to support the decarbonisation of the global transport and energy sectors, Ricardo, a world-class environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company, has announced that it has received Government funding to assess the commercial viability of a facility to assemble battery packs for UK manufacturers which produce fewer than 10,000 electrified vehicles per year. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 27/04/2021

Jacobs provides support for UK advanced reactor development

Jacobs’ nuclear laboratories in Warrington, UK, will carry out research and development work into new technologies for advanced manufacturing qualification under contracts with U-Battery Developments Ltd and Westinghouse Electric Company UK, which have progressed to Phase 2 of a competition run by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to promote technological innovation.

BEIS is investing £40m ($50m) to develop designs for Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR) that will generate low-cost electricity by introducing novel cooling techniques and off-site factory fabrication. — Read more via Nuclear Engineering International

Semiconductor crisis: JLR halts two plants, VW Group warns worst is to come

As the shortage of semiconductor processing chips continues to impact the automotive and technology industries, several leading car makers have been forced to close production lines temporarily.

The crisis has been affecting companies for several months now. It stems from increased demand for personal computers, tablets and smartphones at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, which largely diverted supply away from the automotive sector.  — Read more via Autocar

New owners reveal “major overhaul” for former plastics factory in Durham

A commercial property consultancy has revealed plans to drive a “major” refurbishment project at a Durham manufacturing facility.

Northumberland Estates, based in Alnwick, has completed its acquisition of a 194,000 sq ft facility on the Meadowfield Industrial Estate in a deal brokered by Naylors Gavin Black.

The former Wavin plastics factory has been empty for the past four years after production ceased, and Northumberland Estates is orchestrating the overhaul in hopes of attracting new occupants. — Read more via Bdaily News

Mazak makes significant machining investment in the UK

Yamazaki Mazak has made another substantial investment in production equipment at its UK-based European Manufacturing Plant.

The latest multimillion-pound investment at Mazak’s manufacturing plant in the UK includes the installation of a state-of-the-art twin-pallet Versatech H V-140N/280 and FJV-60/80 double-column vertical machining centre as the company continues to increase its production capacity post-Brexit. The machines will be used to manufacture large component parts for new machines built at its plant in Worcester. — Read more via ETMM

Interflex secures GBP250,000 UK grant

Automotive parts manufacturer, Interflex, has been awarded a GBP254,000 (US$353,000) grant as part of a programme offering GBP16m funding from the UK Department for Business Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS).

The cash is awarded as part of the NMCL Automotive Programme, which was developed by an ADS Group and Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT)-led consortium. — Read more via just auto

Food packaging company invests in bespoke folding equipment to speed up disposable PPE production

PFF has invested in new folding equipment to speed up production of disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) at its Washington, Tyne and Wear plant.

The new equipment will work alongside the company’s recently installed custom-built PPE manufacturing machinery and comes on the back of the company’s appointment by the Department of Health and Social Care to produce 360m aprons for frontline NHS and healthcare workers. — Read more via Medical Plastics News

Monday – 26/04/2021

Saint-Gobain Glass to invest £30m in Yorkshire site

Saint-Gobain Glass is investing £30m in its glass manufacturing factory in Eggborough, East Yorkshire.

The firm will carry out a major construction programme to completely rebuild and install a new state-of the-art, float glass furnace, as well as upgrade other areas of the factory.

The project represents the largest industrial investment in the UK by the Saint-Gobain Group since the Eggborough plant was built in 2000. — Read more via The Yorkshire Post

Excitement as godfather of manufacturing returns to Sheffield with new project

Keith Ridgway CBE is opening a new office aimed at boosting the local forgings industry.

The co-founder and former executive dean of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre resigned in November 2019 after a reported clash of cultures with new bosses at Sheffield University.

Now he is executive chair of the Advanced Forming Research Centre at the University of Strathclyde, a globally leading centre for forging and forming. — Read more via The Star

UK’s first electric passenger boat on display at the Green Tech Boat Show

MDL Marinas, one of the largest marina groups in the UK, is hosting a brand new show this year. The Green Tech Boat Show is dedicated to green technologies in the boating industry and it aims to showcase some of the best green boats currently on the market. One of them is the e-Voyager.

Built by Voyager Boatyard, in collaboration with Plymouth Boat Trips, the University of Plymouth and several other partners, the e-Voyager is a pioneering concept turned into reality. With green technology becoming one of the biggest trends in boat manufacturing, most companies are looking at building ships that can contribute to reducing harmful emissions. From commercial, heavy-duty ships to passenger vessels, boats are heading toward a green future. — Read more via autoevolution

Welcome order boost for Broughton’s Airbus wing-making factory

Workers at the Airbus wing-making plant in Broughton, near Chester, have received an orders boost after US airline Delta added a further 25 aircraft to an existing delivery.

It marks a return to something approaching normality after Airbus, and other plane makers around the world, suffered a collapse in work intake as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that led to international border closures and the grounding of nearly all aircraft for almost a year.

Airbus underwent a restructuring to combat the dearth in business, which included Broughton’s headcount dropping from more than 6,000 staff to just over 4,500. — Read more via The Business Desk

UK sends life-saving medical equipment to India to help fight Covid-19

The UK Government will send more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators, to India to support the country in its fight against Covid-19.

Nine airline container loads of supplies will be sent to India this week. — Read more via Times of India

Friday – 23/04/2021

Manufacturing optimism at highest levels in nearly 50 years

UK manufacturers have recorded the sharpest rise in optimism in nearly half a century this month as Britain slowly began its exit from Covid-19 lockdowns.

According to the latest CBI quarterly Industrial Trends survey, its quarterly business optimism gauge jumped to +38, its highest level since April 1973. — Read more via CBI

14 cutting edge tech startups join forces with industry titans to address UK’s prevalent manufacturing challenges

An unmanned module to tackle sewer blockages and a digital system for mass-producing customised clothing are just two cutting-edge solutions from 14 startups selected for the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator programme.

The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator is run by Digital Catapult, the UK authority in advanced digital technology. It has been developed to pair industry leaders with technology startups to enable the use of advanced technology to radically alter, and improve, the way manufacturing is approached. — Read more via Digital Catapult

Fifth state-of-the-art Astute submarine is launched

Anson, the fifth of seven Astute class attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy, has been launched at the BAE Systems site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

The 7,400-tonne nuclear-powered submarine, officially named at a ceremony in December, emerged from the Devonshire Dock Hall and entered the water for the first time this week. The launch was a special moment for the Barrow shipyard, which is celebrating its 150th year and a long and proud relationship with the Royal Navy. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Jaguar Land Rover to suspend work at UK plants amid computer chip shortage

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is to temporarily shut down production at two of its main UK factories because of a shortage of computer chips, in the latest sign of the difficulties facing the global car industry during the pandemic.

The company, which is owned by the Indian conglomerate Tata and has the UK’s largest automotive manufacturing operation, confirmed to the Guardian it would have a “limited period of non-production” at its plants in Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands and Halewood on Merseyside – where together nearly 6,000 workers are employed – starting on Monday. — Read more via The Guardian

Cornwall Group creates new apprenticeships

Cornwall Group has pledged to create 10 new apprenticeships before the end of this year, as part of its continuing commitment to support the up skilling of workers in the glass industry. The company – which operates across three divisions: Cornwall Glass Manufacturing, Cornwall Glass and Glazing, and its glass merchanting business Mackenzie Glass – has an over-arching commitment to ensure that at any given time, 10% of its workforce is made up of apprentices or former apprentices. — Read more via Glass & Glazing Products

Thursday – 22/04/2021

Ten-point export blueprint launched to help UK maximise ‘once in a generation’ international trade opportunity

A ten-point action plan, which includes the creation of a new UK Trade Committee chaired by the Prime Minister, has been launched as part of a major new report.

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has published a Policy Platform paper that is designed to be a blueprint on how the country can maximise its first independent trade policy opportunity in 45 years. — Read more via The Manufacturer

‘Digital testbed’ could replace physical testing in aircraft manufacturing

‘Digital inspection’ using simulation and modelling could replace physical testing in the development of new aircraft, the partners behind a new project have said.

The three-year, £15m Smarter Testing programme, led by the National Physical Laboratory and Airbus, aims to explore how novel inspection techniques can be used to predict product performance and identify failures early. — Read more via Institute of Mechanical Engineers

Leeds manufacturer to increase capacity, reduce plastic use with six-figure investment

A West Yorkshire manufacturer has invested £550,000 in a new Kiefel KMD 78 thermoforming machine that increases its capacity and provides the firm with the flexibility to introduce hybrid packaging solutions at a time when many businesses are looking to reduce the amount of plastic they use.

Leeds-based LVF Packaging, which manufactures thermoformed packaging for a host of blue-chip brands and leading supermarkets, has seen demand for its products soar over the last 12-months. — Read more via LVF Packaging

Step forward for the drone industry as Civil Aviation Authority authorises trial of a concept for routine BVLOS operations

In a significant step forward for the drone industry, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) command & control solution developer sees.ai has become the first company in the UK to secure authorisation from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to trial a concept for routine Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. The permissions come as part of a test project to prove the concept ahead of potentially opening it up to the wider market. — Read more via sUAS News

‘Manufacturers must trade off cost for security of their supply chains’ – IOE&IT chair Terry Scuoler

Solutions to the unprecedented challenges facing global supply chains in the past year – namely rising freight costs, physical logjams, capacity and over-reliance on single supply sources – will be discussed at a keynote debate today in front of key manufacturers.

Today at 9.20am on the final day of the virtual Santander Manufacturing Industry event, IOE&IT chairman Terry Scuoler CBE will host a debate featuring supply chain experts from China and India.

The event is free to attend for qualifying manufacturers and their suppliers by registering here.

Ahead of the panel discussion, Terry Scuoler CBE gave a preview of his thoughts and experiences on the topic. — Read more via Institute of Export & International trade

Wednesday – 21/04/2021

New cyber security laws to protect smart devices amid pandemic sales surge

Makers of smart devices including phones, speakers, and doorbells will need to tell customers upfront how long a product will be guaranteed to receive vital security updates under groundbreaking plans to protect people from cyber attacks.

Smart device manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Google and others will say when smartphones, smart speakers and other devices will stop getting security updates. Easy-to-guess default passwords will also be banned on virtually all devices under the new law and there will be rules to make it easier for people to report software bugs that can be exploited by hackers. — Read more via GOV UK

Tetra Pak introduces 14 state-of-the-art lines for cheese manufacturers

Tetra Pak has announced the development of 14 new Best Practice Lines (BPLs) for cheese manufacturers, the latest of which – specifically customised for Cottage cheese – launched on 19 April. The other cheeses that will benefit from these BPLs include Mozzarella, Semi-hard cheese, Cheddar, and Fresh cheese production. Together, these cheese types make up 79% of all cheese volumes and have a CAGR forecast of 3% (2021-2025). — Read more via Dairy Industries International

Historic engine factory comes to market

THE former Cummins diesel engine factory in Shotts, which in its heyday made high-speed engines for cars and trains, is being marketed for industrial use again.

The site, located at Junction 5 M8 Business Park, was home to Cummins’ first manufacturing facility outside the US when it opened in 1956.

At its peak, Cummins employed around 2,000 people in the factory, where it pioneered a new breed of engines used by trains, including the British Rail Sprinter units. — Read more via The Herald

UK recovery accelerates with growth at a 6-month high

Business output across many sectors of the UK reached a six-month high in March. This last happened when Britain faced a second blockade last September.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) UK recovery trackers showed 11 out of 14 UK sectors that monitors increased last month-up from 6 in February.

The manufacturer of technical equipment was 69.7, the metal and mining products were reported at 64.3, and the carrier was 62.8. — Read more via RBS

UK aerospace body warns Brexit deal threatens parts production

UK aerospace-industry trade lobby ADS warned that Britain could lose business to the European Union after the Brexit deal failed to resolve issues concerning design-approval for plane components.

Almost four months after the trade deal was struck, firms are still struggling to secure EU signoff for British-designed parts and approval for maintenance work on planes registered in the bloc, ADS said. At the same time, the UK Civil Aviation Authority is granting automatic recognition to rival European players. — Read more via Bloomberg

Tuesday – 20/04/2021

Siemens and Google Cloud to Cooperate on AI-based Solutions in Manufacturing

Google Cloud and Siemens have announced a new cooperation to optimise factory processes and improve productivity on the shop floor. Siemens intends to integrate Google Cloud’s leading data cloud and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) technologies with its factory automation solutions to help manufacturers innovate for the future. — Read more via The Manufacturer

€400m European bakery manufacturer Baker & Baker launched

Baker & Baker, a €400m European bakery products manufacturer headquartered in the UK, has been formally launched, following the separation of CSM Bakery Solutions.

The move follows CSM Bakery Solutions’ October 2020 agreement to sell its European and international bakery ingredients business to a subsidiary of investment firm Investindustrial. Following that move, CSM and Rhone Capital retained two businesses: the North America business, operated as Brill North America, and the European products business – now known as Baker & Baker. — Read more via Food Manufacture

Johnson Matthey to open second battery components plant

Johnson Matthey (JM) has signed a deal with a state-backed Finnish company to set up a new battery components factory in the country.

JM said that it would scale up its battery business with its second plant, near the Finnish city of Vaasa on the country’s west coast. The plant will benefit from a partnership with Finnish Minerals Group, the company that manages Finland’s stakes in the mining industry. — Read more via Johnson Matthey

Go-ahead for £300m SmartParc food manufacturing campus in Derby

A new industrial campus dedicated to food production and research has been given planning approval.

The £300 million SmartParc in Derby could create thousands of new jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

Derby City Council has now given outline planning for the scheme on the city’s former Celanese site. — Read more via Business Live

AMT receives £87k Innovate UK grant to develop new organic solvent for elastomers

UK-based post-processing specialist Additive Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) has received an Innovate UK grant worth £87,000 to develop a new organic solvent designed specifically for the post-processing of elastomer materials.

Designed specifically for thermoplastic elastomers such as TPU, the solvent can be used in AMT’s PostPro Chemical Vapor Smoothing Process. The company will use the grant to further fast track its research and development program to produce a new generation of bio-renewable chemistries, with the goal to improve sustainability within the 3D printing post-processing market. — Read more via 3D Printing Industry

Monday – 19/04/2021

Under the skin: Solid-state batteries could be EV game-raisers

Until now, car manufacturers have been a little vague about the details of their EV batteries. At cell level, most are relying heavily on traditional cell suppliers, such as LG Chem or Sanyo, but Volkswagen has recently presented its detailed plans for the rest of the decade through to the switch to solid-state batteries after 2025. — Read more via Autocar

Wrightbus celebrates landmark £8m Far East orders

The international arm of Northern Ireland bus-maker Wrightbus was today celebrating two landmark orders to produce a total of 45 buses for markets in the Far East from its factory in Malaysia.

Worth £8m, the low emission diesel buses will be destined for the streets of Hong Kong and Japan. — Read more via Ballymena Guardian

UK aid and Unilever reach one billion people with global hygiene campaign to tackle Covid-19

A hygiene campaign launched by the Government and Unilever to tackle Covid-19 has now reached one billion people.

The campaign has:

  • Trained 140,000 staff, including community health workers and teachers, to deliver hygiene skills, including deep cleaning of public buildings and effective handwashing.
  • Installed over 500,000 handwashing stations around the world, including in Bangladesh, as well as health care facilities in Iraq.
  • Delivered 75m Unilever hygiene products to 60 countries — Read more via GOV UK

Western Europe is now the world’s largest investor in batteries

In 2020, Fitch Solutions analysts recorded 37 manufacturing projects for EV batteries and related components and materials worth $21.04bin, for those projects disclosing financial details.

Western Europe claimed both the biggest number of projects with 17, and the biggest combined value with $9.1 billion. This gave the region a 43.5% share of the total global investment into battery manufacturing projects, Fitch reports. — Read more via Oil Price

‘The UK Government should part-fund our own British Car Company’

An opinion piece by Mike Rutherford to end today’s digest, in which he outlines reasons why Britain’s new independence makes it perfectly poised to invest in car production. — Read more via Auto Express

Friday – 16/04/2021

Moog breaking new ground as work begins

Work has begun on a £40m manufacturing and design facility for Moog Controls in Tewkesbury.

The 184,000sq ft centre of excellence for Moog’s aircraft controls operation is being built at Ashchurch on a 10-acre site at the A46, near Junction 9 of the M5.

West Midlands development and investment company Barberry Industrial, who acquired the site from Sainsbury’s, have agreed a 35-year lease with Moog with main contractor Readie Construction appointed to deliver the £28m construction contract. — Read more via Punchline

Sheffield Forgemasters adopts pioneering robot assistance

Sheffield Forgemasters has adopted pioneering collaborative robotic (Cobot) assistance for some of its Foundry operatives, dramatically reducing exposure to vibration, improving safety and increasing productivity within its fettling operations.

Sheffield Forgemasters is one of the first foundries in the world to employ the 6A10 Grinding Cobot, from French firm RB3D, which works with operators of heavy grinders to stabilise and take the weight of the grinder, amplify its operational pressure and dramatically reduce the level of vibrations for the operator. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tata Steel unveils multi-million-pound plan for tube making site in UK

Tata Steel on Thursday unveiled its transformation plans for a steel tube making site in the UK’s East Midlands, which the Indian steel major said will give the business the best chance of a strong future. Work has started at the 150-acre site at Corby, which produces vital products for everything from sports stadiums and iconic skyscrapers such as the Shard in London, to hospital beds and renewable green energy schemes around the world. Workers at the site produce steel tube products from steel made at the company’s Port Talbot works in Wales. — Read more via NDTV Profit

100+ jobs as hi-tech manufacturer raises investment

A business which manufactures high-performance carbon and metal components for F1 teams and other industries has raised £10m.

BGF’s investment will be used to support the business’ planned move into a state-of-the-art 100,000 sq. ft. facility at Horizon Technology Park in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, doubling the size of its production capacity and creating over 110 new jobs in the next two years. — Read more via Business Cloud

Huge industrial development to kick off on site of famous Spitfire engine factory near Glasgow

One of the largest industrial property developments in Scotland in recent years is set to kick off on the site of a famous aero-engine maker, providing space for scores of workers.

The development will be located on a site spanning more than six acres, at Hillington Park, seven miles west of Glasgow city centre. — Read more via The Scotsman

Thursday – 15/04/2021

Aerospace industry warns of supply crunch due to Liberty Steel crisis

Britain’s biggest aerospace employers, including Rolls-Royce Holdings and Airbus, have urged the business secretary to step into the crisis engulfing the steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta amid fears of a global shortage of specialist materials. — Read more via Sky News

Bristol manufacturer acquires rubber, plastics processing companies

Bristol-based manufacturing and engineering business Avon Group has taken another step towards consolidating its position in the UK industrial components manufacturing sector with its second acquisition of an industrial component company within the past six months.

Avon Group added Northamptonshire gasket manufacturer Scandura to its list of recent acquisitions, after buying Gloucestershire company Edgewest Plastics in October. — Read more via European Rubber Journal

IAI and Thales UK partner to offer SEA SERPENT capability for Royal Navy

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Thales UK have partnered to offer the SEA SERPENT anti-ship and anti-surface missile solution for the Royal Navy.

The capability could be equipped on the navy’s Type-23 frigates to respond to growing current and emerging threats. It has been developed based on the GABRIEL family of surface-to-surface missiles. — Read more via Naval Technology

Ambienta purchases UK flavours manufacturer TasteConnection

European private equity investor Ambienta has completed the acquisition of TasteConnection, a UK manufacturer of natural seasonings and flavourings for food applications.

Founded in 2002, TasteConnection is a manufacturer of customised seasonings and flavourings for food processors and food ingredients producers, with a core focus on the snacks and savoury markets such as crisps, chips and ready-meals.

The deal marks the fourth acquisition by Ambienta in the last two and a half years, as it continues to build its Nactarome subsidiary – a European platform in natural colours, flavours and ingredients for the food and beverage sector. — Read more via FoodBev Media

Countries must rethink tariffs on bio-manufacturing

Bio-pharmaceuticals are increasingly central to healthcare delivery in high and low-income countries alike. Well-known examples of these large molecule-based treatments are vaccines and monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19.

But COVID-19 has revealed that the global manufacturing capacity for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics is insufficient to support an effective pandemic response, and by addressing the current gaps, healthcare delivery and health security more broadly could benefit. — Read more via World Economic Forum

Wednesday – 14/04/2021

Ericsson fuels UK automotive company’s Industry 4.0 drive with 5G VR

Imagine simultaneously working on the same complex product with colleagues in multiple distant locations while everyone sees the result of the work right before their eyes. That’s exactly what Ericsson-powered 5G will deliver for UK vehicle battery manufacturer Hyperbat in a proof-of-concept virtual reality digital twin partnership with communications service provider BT and other technology leaders. — Read more via Ericsson

Electronics and Subsea industries partner on strategy to create new opportunities to advance UK technology

A new partnership between the subsea and electronics industries in the UK aims to unlock untapped potential for companies in both sectors that will develop advanced underwater technology, helping to increase exports and create new jobs.

Subsea UK and TechWorks have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to align their strategies and connect their supply chains. Through a shared understanding of what each industry can bring to the other, the organisations will foster collaboration that will result in new and advanced underwater technological solutions. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures invests in battery recycling and manufacturing technology

Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital and mobility arm, InMotion Ventures, has invested in Battery Resourcers, a lithium ion battery recycling and materials company.

The sustainable technology firm holds the exclusive licence for an innovative closed-loop process that integrates battery recycling, refining and materials engineering to convert scrap end-of-life batteries into new materials that can be used to make new batteries.

The investment in Battery Resourcers plays part of the plan for Jaguar Land Rover to establish sustainable solutions for end-of-life batteries, minimising waste and creating a circular economy across the battery supply chain. — Read more via Jaguar Land Rover

Jobs could return as Isle of Wight firm buys aerospace company

An Isle of Wight company is hoping to bounce back strongly from the worldwide slump in the aerospace industry… after it bought another firm in the sector.

IFPL Group, which had to lay off more than 30 employees at the turn of the year due to the Covid-induced downturn, has acquired Cobalt Aerospace Group — an up-and-coming business which has products to complement those offered by IFPL. — Read more via Isle of Wight County Press

Llanelli AIM Altitude factory to close with 99 jobs lost

A factory in south Wales which makes airline cabin interiors is to close with the loss of almost 100 jobs.

AIM Altitude cited the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry as a reason for closing its plant in Dafen, near Llanelli.

The Bournemouth-based firm is one of the leading suppliers of cabin interiors for airlines such as Boeing and Airbus.

The factory, which employs 99 people, will close at the end of May. — Read more via BBC News

Tuesday – 13/04/2021

3,000-job ‘gigafactory’ comes step nearer as Britishvolt buys Blyth site

Plans to create 3,000 jobs with a ‘gigafactory’ to make batteries for electric vehicles have come a step closer after the company behind the scheme bought a massive site in Northumberland.

Britishvolt has worked with Northumberland County Council to acquire the former Blyth Power Station site where it wants to build its manufacturing facility.

The company still has to find £1.2bn to make its plans a reality, but says the land deal is an important step and means it is on course to start construction of the plant later this year and begin production of batteries by 2023. — Read more via The Chronicle

Titomic and NÉOS International to manufacture Invar36 faceplates in the UK

Titomic Limited, Melbourne, Australia, has signed a Heads of Agreement with NÉOS International Limited (Neos), headquartered in the UK, whereby the companies will enter into a joint venture to manufacture and sell Invar36 faceplates and multi-metal product solutions in the UK for the aerospace, defence, automotive and nuclear industries. — Read more via Metal AM

Toyota Motor Europe to supply fuel cell modules for train prototype

Toyota Motor Europe has secured a contract to supply fuel cell modules for a train project as a member of the Fuel Cell Hybrid Power Pack for Rail Applications (FCH2RAIL) consortium.

The consortium partners, including Belgium, Germany, Spain and Portugal, are developing and testing a new zero-emission train prototype.

Toyota Motor will be responsible for the supply and integration of fuel cell modules into the prototype as part of the FCH2RAIL project. — Read more via Railway Technology

Comau UK to develop battery manufacturing line for UK Battery Industrialisation Centre

Comau UK has been selected by the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to develop and deploy a semi-automated battery module and battery pack assembly line for the publicly-funded ‘open access’ battery production development facility.

The Module and Pack assembly line is the first of UKBIC’s innovative battery manufacturing equipment to have been installed, commissioned and available for its customers to use. — Read more via Highways Today

UK Startup flypop Leases Airbus A330s From Avolon

UK startup airline flypop has signed a lease agreement for multiple Airbus A330 aircraft. According to the airline, the deal with Avolon means that it has now been able to apply for its Air Operator Certificate before launching flights from London to India. — Read more via Simple Flying

Monday – 12/04/2021

Battery assembly line for Coventry

Comau UK of Rugby has been selected by the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to develop and deploy a semi-automated battery module and battery pack assembly line for the publicly-funded ‘open access’ battery production development facility.

The Module and Pack assembly line is the first of UKBIC’s innovative battery manufacturing equipment to have been installed, commissioned and available for its customers to use. — Read more via Electronics Weekly

How Siddall & Hilton is creating skilled manufacturing jobs in Yorkshire

Siddall & Hilton, which was founnded in 1895 and is the UK’s largest manufacturer of industrial welded steel mesh for high-security fencing, has just reeled in a record profit.

Having led a consortium of existing management team members in a buyout two years ago, Ian Thurley, the chief executive, is now installing new machinery to help the firm in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, increase its market share and position it as the firm of choice for local youngsters seeking employment in the manufacturing sector. — Read more via The Yorkshire Post

Truck firm launches heavy plant division with SANY

Commercial vehicle specialist MC Truck & Bus has launched a new division in partnership with heavy machinery manufacturing giant SANY. MC Plant has won the franchise to undertake the sales, support service and repairs of SANY excavators and other plant for Kent, Surrey & East Sussex. The move comes as SANY continues to establish a regional dealer network across England and Wales after its arrival in the UK in 2015.

New jobs will be created with MC Plant currently hiring specialist technicians and the division will grow organically as business expands. MC Plant will be headquartered at one of the group’s main bases in Larkfield, Maidstone, with support from the company’s existing dealerships in Burgess Hill, Hythe and Aylesford. — Read more via Building Design & Construction

Prince Philip helped design custom Land Rover which will carry his coffin

Prince Philip’s coffin will be carried to his funeral in a custom Land Rover he helped to design.

The Land Rover will transport the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin in a ceremonial procession to his funeral in Windsor next Saturday.

The duke had a hand in designing the purpose-built vehicle, which was specially modified to carry a coffin. He was known to have a keen interest in design and engineering. — Read more via i News

Celebrating 20 years of the BMW Mini

The Mini brand remains unique, even though it’s part of a huge corporate company in the BMW Group.

Talking to people who have been part of the reinvention of the brand over more than 20 years, it’s a surprise to hear tales of experimentation, can-do engineering and production and a remarkable freedom to find its own way.

For the first 14 years of its second life, Mini was a kind of boutique operation, making a lot out of not very much, with engineering work executed by outside contractors and the design team based in a small studio in Munich. — Read more via Autocar

Friday – 09/04/2021

Deeside based drug developer set for multi-million-pound investment following acquisition

Deeside based drug developer, ADC Biotechnology has been acquired by UK based pharmaceutical development and manufacturing company, Sterling Pharma Solutions.

The North Wales facility will rebrand to become part of the Sterling Pharma Solutions international network. Together the teams will establish a centre of excellence for ADC development and manufacturing services. — Read more via Deeside.com

Chocolate maker finds the digital sweet spot with Made Smarter

A chocolate maker, supported by Made Smarter, is poised to experience a game-changing productivity increase by automating its manufacturing process.

Friars, based in Cumbria, started making its own brand of premium chocolates by hand last year, after nearly 100 years of retailing confectionary products.

Now to meet increasing demand and to accelerate growth, the third-generation family business is adopting a process solution which will automate the labour intensive element of its production line while retaining key handcrafted elements. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Airbus picks up the pace with 72 commercial deliveries in March

Airbus has picked up the pace for aircraft deliveries in March. The European aircraft manufacturer delivered a total of 72 aircraft to a range of airlines from Aer Lingus to Wizz Air UK. Most airlines only took one plane this month, with only nine customers taking three or more aircraft. — Read more via Simple Flying

Fears for thousands of British steel jobs as Sanjeev Gupta’s Australian business crumbles

Fresh fears have been raised about UK steel jobs after Sanjeev Gupta’s empire was thrown deeper into crisis.

Two of the tycoon’s businesses in Australia face being shut down as pressure mounts on his GFG Alliance.

The strain puts his operations in other countries including the UK at risk – he employs around 5,000 people in the UK including 3,000 at Liberty Steel. — Read more via This Is Money

New injection moulding technique allows glass to be cast in any shape

Fused silica glass offers numerous benefits as a material, but manufacturers often avoid using it because of the high temperatures required. However, researchers in Germany have now produced high quality glassware at far lower temperatures using injection moulding.

Their technique could potentially have significant technical, economic and environmental benefits. — Read more via Chemistry World

Thursday – 08/04/2021

Berlin orders 198 Scarborough-built double deckers for new generation of iconic yellow buses

Berlin’s iconic yellow double deck buses are to be manufactured in Scarborough for the first time.

Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) yesterday announced that Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, the German capital’s public transport company, had exercised options for 198 of their Enviro500 double deck buses.

All 198 buses will be manufactured at ADL’s UK facilities, with final assembly taking place at the Scarborough plant, before being delivered to Berlin by the end of 2022.

The first two Enviro500 double deckers were delivered to BVG in October 2020 as part of a multi-year framework contract signed in 2018. — Read more via Yorkshire Live

Devon manufacturer boosts production with new press line investment

A specialist in precision pressed parts and machined components has invested more than £100,000 into the installation of a new high-speed press line to boost capacity ahead of a raft of new opportunities.

Source Engineering, which employs 32 people across its two divisions in Plympton, has tapped into the expertise of Bruderer UK to purchase a machine that can do the work of four conventional HME power presses. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Fast metal parts printing is UK first

Wall Colmonoy has fully installed the first Desktop Metal Shop System in the UK.

Using Desktop Metal’s innovative binder-jet technology and generations of its materials expertise, Wall Colmonoy can now offer affordable and fast metal 3D printing of small to medium parts.

The Desktop Metal Shop System complements the offerings of Wall Colmonoy’s Precision Components business. This division, based in Wales, encompasses a 23,500ft2 modern machining facility and 19,000ft2 casting foundry, with 50 years of casting experience in wear-resistant alloys. — Read more via Eureka!

Electric vehicle sales surge in UK, petrol engines slump and drop 10%

Electric vehicle registrations in the United Kingdom have exploded, increasing over 88% in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2020.

While battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales surged, petrol and diesel engine sales collapsed by 10 and 31.4%, respectively, proving car buyers in the UK are becoming more attracted to sustainable powertrains compared to the gas-powered vehicles that have dominated the automotive industry for over 100 years. — Read more via Teslarati

Super-deduction tax spurs manufacturers’ spending plans

Almost a quarter (22.6%) of UK manufacturers are planning to boost their investments as a direct response to the “super-deduction” tax that chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his recent Budget, with more than a quarter (28.1%) more saying they will bring forward their investment plans.

But, according to a new survey by the manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK, just under half of companies (48.6%) do not expect to make any changes to their investment plans as a result of the new tax, or say that their plans are too rigid to change. — Read more via Drives & Controls

Wednesday – 07/04/2021

New £20m fund to grow UK life sciences manufacturing opens for applications

Life science companies can now apply to the new £20m fund to expand manufacturing in the UK, Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced yesterday.

The fund will boost the UK offer in life sciences manufacturing, creating economic opportunities and highly skilled jobs across the country, supporting the government’s ambitions to build back better, ensuring greater resilience in UK supply chains. — Read more via GOV.UK

Shropshire galvanisers to create 45 jobs after landing major contract haul

The boss of one of the UK’s leading galvanizing businesses has appealed for people to come forward for more than 45 new jobs currently available.

Sophie Williams, Finance Director & General Manager at Corbetts the Galvanizers, is urging individuals who may have been made redundant during the pandemic to consider a career in the sector. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Dungannon-based Greiner Packaging invests over £3.7m to increase recycled content in packaging

Northern Ireland’s Greiner Packaging UK & Ireland has invested over £3.7m in a new PET decontamination and extrusion line to enable the use of more recycled materials in its market leading pot and tub range as well as continuing innovation with more sustainable materials. — Read more via Belfast News Letter

Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrates AstraZeneca’s investment in advanced medicines manufacturing during Macclesfield campus visit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday visited AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield global manufacturing and development campus in North West England, to view a £380m investment in a new advanced medicine manufacturing facility and Global Medicines Packaging Centre.

The investment was made in March last year and the visit was rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Macclesfield campus, employing more than 3,000 people, is the UK’s largest medicines development and advanced manufacturing site and is a global centre of excellence from where AstraZeneca exports more than 50 medicines to 130 countries. — Read more via AstraZeneca

Barbour sees revenues rise to top £240m despite backdrop of global uncertainty

Waxed jacket maker Barbour saw revenues rise by £17.6m last year, despite being heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

South Tyneside based J Barbour & Son Ltd, which trades under the brands Barbour, Barbour International and Barbour Beacon, has published accounts for the year ended April 30 2020, showing a 7.8% rise in revenues to £242.8m, though operating profit dropped 14.5% to £35.1m.

Total income, meanwhile, dropped from £31.4m to £28.9m. — Read more via Business Live

Tuesday – 06/04/2021

New Loughborough Uni ‘roadmap’ sets out 20-years of technological change

Loughborough University’s Institute of Digital Engineering has created a ‘roadmap’ to guide the UK automotive sector through the next 20-years of industry digitalisation.

The online interactive document sets out how digital technologies can support engineers and manufacturers in creating the next generation of products faster and more efficiently.

Drawing on more than 600 hours of interviews and workshops with experts from within the industry – as well as from academia and other sectors, such as aerospace, pharmaceutical and gaming – the comprehensive plan outlines the importance of tools and processes such as AI, digital twinning and cybersecurity. — Read more via Loughborough University

The next electric-car battery champion could be European

With Europe expected to lead the world in electric-car sales for a second straight year, a rush to build a battery-supply chain from scratch is playing out across the region.

After years of ceding the EV battery business to foreign companies, Europe wants in. Prospective manufacturers are popping up in the Nordic region, Germany, France, the UK and Poland in a transcontinental competition to reduce the dominance of China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. and South Korea’s LG Energy Solution.

Fueled by state support of at least 6.1 billion euros ($7.3 billion) and investment plans totaling 10 times that in just one year, the race is on for a regional champion to emerge. — Read more via Automotive News Europe

Liberty Steel boss Sanjeev Gupta says ‘no factories will shut under my watch’

The founder of Liberty Steel has revealed that the company owes “many billions” to collapsed financial backer Greensill Capital but insisted none of its plants will shut down “under my watch”.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning, Liberty Steel boss Sanjeev Gupta said Liberty Steel is “currently enjoying one of the best markets in steel and aluminium”, and its recent efforts to make “efficiency gains” are paying “good results”.

However, with Liberty owing “many billions” to Greensill, questions regarding the firm’s future do not seem out of place. — Read more via The Yorkshire Post

The Nottinghamshire company playing a key role in Covid-19 testing

A Nottinghamshire-based company is playing a key roll in the testing process for Covid-19 through its manufacturing.

TEQ – which has delivered a range of medical packaging solutions during the pandemic – is now manufacturing Covid-19 testing kits.

The company, which has a UK manufacturing base in Hucknall, says its IVD (In Vitro Diagnostic) test kit trays will be in great demand because they offer a high degree of functionality along with a speedy route to market. — Read more via Nottinghamshire Live

International growth programmes launch in Asia-Pacific

This week sees 30 UK tech scaleups join the inaugural Tech Nation International Growth Programme launched in Australia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

The new programme has been commissioned as part of the Digital Trade Network, by the UK Government, to help innovative tech companies access trade and investment opportunities between the UK and Asia Pacific and forge new partnerships in exciting new markets including Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Australia. — Read more via Tech Nation