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 – 05/03/2021

Budget reaction: Finally, manufacturers have a reason to invest

The Manufacturer deputy editor, Tom Lane, looks at how the super-deduction capital allowance announced in yesterday’s budget could be just what UK manufacturers have been asking for.

Will we now see manufacturers splurging on new capital equipment? — Read more via The Manufacturer

Digital supply chain visibility needed to rebuild after COVID-19: WMG and Blue Yonder warn manufacturers

Manufacturers must unlock supply chain visibility to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic, WMG and Blue Yonder are warning.

The warning comes as a result of WMG research conducted in with almost 250 manufacturing companies revealing that lack of visibility and workforce issues are creating the biggest supply chain bottlenecks. — Read more via University Of Warwick

Cheshire packaging manufacturer snapped up by European giant

A Cheshire-based specialty bag maker has been sold to a European manufacturing giant.

Widnes-based Initial Packaging Solutions, which specialises in the production of tamper evident bags for use in the mailing and courier, e-commerce, finance and diagnostics industries, has been acquired by Coveris, which manufactures packaging for major brands and operates 27 sites across Europe with 4,300 employees. — Read more via Packaging News

Welding starts at Hitachi Rail in new focus for Durham factory

Welding and painting work has started at the Hitachi Rail factory in Durham after a re-organisation of how the factory works.

An £8.5m investment has created bespoke welding and painting facilities at the Newton Aycliffe plant, though 250 jobs were lost as part of the same re-organisation as the plant struggled to win orders in Europe.

The new facilities will be used to build the next generation of intercity trains for East Midlands Railway and Avanti West Coast. Around 40 staff and newly graduated welders and painters will be completing the high-tech aluminium carriage shells. — Read more via Business Live

TfL and Siemens Mobility unveil new Piccadilly line tube train designs

Transport for London (TfL) and Siemens Mobility have unveiled the detailed design of the new generation Tube trains for the Piccadilly line, which will soon be in production to replace the existing 1970s fleet.

Despite the devastating impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on its finances, TfL is continuing to replace these assets, meaning that from 2025, new spacious ‘Inspiro London’ trains will serve customers on the Piccadilly line, future-proofed to ensure they are suitable for many years to come. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 04/03/2021

Budget 2021: What you need to know

Chancellor Rishi Sunka has delivered his budget. Key points of interest for the manufacturing industry include:

  • Furlough scheme extended until the end of September.
  • Job retention scheme extended until the end of September.
  • Corporation tax to rise to 25%.
  • A new ‘super’ tax deduction for companies investing in plant and machinery.
  • Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
  • Extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England to September 2021 and an increase of payment to £3,000.
  • £7m for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector.
  • The £375m UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ will invest in highly innovative companies such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech.
  • A new Help to Grow scheme to offer up to 130,000 companies across the UK a digital and management boost.
  • Launching a review of Research & Development tax reliefs to make sure the UK remains a competitive location for cutting-edge research. — Read more via GOV.UK

Siemens Mobility unveil designs of Tube trains to be built at Goole

Designs for new state-of-the-art trains for the London Underground being built in East Yorkshire are being unveiled today.

Siemens Mobility will be showcasing the progress being made through its £200m investment in a new rail manufacturing site in Goole to build the new Piccadilly line Tube trains.

The facility will create up to 700 direct jobs, with a further 250 roles during the construction phase and an additional 1,700 indirect supply chain opportunities. — Read more via The Press

Look out for more on this unveiling in tomorrow’s Daily Manufacturing Digest.

Renishaw founders seek buyer for $7bn engineering firm

Renishaw Plc is putting itself up for sale after the two founders of the almost 50-year-old British engineering firm said they wanted to sell their combined majority shareholdings.

Executive Chairman David McMurtry and Deputy Chairman John Deer, who together own about 53% of the company, told the board they prefer to shed their stakes entirely, Renishaw said in a statement Tuesday. Shares of the Gloucestershire-based firm soared as much as 20%, valuing the company at 5.05bn pounds ($7bn). — Read more via Bloomberg

Make UK partners with SGS to offer customs brokerage service

Make UK has launched a partnership with leading certification company SGS to offer a simple customs brokerage service to help companies fill in complex customs declarations correctly to clear their goods for import and exports.

Since the start of the year, all shipments to and from the UK have required a customs declaration, with many companies struggling to ensure that their goods continue to arrive at their destination on time.

Many businesses have found the forms difficult to complete and have been struggling to find a customs agent to take on the job for them. 97% of UK manufacturers who export, do so to the EU and over the past decades, filling in customs declarations has been completely unnecessary because the UK was part of the EU Single Market and Customs Union. — Read more via Make UK

Unilever Warrington factory up for sale after site’s closure

The former Unilever Warrington factory has been put up for sale.

Commercial real estate agent CBRE has brought the 6.72 acre site, which closed in October after more than 130 years, to the market.

Its listing states that the freehold is available for a ‘development opportunity’, subject to planning permission being obtained.

Around 125 workers were employed at the historic Crosfields site, where Unilever’s Persil and Surf washing powders were made, before its closure. — Read more via Warrington Guardian

Wednesday – 03/03/2021

What we might see in the 2021 budget

Chancellor Rushi Sunak will deliver this year’s Budget speech at around 12:30 GMT today. But what can we expect?

The Manufacturer deputy editor Tom Lane looks at what we might see from the Chancellor later. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tesla Inc. could build factory in Somerset, with UK government “considering and looking” at potential site

Tesla Inc. has government support to construct a huge ‘gigafactory’ in south-west England to build electric cars and batteries.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said today he believes Somerset “has the manufacturing skill and competence to be able to sustain an excellent gigafactory”, adding that the government is “considering and looking” at a site in the county.

This follows media speculation last year that the Elon Musk-run electric vehicle manufacturer could build a 90-acre factory in Somerset. — Read more via Proactive Investors

Wrexham Wire factory where 80 workers made redundant is sold – with £2m plan for site

The former Wrexham Wire factory where more than 80 workers were made redundant last year has been sold.

Prime Property has acquired the factory and premises on Ash Road North on behalf of retained clients.

The project has been named Wire 81, acknowledging its previous use and the size of the accommodation available, which is 81,580 sq ft in total.

Prime acquired the property out of receivership and is commencing a £2million refurbishment programme which is expected to complete by the end of Q2 2021. — Read more via Business Live

UK factory production slows amid Brexit and Covid disruption

The upturn of the UK manufacturing sector was constrained by supply-chain disruption and rising cost pressure in February, keeping output growth only marginal despite a modest improvement in new order intakes, according to the latest snapshot from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) rose to 55.1 in February, up from 54.1 in January and above the flash estimate of 54.9. The PMI has signalled growth for nine months in a row. — Read more via IHS Markit

Stellantis expects UK Ellesmere Port “binding commitment”

Stellantis says it expects a “binding commitment” from the UK government in the near future, concerning its North West England Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port.

The factory in North West England produces the current Astra model, but Vauxhall parent company, Stellantis, has yet to decide on whether to make the next generation model at the Ellesmere Port plant.

The plant employs around 1,000 people directly and has been operating on a single shift in recent years. — Read more via just-auto

Tuesday – 02/03/2021

Britishvolt builds momentum on plans to create 3,000 jobs in Northumberland

Plans for a ‘gigafactory’ that is hoped will being 3,000 jobs to the North East have taken a step forward after detailed plans for the scheme were lodged.

Electric vehicle battery firm Britishvolt has submitted a planning application with Northumberland County Council for the scheme on the site of the former Blyth Power Station. It is hoped that the scheme could ultimately create 8,000 new jobs at the plant and its supply chain.

The company says it is detailed talks with some of the world’s largest car manufacturers and is well on track to raise the funding needed to make the plant a reality. — Read more via Chronicle Live

Missile manufacturer owned by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo to create 500 UK jobs in 2021

A UK missile manufacturer with a large base in Bristol has announced plans to hire 500 staff in Britain in 2021.

Defence company MBDA, which is jointly owned by Airbus (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%) and Leonardo (25%), employs more than 4,500 in the UK. It also has sites in Bolton and Stevenage.

Jobs on offer include software and systems engineering roles, as well as manufacturing, commercial, customer support, project management and procurement. MBDA says there will be a mixture of apprenticeship and graduate positions, as well as roles for experienced professionals. — Read more via Business Live

Pukka Pies set to invest £4.5m in Syston HQ and marketing plans

Pukka Pies is planning to invest £4.5m in its Leicestershire factory in Syston to enhance its manufacturing capacity and product marketing.

The news comes as latest figures show the impact of the pandemic on sales. Turnover for the year to May 25 last year – the latest official figures – was marginally up on the previous 12 months at £53.1 million. — Read more via Leicestershire Live

Scottish steel firm J & D Pierce to create 100 jobs

Scottish steelwork specialist J & D Pierce expects to create about 100 jobs in late 2021 after buying out the former Konecranes factory in South Lanarkshire.

J & D Pierce has agreed to purchase the 300,000 square foot plant along with 14 acres of yard space.

Recruitment will soon take place for both manufacturing and office staff. — Read more via The Herald

FourJaw ‘plug and play’ technology supported by venture capital communities

A tech spin-out whose cloud based data capture and analysis technology is unlocking five-fold increases in manufacturing productivity in the North of England has secured a significant six-figure investment from a combined angel and venture capital syndicate, valuing the company at £2m. — Read more via The Manufacturer

West Sussex diesel outboard engine manufacturer secures £12m to boost production

A West Sussex diesel outboard engine manufacturer has secured funding worth £12m to help expand and ramp up production of its market-revolutionising CXO300 outboard engine.

Cox Powertrain, which is based in Shoreham-by-Sea, successfully raised £9m from existing shareholders and a further £3m loan from HSBC UK Equipment Finance. — Read more via The Maritime Executive

Monday – 01/03/2021

Yorkshire steel group agrees £12m deal for Humber manufacturing acquisition

Yorkshire-based Severfield, a structural steel group, has announced that it has agreed on a £12m deal for the acquisition of Humber manufacturing company DAM Structures.

Severfield has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the share capital of DAM Structures, a steel fabrication company, for £12m on completion, with a deferred consideration of £7m. Severfield says it hopes to win more HS2 work and enter new markets after the acquisition. — Read more via Bdaily News

BAE Systems: Lancashire engineering firm hopes new Typhoon jet order will drive growth

Lancashire-based aerospace engineers BAE Systems hopes a new order of Typhoon fighter jets will drive another year of growth.

This comes after the Samlesbury manufacturer reported higher sales for the last year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

BAE Systems, which supplies the British, American and Saudi Arabian militaries, said it delivered a 2 per cent increase in earnings per share for the past year and that sales to £20.86 billion in 2020, up from £20.11 billion in the previous full year. — Read more via Lancashire Telegraph

Hindujas join SPAC boom with float of $2bn electric bus-maker Switch

Britain’s second-richest family is exploring plans to join a wave of “blank cheque” mergers in a move that could see another major UK electric vehicle manufacturer going public in the US.

Sky News has learnt that Ashok Leyland, the Indian-listed group controlled by the Hindujas, is working with bankers on a potential merger of Switch Mobility with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) in New York.

The plans, which are at an early stage, could see Switch Mobility valued at between $1.5bn and $2bn, according to analysts and banking sources. — Read more via Sky News

Tech giants are moving in on the electric car industry

Foxconn and Fisker, Apple and Hyundai, Huawei and…? Tech giants are increasingly being named, or rumoured, in partnerships with automakers, underlining a transformation in the auto industry that accompanies the shift to electric vehicles.

The transition to electric cars will undoubtedly represent the biggest shift in transport technology since the introduction of the internal combustion engine, but it is not only drivetrains – the machinations that underpin a car’s ability to move – that are undergoing a transformation. — Read more via The Driven

Welshpool manufacturers get go–ahead to expand offices

Welshpool packaging manufacturer Wipak has been given planning permission to build Covid-friendly office accommodation at its Buttington Cross site.

The company, which is currently going ahead with a major £5 million investment, creating 50 new jobs in Welshpool, was given the green light to add a Portakabin to its site by planners last week.

The plans will see an additional modular building placed on the company’s property, for an initial 18-month period. — Read more via Powys County Times