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.

Tuesday – 29/09/2020

UK Automotive launches Safe Harbour scheme to secure supply chain and save jobs

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has announced a new scheme aimed at saving jobs across the UK automotive industry.

Under the Safe Harbour Scheme, multiple companies will be allowed to come together to support critical suppliers without falling foul of anti-competition rules. — Read more via SMMT

New Covid-19 support measures will save thousands of jobs in the metalforming sector

The Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) says Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new COVID-19 support measures will save thousands of jobs in the metalforming sector.

The industry body says initiatives like the new Job Support Scheme will allows its members to “look at new revenue streams, whilst providing flexibility to get people back into work at reduced hours.” — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK’s first Protector RG Mk1 successfully completes first flight

The UK’s Protector programme has taken another step forward, with the Ministry of Defence announcing that the first Protector RG Mk1 aircraft has successfully completed its first flight after coming off the production line.

This latest milestone follows an announcement in July that the first three aircraft were being manufactured following the award by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) of a £65 million contract to General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI). — Read more via Ministry of Defence

Digital Skills project launched to protect thousands of West Midlands manufacturing jobs at risk from COVID-19

A major new scheme to help people and manufacturers embrace the digital revolution has been launched in the West Midlands, one of the main aims of which is to protect thousands of ‘at risk’ jobs from the impact of COVID-19.

To date, more than 2000 people from across the West Midlands have signed up to a new digital skills project funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). — Read more via The Manufacturer

How opportunities for honouring Teesside’s steel making legacy will be fully explored

Finally today, a great insight from Teesside historian Dr Tosh Warwick into how the area’s steel making heritage can be captured so it remains accessible to future generations. — Read more via Teesside Live


Monday – 28/09/2020

Huge increase in UK Personal Protective Equipment production

The UK Government has confirmed that health and social care workers treating COVID-19 patients have access to an uninterrupted supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). With robust and resilient supply chains in place, PPE can continuously flow to the frontline where it’s needed.

Furthermore, almost 75% of expected demand for PPE will be met by UK manufacturers from December. — Read more via GOV.UK

Jobs boost cleared for take-off as Boeing touches down in Renfrew

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) has announced that Boeing will use a unit at Westway Park, in Renfrew, to carry out a £12m research and development programme.

The deal will see the company work with the University of Strathclyde on research into state-of-the-art engineering and look for new ways to reduce the environmental impact of construction. The deal will provide a welcome boost for the local economy, adding high-skilled, high-value jobs. — Read more via The Gazette

ADL welcomes Scottish Government support for 35 new electric buses

Sticking with Scotland, the Scottish Government has awarded £7.4m through the first round of the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme. Of the 41 ultra-low emission buses that will be supported as part of the initiative, 35 will be built in Scotland, supporting jobs and the wider Scottish supply chain. — Read more via Transport Scotland

Just nine orders for commercial aircraft placed globally last month, making it worst August ever

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the airline industry shows no sign of abating, with just nine orders for commercial aircraft placed globally last month. This represents a 59% drop on a year ago, industry body ADS said, and a 92% drop on 2018, making it the worst August ever for the industry. — Read more via This is Money

3DPRINTUK completes its £1m expansion plan and becomes the first bureau in the UK to launch HP MJF 5210

3DPRINTUK, a service provider of polymer powder bed fusion (PBF) 3D printing processes for manufacturing applications, has just announced the acquisition and installation of the latest MultiJet Fusion (MJF) system from HP distributor Matsuura. This is the culmination of a £1m strategic expansion plan by 3DPRINTUK to grow its 3D printing services at its London facility. — Read more via 3DPRINTUK


Friday – 25/09/2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils the Winter Economy Plan

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today unveiled the government’s Winter Economy Plan, which will see the current Furlough Scheme end on 31st October and be replaced with the Job Support Scheme.

The Job Support Scheme will come into play from November 1st and should bring some welcomed relief for UK manufacturers. The scheme is designed to protect against job losses for businesses being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Ford engine factory in South Wales closes after 40 years

Ford’s Bridgend facility is shutting down production after 40 years, a reality that will impact the site’s 1,644 workers.

While most of the Ford employees have opted to be retrained, 236 will retire or take severance, while 362 have found new employment or started a business. — Read more via BBC News

Airbus reveals new zero-emission concept aircraft

Airbus has three new zero-emissions concept aircrafts that could be in commercial use by 2035, reaffirming the aerospace giant’s commitment to leading the way in decarbonising the aviation industry. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Automotive industry largest user of robots in UK – report

The new World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots report presented by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) shows a record 21,700 industrial robots operating in UK factories, and it’s the automotive industry that uses the most, accounting for 52% of the total.

The plastics and chemical industry was the second largest user of industrial robots. — Read more via the International Federation of Robotics

ZeroAvia completes world first hydrogen-electric passenger plane flight

ZeroAvia has completed a world first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. The flight took place yesterday at the company’s R&D facility in Cranfield, England, with the Piper M-class six-seat plane completing taxi, takeoff, a full pattern circuit, and landing. — Read more via the The Telegraph


Thursday – 24/09/2020

New sensor tech trialled to make UK industry more efficient

Liberty Steel and Shiftec, two members of the sustainable industry leader GFG Alliance, are collaborating to deploy sensor technology that can enhance safety and improve efficiency at industrial sites.

Under the two-year project, Shiftec will test and pilot its Aquila system, which uses a system similar to GPS to track the precise position of people, equipment and vehicles around factories in real time. The system can help reduce workplace accidents, enhance the efficiency of movement and can integrate with Shiftec’s network solution to enable equipment to be controlled remotely.

The £10m programme is being funded by Innovate UK through its Manufacturing Made Smarter Challenge. — Read more via PES Media

GKN starts shipping engine components from Malaysia facility

GKN Aerospace has shipped the first aero-engine components from its facility in Johor, Malaysia. The CFM56 low-pressure compressor components have been delivered to an Asian engine MRO service provider.

The Johor site employs approximately 70 people and will be the GKN Aerospace Repair Centre for customers in the APAC region. — Read more via Aerospace Manufacturing

81% of manufactures agree modern IT accelerates productivity, innovation and growth

According to a new report from Riverbed Technology, 81% of business decision makers in manufacturing companies are convinced that IT infrastructure plays a crucial role in enabling their organisations to be innovative, creative, and productive. And, when limited, IT infrastructure inhibits these three success factors enormously (83%). — Read the full report via Riverbed

Grid companies eye UK-Dutch offshore wind power link

While Britain already has sub-sea electricity interconnectors linking to France, Ireland and an existing link with the Netherlands, British and Dutch grid operators will explore the feasibility of building an electricity interconnector between the two countries to link offshore wind assets to increase supply options as older coal and nuclear plants close.

If successful, TenneT and National Grid said the project could be operational by 2029. It would add 2 gigawatts (GW) of interconnection capacity between the two countries, they said. — Read more via ET EnergyWorld

BMW expands battery-manufacturing capacity

BMW is to further expand its Germany-based production capacity for electric drive systems. The company has announced that from 2021, its Leipzig plant will produce battery modules for its vehicles, and by 2022, it will have invested €100m (£91.75m) into the site to prepare for increasing sales of EVs.

BMW builds the i3 battery-powered hatchback at the plant. — Read more via Automotive News Europe


Wednesday – 23/09/2020

These are the main takeaways from Tesla Battery Day: $25k EV, cobalt-free batteries & more

Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting and much-hyped Battery Day event finished a few hours ago. It was a quirky affair to say the least, with those in attendance all sat in Tesla cars in a giant parking lot.

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, and Drew Baglino, SVP of powertrain and energy engineering, dropped some pretty big announcements, including a new tabless battery design, the Model S Plaid, cobalt-free batteries, a new cathode plant, and a $25,000 EV. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Manufacturers collaborate on trailblazing helicopter project

Cornish and Staffordshire firms are collaborating on a trailblazing new luxury helicopter project described as an “Elon Musk-style” disrupter for the aviation business.

Composite Integration, based in Saltash near Plymouth, and Hill Helicopters in Staffordshire, will collaborate on the HX50, a 5-seat, turbine-powered, 500-horsepower rotorcraft. — Read more via Aerospace Manufacturing

Free event to help businesses in Cumbria

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership is holding a free online event online today, between 2pm and 3pm, to help businesses in the area connect with the digital tools they need to help grow.

The free event, titled “An Introduction to Made Smarter”, is designed to help explain the two-year national scheme, which is designed to help the UK’s manufacturing industries prosper through digital tools and innovation. Register for the event here.

UK manufacturing orders stall for first time since April

The UK’s manufacturing industry saw orders stagnate in September for the first time since April as companies faced “headwinds from a resurgence of the virus”, a new survey has shown.

However, manufacturing output volumes fell at a slower pace than in August, the latest CBI industrial trends survey said. — Read more via CityAM

Airbus looks to the future with hydrogen planes

Aerospace giant Airbus has unveiled plans for what it hailed as the first commercial zero-emission aircraft. The company said its hydrogen-fuelled passenger planes could be in service by 2035. — Read more via BBC News