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.

Wednesday – 28/07/2021

New £53m funding for UK manufacturers to boost competitiveness through digital tech

Five brand new digital manufacturing research centres and projects to help supply chains become more productive are among recipients of £53m of new government funding to drive the development of the latest digital manufacturing technologies, Investment Minister Lord Grimstone announced yesterday.

The funding has been awarded though the national Made Smarter programme, a collaboration between UK government and industry designed to support the development and increase use of these emerging technologies. Adoption of the latest data-driven innovations, such as use of AI and blockchain in supply chains, or advanced robotics and smart machines in manufacturing, will help manufacturers to increase productivity, become more sustainable and build back better from the pandemic.

Nearly £25m will be invested in five new industry-sponsored research centres set up around the UK, including at the University of Strathclyde and University of Nottingham, to accelerate the development of cutting-edge digital solutions that can transform manufacturing businesses across many sectors.

Based in universities throughout the UK, they will help to make supply chains faster, more efficient, and more resilient. Each centre will focus on a different area of manufacturing and include. — Read more via GOV UK

Adoption of 5G could boost UK manufacturing by over £6bn by 2030

Investment in 5G technologies in UK manufacturing could boost the sector by £6.3bn by 2030, transforming operations and significantly increasing productivity, a new report shows.

According to the report from Vodafone, the adoption of 5G in the manufacturing industry could play a significant role in realising the government’s “levelling up” ambitions, especially in the North West, North East, East and West Midlands and Wales. — Read more via Vodafone

UK battery manufacturing insufficient to support automotive industry’s transition to EVs, meet net-zero commitment – report

If UK battery manufacturing continues on its current trajectory, it will be insufficient to support the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles or to meet our net-zero commitment, a new House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report shows.

Despite recent announcements of UK gigafactories, the pace and scale of building these facilities will not meet demand for batteries, and automotive manufacturing will most likely move overseas, the report warns.

If the UK is to compete globally, it needs to support access to critical raw materials for battery manufacture and build more battery factories in the face of strong international competition for resources and finance. — Read more via Science and Technology Select Committee

Rise in Daventry jobs thanks to bakery manufacturer’s long-term investment plans

Baker & Baker, a specialist European-wide bakery products manufacturer, is seeking to hire around 30 factory-based employees to work either day or night shifts on a permanent basis.

The business has invested heavily in its Daventry site in recent years – to the tune of around £4.5m – with a raft of new equipment including a packaging floor with three additional packing lines and a specialised chocolate tempering machine – to support new contracts for both own label lines and retailer products. — Read more via Daventry Express

UK announces £132m of new investments in Kenya to help build new green affordable homes, connect households to clean energy, boost manufacturing

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday welcomed Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to Mansion House in London to announce £132m of new UK investment in Kenya. He also launched the Nairobi International Financial Centre and its formal partnership with the City of London.

This £132m package of new UK-Kenya deals from the UK government and British firms will support investment in the region, including building new green affordable homes, connecting households to clean energy and boosting manufacturing.

This package of investments will create new jobs and unlock new opportunities for UK and Kenyan businesses by strengthening the relationship between Nairobi and the City of London. — Read more via GOV UK

Tuesday – 27/07/2021

Top 20 global carmakers spend another £71.7bn on R&D as electric vehicle rollout gathers pace

The world’s top 20 car manufacturers* spent £71.7 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2019-20 as the rollout of electric vehicle (EV) ranges gathers pace, according to new research** by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

BDO’s research shows the top 20 manufacturers have collectively invested £341 billion in R&D over the past five years as they race to develop electric vehicles and meet carbon targets.

The amount spent on R&D in the past year is the second-highest on record (see graph below) – lower only to the previous year’s £71.9bn total. BDO says R&D investment in this area is likely to now level off because for most car manufacturers the research work for this generation of EVs is now largely complete and they are focused on bringing fully-electric ranges to market. — Read more via BDO UK

Critical aviation jobs at risk due to pandemic, industry study warns

A new report highlights how critical aviation jobs are to every community and constituency in the country but how they remain at risk due to the pandemic.

Commissioned by trade body Airlines UK alongside Heathrow, Manchester Airports Group and Tui, the study shows that the industry supported more than 536,000 direct jobs across every region of the UK prior to the Covid-19 crisis.

The numbers exclude those in jobs that would not exist without aviation such as airport retail, hotels or tourism, so the overall jobs impact will be even higher.

Pre-pandemic, more a quarter of all constituencies had more than 1,000 people employed in aviation jobs. — Read more via Travel Weekly

Exclusive first look inside the UK’s Digital Manufacturing Centre

This week, the UK’s Digital Manufacturing Centre officially opens its doors at Silverstone Park.

TCT was invited to take an exclusive first look inside with founder Kieron Salter who provided a tour of the facility’s 3D printing and advanced manufacturing capabilities, set within the heart of the Silverstone Technology Cluster and its roaring motorsport track. Watch more via YouTube: 

South Tyneside manufacturer rides on the crest of a wave with major contract wins

South Tyneside-based Metec UK has won a series of offshore renewables contracts worth over £6.5 million to supply the Dogger Bank Wind Farm phases A and B, and a second offshore substation in France amongst others.

Metec UK manufactures sacrificial anodes for the long-term protection of steel jackets and foundations against corrosion used in the offshore renewable energy industry. — Read more via Bdaily News

Cranswick to invest extra £5m in Hull to boost cooked bacon plant

Leading UK food producer Cranswick is to plough an extra £5m into its Hull cooked bacon plant as it continues to ramp up investments across the group.

The FTSE-listed sausage and bacon specialist posted a trading update for the 13 weeks to June 26, saying revenue is tracking 9.6% ahead of the same period last year, reflecting strong retail demand and increased sales from its Eye poultry facility.

The company said it is still on track to meet expectations, boosted by the strong demand for its poultry. Far East export sales in the three months to the end of June were “well ahead” of where they were in the same period last year when China was in lockdown over Covid-19. — Read more via Business Live

Monday – 26/07/2021

Minister’s visit brings great news for GKN

A government minister used a visit to GKN Aerospace’s site in East Cowes yesterday to announce a multi-million pound contract which will secure jobs on the Island.

Defence Minister, Jeremy Quin, led a delegation of military VIPs to see the hi-tech facilities where key parts of the cutting-edge RAF Protector are manufactured. The total contract for the 16 aircraft is worth £195m and, although the value of GKN’s element of the work will not be made public, it runs into millions of pounds.

Protector is a remotely piloted aircraft that will be equipped with surveillance equipment and precision strike weapons that can be deployed around the globe, all operated from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. — Read more via Isle of Wight Observer

Aircraft orders show signs of recovery with deliveries remaining slow

Figures for global aircraft orders and deliveries in the first half of 2021 showed a mixed picture. June delivered a substantial boost to the year to date, as customers placed 292 aircraft orders, taking the total for 2021 to 764.

However, most orders placed in June owed to customers changing preferences to the type of aircraft on order. Combined with just 453 deliveries January to June 2021, down from more than 600 every year 2013 to 2019, the rise in the overall order backlog of 12,866 orders is limited.

Single-aisle aircraft remain more popular than wide body, accounting for 88 per cent of all orders in the first half of 2021 as domestic travel and demand for single-aisle planes continue to drive the slow recovery of the aerospace sector. However, the 90 wide-body aircraft ordered in the first half of 2021 hold a similar value to UK industry as the 674 single-aisles, each worth around £4.5bn. — Read more via ADS Advance

Surge in domestic sales reported by West Yorkshire firms

Calderdale firms are reporting a surge in domestic sales activities as pent-up demand is unleashed following the relaxing of restrictions.

The Quarterly Economic Report, created in partnership between the Mid Yorkshire and West & North Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), shows that while international sales remain subdued for many, stronger forward orders are helping to reduce the impact of these challenges.

The report also reveals that 50% of manufacturers and 40% of services businesses have seen increased recruitment activity in the last quarter.

The number of companies looking to grow their headcount next quarter is also back to pre-Covid levels. — Read more via Halifax Courier

More than 400 jobs on offer at Sunderland’s Nissan plant as car firm looks to boost its workforce

Nissan is on the look out for more than 400 new staff to add to its production lines at its Sunderland car factory.

The firm has launched a recruitment drive to boost its manufacturing staff, with both permanent and temporary contracts being offered.

They are now open to applications as the company looks to add to its “world-class manufacturing team” with the new starters to be tasked with helping the plant turn out vehicles to be exported across the globe.

It says with the all-new Qashqai in production and the recent announcement it would be creating the EV36Zero battery plant next to its existing factory, which is set to bring more than 1,600 jobs to the area and also bring in an estimated 4,500 further roles in the supply chain, there has never been a better time to sign up. — Read more via Hartlepool Mail

Taxpayers to face £372bn Covid bill and counting

Brits will be paying back hundreds of billions of pounds to cover the cost of Covid for decades to come, key MPs have warned.

Two new reports are also suggesting that an inquiry into the pandemic will not come quickly enough to learn the necessary lessons.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hammered the Government’s spending on unusable personal protective equipment (PPE) in the research published on Sunday.

It also warned that the estimated cost of Government measures has also topped £372bn – and climbing – adding that taxpayers will be exposed to ‘significant financial risks for decades to come’. — Read more via Metro

Friday – 23/07/2021

Government announces £22bn ‘Innovation Strategy’

The UK Government has today announced a new ‘Innovation Strategy’. This new plan to boost private sector investment is designed to make the UK a world leader in science, research and innovation.

The government claim that the experience of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of investment in science.

The plan will focus on supporting businesses and institutions in key areas. These include fuelling businesses who want to innovate, ensuring they have access to private and public investment, ensuring R&D institutions serve the needs of businesses, as well as stimulating innovation and technology missions that will provide the UK with a strategic advantage.

The government are planning to increase annual public investment on R&D to a record £22bn. — Read more via The Manufacturer

North West England primed to become advanced manufacturing hub with new government funding

A UK consortium has secured £22.6m funding for a 5-year innovation initiative, the first for the Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI), which will be based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

The University of Manchester will take a key role alongside the National Physical Laborartory (NPL) other partners to stimulate and support the rapid growth of the UK’s machinery manufacturing sector as it transitions to highly integrated digital solutions with sophisticated automated and autonomous robotic systems. It will enable invention, realise innovation, and increase the adoption of new machinery and robotics through UK equipment manufacturers. — Read more via The University of Manchester

£195m contract signed for 13 additional RAF Protectors

A £195m contract for a further 13 cutting-edge Protector aircraft has been signed. Defence Minister Jeremy Quin announced the new contract during a visit to GKN Aerospace, who are manufacturing key parts of aircraft on the Isle of Wight.

Protector is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System that will provide critical surveillance capability for the RAF and will be equipped with a suite of surveillance equipment and precision strike weapons to deploy against potential adversaries around the globe, all while being operated from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

16 aircraft have now been ordered from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc and are expected to enter service with the RAF by mid-2024, doubling the capability currently provided by Reaper. The investment also includes four additional ground control stations and associated support equipment. — Read more via Royal Air Force

Record output growth for manufacturers, but cost pressures & supply concerns loom large

A Confederation of British Industry (CBI)  survey of 250 manufacturing businesses reported output increasing in 16 out of 17 sub-sectors, led by the motor vehicles & transport equipment and food, drink & tobacco sub-sectors.

Manufacturers expect output to grow at an even quicker pace in the next three months – the strongest growth expectations on record.

Furthermore, total new orders grew at their quickest pace since 1974. This reflected domestic orders expanding at their fastest rate on record (since 1975), and the first rise in export orders since January 2019.

Meanwhile, numbers employed in the sector grew at their fastest pace since 1973, and are expected to increase at a slightly faster rate in the next three months. — Read more via CBI

Bingham: Langar-based Interflex announces completion of management buyout

An automotive parts manufacturer in Nottinghamshire has announced the successful completion of a management buyout 18 months after the appointment of a new managing director.

The management buyout at Interflex in Langar is part of an ongoing expansion plan that has seen the company introduce new products as well as investing in new equipment and diversifying into other areas of manufacturing such as face masks. — Read more via Newark Advertiser

Thursday – 22/07/2021

MICG secures £18.27m investment for advanced ceramics manufacturing

The Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group (MICG) has secured £18.27m in government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF), to put the area firmly on the map as a global centre for advanced ceramics.

Thousands of jobs are set to be created in the Midlands after the region’s bid to become a world-leader in advanced ceramics received the significant cash boost.

The funds will be used to create a world-leading industrial and academic research and development programme over the next four years, creating a cluster of new businesses in the Midlands and strengthening the supply chain in the region. — Read more via The Manufacturer

GKN Automotive accelerating advanced development of next-generation 800v systems for EVs

GKN Automotive is accelerating its development of next generation eDrive technologies in response to the rapidly increasing global demand for electrified vehicles.

These future systems, utilising and harnessing state-of-the-art 800V technologies, are already at advanced stages of development and being tested in real-world conditions. GKN Automotive’s global experts are now working with the world’s leading automotive manufacturers to make these advanced eDrive systems a production reality.

Future eDrive technologies, using 800V technology, promise many benefits for EV owners including faster charging times and superior performance. The greater systems efficiencies they bring will also lead to an increased driving range – currently a key obstacle for consumers wanting to make the switch to a battery electric car. Efficiencies could also lead to car makers opting to use smaller batteries, reducing vehicle cost, complexity, and weight. — Read more via GKN Automotive

New plan to put more Welsh food on retailers’ shelves

A new plan to help Welsh food companies get their products on the shelves of major retailers is being launched by the Welsh government.

The Food and Drink Wales Retail Plan aims to see the turnover value for the Welsh food and drink industry grow proportionally more than the UK as a whole.

It has eight key objectives including creating a stream of new entrepreneurial food and drink businesses.

It also seeks to accelerate the growth of companies with a turnover of more than £10m in the retail sector. — Read more via Farming UK

LIBERTY Steel Newport extends successful business turnaround

LIBERTY Steel’s Newport mill continues to make significant progress, achieving its best financial results for the first quarter, with the outlook for the second quarter looking even stronger. The business improved profitability last year despite challenging market conditions caused by Covid-19.

LIBERTY Steel Newport manufactures hot rolled coil (HRC) for use in the UK manufacturing and construction sectors.

Strong sales along with a much-improved operational performance have put the business on a profitable footing. LIBERTY Steel invested just over £2 million last year in modernising the Newport plant and this has continued with £1.1 million spent in the first three months of this year. Investments include new gas furnace software and controls to lower gas consumption and reduce the plant’s carbon footprint. — Read more via LIBERTY Steel

Ford and MS-RT announce £4m facility at Ford Dagenham

Ford and MS-RT, the design-led automotive engineering company, have announced they will create a new £4m facility at Ford Dagenham. This move will only strengthen an already strong relationship with Ford as they work together to create specialised Ford Vehicles.

This investment has the potential to create over 120 jobs when the factory is fully functional, allowing Ford to provide a great employment boost in one of the UK’s most deprived areas. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Wednesday – 21/07/2021

Recruitment to follow £4m investment in factory

German-owned sustainable engineering firm thyssenkrupp Materials UK could triple its workforce in Cradley Heath over the next three years.

It invested £4 million in the new facility at Cradley Heath in July last year to house its fabrications services, which produce tailored aluminium and stainless steel products for customers across the construction, architecture and engineering industries.

Additional investment is planned for the site, predominantly to install the latest cutting technologies – such as new saws and CNC machines.

The firm currently has 30 employees who work across the machining and assembly lines while developing new projects at the same time. There is potential for the company to triple its workforce in the next three years, creating opportunities for 24-hour production across the factory. — Read more via Express & Star

UK’s specialist vehicle sector most varied in the world – SMMT

The UK’s low volume and specialist vehicle manufacturing sector is the most diverse anywhere in the world, producing a wide variety of products, according to a new report launched today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT’s Low Volume and Specialist Vehicle Manufacturers Report outlines how Britain is a world leader in producing low volume, high value vehicles, everything from 250mph hypercars to campervans, limousines to electric taxis, motorhomes, wheelchair accessible vehicles, hearses and an unrivalled range of high performance, sports and luxury models. — Read more via SMMT

South West first for out of this world apprenticeship

The development of the South West’s first Space Engineering Technician apprenticeship has been announced by Truro & Penwith College at a special event attended by dignitaries and VIPs.

The ground-breaking apprenticeship was revealed at the launch of Truro and Penwith College’s Cornwall Space and Aerospace Technology Training (CSATT), which is being delivered through the ESF part-funded SS HLS project.

CSATT is developing the apprenticeship along with new short courses that will boost Cornwall’s £1bn Space and Aerospace sector. — Read more via Truro & Penwith College

Funding for movable overhead electrification aims to eliminate the need for diesel shunting locomotives

A prototype electrified rail freight terminal in Dunbar is one of 30 projects to have received funding from Innovate UK and the Department for Transport as part of the First of a Kind 2021 rail innovation competition.

Engineering firm, Furrer+Frey GB, will use the funding to develop an overhead conductor system specifically designed for UK freight terminals, which currently rely on diesel shunters.

Tarmac will host the development and trialling of the concept at their cement plant in Dunbar on the East Coast Mainline.

Despite many rail freight terminals being next to electrified railways, the overhead cables must stop short of the terminals, so the trains can be loaded and unloaded safely.

All freight terminals in the UK today rely on diesel shunters to move trains into position, which comes with added time, fuel, noise and pollution. — Read more via Dry Cargo International

Babcock and Rolls-Royce plot sale of stakes in RAF Voyager contractor AirTanker

Two of Britain’s biggest manufacturers are hoisting a ‘for sale’ sign over their stakes in AirTanker, the company behind the RAF’s Voyager refuelling fleet.

Sky News has learnt that Babcock International Group and Rolls-Royce Holdings have appointed investment bankers to market their combined shareholding in AirTanker.

City sources said that Babcock and Rolls-Royce had asked Jefferies to kick off a sale process. — Read more via Sky News

Tuesday – 20/07/2021

Industry’s dependence on EU ebbs away – report

Britain’s manufacturers were seeing their dependence on the EU as an export market decline even before the impact of full departure and the agreement of a trade deal, according to analysis of manufacturing performance published today by Make UK and business advisory firm BDO LLP.

The Make UK/BDO Annual Regional Outlook report shows that in 2020 five English regions together with Wales saw their percentage of exports going to the EU fall. In two regions the share stayed the same and only the West Midlands and Scotland saw exports to the EU increase slightly.

According to Make UK this shows that the political uncertainty caused by leaving the EU was beginning to be felt even before the actual departure and the signing of the trade deal at the end of last year. — Read more via Make UK

British Glass publishes industry-wide net zero strategy

British Glass, the representative body for the UK glass sector, in consultation with its members yesterday published a strategy that sets out the glass industries potential route to net zero carbon emissions.

The strategy follows on from the industries decarbonisation roadmap in 2015 in conjunction with BEIS that was based on achieving a reduction of 80% CO2 by 2050. Following the governments agreement to the Paris Agreement, British Glass has worked with members and industry partners to devise a strategy to achieve net zero.

The strategy outlines the options to enable glass manufacturers to reduce combustion and process emissions, as well as improving energy efficiency. It also sets out how glass can support other sectors to decarbonise. — Read more via British Glass

Thirty jobs to be created as Magtec opens new 65,000 sq ft electric vehicle factory in Rotherham

Thirty new engineering jobs are to be created in Rotherham after vehicle manufacturer Magtec announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art factory.

Magtec has commissioned a 65,000 sq ft facility in Rotherham, South Yorkshire to design, manufacture and integration of its drive systems for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The firm said the move was needed to scale up production and meet growing international demand. — Read more via The Yorkshire Post

North East firm Artech Lighting expands into London and Scotland as high profile deals roll in

A County Durham lighting manufacturer has opened new bases in Scotland and London after winning a string of contracts across the UK.

Artech Lighting has launched the new sites after securing a host of new orders throughout the pandemic, while also recruiting lighting experts to head up the two facilities.

Deals the company has won include supplying lighting for the redevelopment of the University of Strathclyde, Sunderland’s new City Hall and a host of exclusive office developments in the centre of London.

The business, which is based in Durham City, has recruited Nathan Thorpe as managing partner of Artech Lighting (London) Ltd and Jack Martin to lead expansion north of the border as managing partner of Artech Lighting (Scotland) Ltd. — Read more via Business Live

Chemicals giant seeks taxpayer cash for hydrogen car parts plant

A FTSE 100 chemicals giant is seeking to win taxpayer backing for a factory to build components for hydrogen-powered cars, in another potential boost for Britain’s car industry.

The Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, met with Johnson Matthey in May about financial support for a plant to make vehicle parts including membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs).

A core component for hydrogen-powered vehicles, the assemblies contain the materials needed to convert hydrogen into electricity to power the vehicle. The only byproduct is water.

Talks with Government officials have since continued and up to £10m of state backing for a UK plant is understood to be on the line, with Johnson Matthey likely to contribute a much larger amount. — Read more via The Telegraph

Monday – 19/07/2021

Government publishes ‘step 4’ COVID-19 guidance for business

The Government has published new guidance for businesses, aimed at increasing understanding of how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the workplace. The guidance applies from Step 4 (19 July onwards) when all COVId-19 restrictions are lifted, including the instruction for employees to work at home if they can, meaning a gradual return to workplaces can be planned.

The Government says, “You should discuss a return to the workplace with workers, and trade unions to make working arrangements that meet both business and individual needs.” — Read more via GOV UK

Bill Gates and George Soros join buyout of UK Covid testing company

Billionaire philanthropists George Soros and Bill Gates are part of a buyout of Bedford based developer of lateral flow tests.

The founder of Microsoft founder joined the Soros Economic Development Fund in a deal to buy Mologic, which has developed 10-minute Covid tests that it aims to make for as little as $1.

The consortium will pump £30m into Mologic to focus on the low-cost development of tropical diseases such as dengue fever and river blindness, taking it on from current owners Foresight Group LLP and Calculus Capital. — Read more via The Telegraph

Audi CEO calls for more EU investment in chip, battery cell production

Europe needs to regain lost ground in microchip production, battery cell manufacturing, software development and other digital competencies, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said.

Building competencies in these areas will help make the region’s auto industry less dependent on complex international supply chains, which have struggled and in some case ground to a halt during the pandemic.

The global semiconductor shortage has wreaked havoc on automakers, Duesmann said.

Audi has faced its own production constraints and would likely continue to do so until 2022. — Read more via Automotive News Europe

Manufacturing industry has one of the lowest gender splits for self employed workers – only 23.6% female

New research from Tide reveals that the Manufacturing industry has the 7th lowest percentage of self employed women in the UK, with only 23.6% of the industry’s self-employed workers being female.

The research analysed government data to discover the industries that are seeing the most (& least) female entrepreneurs. — Read more via Tide

Businesses must be ready to collaborate to unlock true Potential of freeports

Businesses are positive as they await the arrival of Freeports in England– but education and business leaders raise concerns over skills shortages and the need for more collaboration to drive success.

Transatlantic law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) launched its UK Freeports business sentiment report this week, representing the views of over 500 UK businesses in response to the Government’s announcement in March 2021 of the eight Freeport locations across England. The report features reaction and commentary from major organisations such as The British Ports Association, Brittany Ferries, Lloyds Bank, Peak Resources, Wilton Universal Group, Catapult, and further education providers. — Read more via Womble Bond Dickinson

Friday – 16/07/2021

WMG battery vision powers into life with formal launch of UK Battery Industrialisation Centre

Margot James, Executive Chair and Dave Greenwood, Professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems from WMG, at the University of Warwick, were delighted today (15 July 2021), to be invited to the official opening of the UK Battery industrialisation Centre by The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Prime Minister – bringing to reality a vision first set out by WMG in 2016.

The £130m UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) is a pioneering 18,500 square metre state-of-the-art national facility, which has been developed to support UK industry with development of battery technologies for future electrification. — Read more via WMG, University of Warwick

Ball shares plans for can manufacturing facilities in UK and Russia

US-based packaging company Ball has announced plans to build aluminium beverage packaging plants in the UK and Russia.

The company has chosen the SEGRO Park Kettering Gateway site in Kettering, Northamptonshire, for its UK plant. It has submitted a formal application for the project to North Northamptonshire Council.

Construction of the Kettering plant is expected to start this year after public consultation period has been held.

If approved, the plant will be Ball’s third beverage can manufacturing facility in the UK, with the company already operating sites in Milton Keynes and Wakefield.

The plant will manufacture cans for various markets, including hard seltzers, wines, ready-to-drink cocktails and pure and enhanced water brands. — Read more via Packaging Gateway

800 jobs to be created in Leeds as technology firm UtterBerry sets up massive manufacturing and innovation base in the region

A technology giant, responsible for ensuring safety on some of the world’s largest infrastructure projects, is set to create 800 jobs in Leeds.

UtterBerry, a firm whose technology has been used on the likes of the London Underground and the Forth Road Bridge, is to locate its manufacturing and innovation operations to Yorkshire.

The firm produces sensors which monitor in real time the movements of infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels to see if there is any hint of potential displacement, movements or changes in temperature that could pose a problem so that workers and users can be warned in advance. — Read more via Yorkshire Evening Post

UK’s first gas-fired Allam Cycle power plant taking shape

The inventor of the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle, a novel power cycle that uses supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2), is collaborating with a subsidiary of Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries to potentially develop the UK’s first 300-MW natural gas–fired NET Power station at an existing site at Teesside, northeastern England.

Zero Degrees Whitetail Development Ltd. (ZDW), a subsidiary of North Carolina-based 8 Rivers Capital, and Sembcorp subsidiary Sembcorp Energy UK (SEUK) on July 13 said they will collaborate to set up the 300-MW Whitetail Clean Energy NET Power project at SEUK’s Wilton International site. While the companies did not provide a potential start date, 8 Rivers said the project may be the first of “multiple 300-MW facilities in the UK,” and that it could commission a NET Power station in the UK “as soon as 2025.” — Read more via Power

London Space Innovation Centre ventures into its first professional development short course

The London Space Innovation Centre (LSIC), ran its first two-day professional development course on 29th and 30th June 2021.

Dean of the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, Professor Rajkumar Roy, and LSIC’s Managing Director, Ehsan Razavizadeh, welcomed participants to the successful course, titled, Space Launch and Operations Management.

It was delivered by aerospace industry safety veteran, Dr Andy Quinn, and featured a range of guest speakers from academia, government and industry: Paul Cremin (Department for Transport); Luke Winfield (Spaceport Cornwall); Paul Williams (Black Arrow Space); Valentin Canales (B2Space); Federico Toso (Deimos UK); and Shaun D’Mello (Rocket Lab).

The course was aimed at providing attendees with knowledge about spaceports, spaceflight operators, their range (with associated flight safety analysis) and applicable UK regulations and licensing processes. — Read more via City, University of London

Thursday – 15/07/2021

Enable Manufacturing awarded funding to develop zero-emission tailpipe tech for automotive sector

UK based metal 3D printing alternative Enable Manufacturing has received part of a combined £1.48m investment from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to develop the ‘next big thing’ in zero-emission tailpipe technology for cars, buses and heavy-duty vehicles.

The firm was awarded the funds as part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s (APC) Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP) to use its Additive Casting technology to produce lighter and more cost-competitive metal parts for the automotive industry as the UK looks to achieve a net-zero emissions future. — Read more via Enable Manufacturing

Planning application submitted for Coventry EV battery factory

A planning application for a battery gigafactory situated at Coventry Airport has been submitted, with the result set to be decided by Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council later this year.

The plan was submitted by a newly formed joint venture partnership between Coventry City Council and Coventry Airport, which claim the proposals would deliver 5.7-million square feet of space for EV battery production and recycling, adding £434m in gross value to the regional economy. — Read more via Autocar

Lanarkshire construction company creates 20 new jobs at new manufacturing site

A Cambuslang based construction group has created 20 new jobs with the launch of new windows and doors manufacturing facility.

CCG (Scotland) Ltd has launched a new range of PVCu windows and doors in partnership with global supplier, REHAU.

The new product range will be developed using REHAU UK’s fabrication and R&D services, located across the UK, and manufactured by CCG in a brand new, semi-automated manufacturing facility at the group’s headquarters in Cambuslang. — Read more via The Daily Record

WMG collaboration makes crash-resistant glazing on the new Coventry Very Light Rail Vehicle a reality

A new form of window glazing featuring a lightweight polymer with an advanced scratch-resistant coating has been installed on the Coventry Very Light Rail vehicle, and could be used in other means of public transport. The new windows are highly resistant to breakage which provides passengers with a step-change in safety.

The glazing has been designed by engineers from WMG – University of Warwick, Far-UK and TDi Ltd, and funded via the UK Innovation agency, Innovate UK. — Read more via WMG, University of Warwick

Renault partners for battery gigafactory in France

French startup Verkor has raised €100m from Renault, Capgemini and a regional government fund to build a battery pilot line in Grenoble, followed by a gigafactory.
Verkor, established in Grenoble, France, just last year, has raised €100m from Renault as part of the plan for batteries from 2030.

The Verkor funding from Renault will be used to build an R&D facility, the Verkor Innovation Centre (VIC), and a pilot line for high-performance battery cells and intelligent manufacturing. The company plans to have a factory making 50 GWh of batteries a year by 2030. — Read more via eeNews Europe

Wednesday – 14/07/2021

UK Net Zero targets under threat, warns Siemens Mobility

Decarbonising our transport network has been showcased as a priority if the UK is to meet its net-zero carbon target. However, The UK is in danger of missing its climate change targets if it doesn’t speed up electrification plans and introduce hydrogen railway infrastructure and trains, according to the latest analysis by Siemens Mobility.

Using data produced by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and Network Rail, Siemens Mobility has calculated that the current railway electrification proposals could take until 2060 and beyond to complete. This means leaving polluting diesel trains on the network for more than 10 years after the UK’s legislative Net Zero date.

As a result, the Government’s ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions are under threat unless there is clear focus on decarbonising the railway as a full system. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Aircraft seating manufacturer Mirus to build £4m testing facility

Aircraft seating manufacturer Mirus is to build a £4m test facility at its headquarters in Norfolk, UK featuring the latest

The 407m² facility will be an extension to Mirus’ current 2,500m² site and will feature the latest in aircraft testing technology and have the largest capacity currently in the market. Construction of the new facility will begin in September 2021, with the official opening scheduled for July 2022.

Construction of the seating test facility is being funded by a local government grant from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Business Fund.

The facility will feature a 30m-long (100ft) dynamic test sled, a bespoke-developed device used for destructive or non-destructive crash test replication. Designed for high-impact testing of automotive, aerospace, motorsport and rail vehicles, the device will be the most technologically advanced available on the market currently. — Read more via Aerospace Testing International

500 jobs could be created with 285,000 sq ft Sheffield Business Park plan

Plans have been submitted for 285,000 sq ft of industrial, warehousing and roadside opportunities in South Yorkshire, which could create up to 500 jobs.

Catalyst, the new development at Sheffield Business Park, will offer design and build opportunities for sale or to let from 22,354 to 108,237 sq ft.

The plans mark the final phase of development by UK property companies Premcor and Peveril Securities, following the joint venture acquisition in March.

Catalyst will offer five units suitable for warehouse and distribution, general industrial and manufacturing and also users looking for roadside profile. The site forms part of Sheffield City Region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District and fronts onto Sheffield Parkway. — Read more via Business Live

RAF eyeing electric trainer as carbon-reduction campaign powers up

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is exploring multiple pathways to reducing its environmental impact, with initiatives ranging from the planned introduction of electrically-powered light training aircraft to the “flight-free certification” of future combat assets.

Introducing a sustainability session during the virtual Farnborough Connect event on 13 July, minister for defence procurement Jeremy Quin said the Ministry of Defence accounts for 50% of all emissions made by UK central government departments, with the RAF’s Air Command alone responsible for 41%. — Read more via Flight Global

New diesel lorries to be banned from 2040

The sale of diesel lorries will be banned in the UK from 2040 as part of a major Government plan to cut carbon emissions from the transport sector.

The delayed Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) includes several consultations aimed at cutting transport pollution to help the UK reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. — Read more via The Independent

Cobots expand potential labour pool to help fill worker shortage

Collaborative robots could help tackle a looming labour shortage in UK warehouses by addressing the barriers deterring people from working in the sector.

This is according to a new survey by fulfilment solutions provider 6 River Systems. They say that the labour shortage is already impacting the hospitality and logistics sectors due to EU nationals returning to their home countries as a result of a combination of Brexit and Covid-19 and an ageing national population means there are fewer potential workers able to undertake physical work. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 13/07/2021

UK, European manufacturers want battery supply chain nearer home survey

The vast majority of UK battery manufacturers want to move more of their supply chains away from China and closer to their plants, a survey revealed on Tuesday.

According to the report by Protolabs, concerns about supply chain disruption over the past year have caused 84% of UK battery firms to want to move their supply chains closer to production in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, 77% are also looking to outsource component production to specialist manufacturers, while 86% are planning on launching a new battery product or storage system. — Read more via Reuters

Rolls-Royce and Jaguar attempting to break all-electric flight speed world record

Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover have teamed up to try to break the all-electric flight speed world record.

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft, the Spirit of Innovation, will take to the air in an attempt to reach speeds of 300 miles per hour or more, which would be a world record. Jaguar Land Rover will be providing a number of Jaguar I-Pace cars to tow and support the aircraft. The cars being provided are all-electric and produce zero emissions.

The Spirit of Innovation features an electric propulsion system delivering 500hp+ with the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft providing enough energy to fuel 250 homes or fly London to Paris on a single charge. The I-PACE uses two electric motors producing a total of 394hp with power delivered by a state-of-the-art 90kWh Lithium-ion battery featuring 432 pouch cells.

The entire project is carbon neutral. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

Hi-tech Adelaide welder announces UK expansion

A high-speed automated welding technology developer has announced an expansion into the UK and Europe following success in the US.

K-Tig Limited will create a UK subsidiary, Keyhole TIG, and has appointed corporate strategist Benjamin Hall as the executive to drive the acceleration of the company’s activities globally.

Keyhole TIG will employ a direct sales force and provide support by establishing a technology demonstration centre.

The UK-based subsidiary will also expand integrator partners and establish the logistics for inventory warehousing in Europe. — Read more via K-Tig Limited

3 in 4 manufacturing executives don’t understand their company’s carbon footprint – survey

A survey of more than 150 C-suite executives at UK manufacturers, the results of which were published in a report late last week, has revealed that the vast majority (74%) do not have a complete understanding of their company’s absolute carbon footprint and the changes that will need to be made to reduce emissions.

Furthermore, just a third of respondents worked for organisations with sustainable sourcing strategies, while two-thirds said they would only align their sourcing strategies with net-zero if there was also a cost benefit.

On a positive note, 98% of respondents said their organisation will invest in decarbonisation initiatives over the next 12 months. — Read more via Vendigital

Telford manufacturer invests £2.5m in expansion

A Telford manufacturer of stretch film pallet wrap has invested in innovative new technology to support its ambitious expansion plans and reduce its environmental footprint, after securing a £2.5m funding package from HSBC UK.

Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd has used the funding to purchase a new fleet of energy efficient, pre-stretch conversion machines and a latest technology multi-layer extrusion line. The conversion lines produce much thinner pre-stretched film which still retain the product strength and integrity required by the company’s 800-strong customer base, for their pallet wrapping applications. The extrusion line will increase the company’s production capabilities by 40% – the equivalent to an additional six thousand tonnes of film per year. — Read more via Eurofilms Extrusion Limited

Monday – 12/07/2021

UK’s Liberty Steel acquires French rail producer Hayange

UK-based company Liberty Steel has acquired French railway track manufacturer Hayange, which was previously a part of the British Steel group.

The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The acquisition comes after the French Government blocked Hayange’s acquisition by China’s Jingye Group, reported Reuters.

The Jingye Group previously purchased British Steel’s assets in the UK and the Netherlands.

Hayange annually produces around 300,000t of rail tracks, most of which are supplied to French railway company SNCF. — Read more via Railway Technology

Global PPE manufacturer Medicom creates 250 jobs at new factory making 1.5m face masks a day

A global PPE manufacturer has made a major post-Brexit investment in the UK after winning a huge NHS contract.

Medicom has created around 250 jobs at a new factory in Northampton which is already making 1.5 million face masks a day under the Kolmi brand.

It follows a deal with the UK government to provide more than 600 million clinical masks for the NHS.

The hi-tech factory on the Brackmills Industrial Estate features a 200ft long clean room where two types of mask are made in carefully controlled conditions.

Medicom owns and operates 10 manufacturing sites around the world, with a global workforce of 2,000, and the new UK factory represents a multi-million pound investment. — Read more via Business Live

Vaillant expands UK manufacturing to produce heat pumps

Vaillant has extended its UK manufacturing facility after seeing record demand for heat pumps.

Based in Belper, Derbyshire, Vaillant Industrial UK will begin manufacturing heat pumps alongside its UK range of high efficiency boilers from 2022.

Vaillant is one of the only heating appliance manufacturers to produce both high efficiency gas boilers and heat pumps in the UK, it said. — Read more via Heating & Plumbing Monthly

Work starts on £8m business centre at Goole ‘Rail Village’

Work has started on a new £8.1m business centre in Goole at the site Siemens is setting up a factory producing the next generation of trains.

The Rail, accelerator and innovation solutions hub for Enterprise (RaisE) will provide 3,200 m² of commercial floor space, including workshops and a communal cafe at the Goole 36 Enterprise Zone.

The centre is being funded by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and is expected to be home to firms connected to the railway industry.

£50m is being invested into a new ‘centre of excellence’ for rail and research, developed as a collaboration between Siemens and the University of Birmingham.

A £200m train factory is under construction on the same site. — Read more via Planet Radio

Powys firm’s plans to build most sustainable car accelerate

SIEMENS’ engineers and digital tools have accelerated Llandrindod Wells hydrogen car maker Riversimple’s ambition to build the world’s most sustainable car factory in Mid Wales.

Using a 48-hour virtual hackathon Siemens leveraged its engineering talent and tools to optimise design for the new production facility, which the Ddole Road Industrial Estate-based firm hope to open in Powys by 2024.

The virtual sprint redesigned the factory layout for assembly, the levels of automation, number of production staff required and shifts required for 24-7 production, and energy efficiency. — Read more via Powys County Times

Friday – 09/07/2021

First International safety standard for fully automated driving systems published

The use of low speed automated driving systems can contribute to reduction of congestion and carbon emissions all over the world, however the enrolment of such systems has been hampered by the lack of safety standards, until now; as an international group of experts led by WMG, University of Warwick working as part of an ISO technical committee have published the first international safety standard for level 4 automated driving systems. — Read more via The Manufacturer

NI food manufacturers urged to invest in digital technology

Investment in transformative digital technology offers potential for Northern Ireland food manufacturers to address major sector issues such as productivity, recruitment and health & safety.

Further benefits include ensuring the sector remains at the cutting edge of innovation, says the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA), which has launched an Automated Food Manufacture network with support from Invest NI through its Collaborative Growth Programme.

The network is exploring how digital technologies can be integrated into production processes to boost growth for the local sector, with recommendations due to be published in September. — Read more via Ulster Grocer

UK probes takeover of its biggest chip plant by Chinese-owned firm

The UK national security advisor will examine Chinese-owned Nexperia NV’s takeover of Welsh-based Newport Wafer Fab after lawmakers said it could threaten the country’s high-tech future.

Newport Wafer Fab, the country’s biggest semiconductor plant, makes semiconductors mainly for the car industry but has been focusing on more advanced compound semiconductors used in 5G and facial recognition. The company has strong ties to many universities in the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had asked the National Security Adviser to review whether the deal has real intellectual property value and interest to China and its security implications. — Read more via EconoTimes

Elton glass factory Encirc aiming to create 200 jobs by 2025

A GLASS factory near Chester is aiming to create at least 200 new jobs by the middle of the decade through the use of hydrogen.

Leading glass bottle manufacturer and filler, Encirc, has announced its firm commitment to decarbonising by 2025, using hydrogen in its furnaces to create billions of ultra-low-carbon glass bottles.

The availability of hydrogen will enable the further expansion of the firm’s Elton facility and lead to the creation of at least 200 jobs, while future-proofing existing roles. — Read more via The Standard

HMS Bristol: Decommissioned Vessel Goes Up For Sale For Recycling

A former Royal Navy Type 82 Destroyer has been put up for sale by the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) – but only for recycling.

HMS Bristol lowered its White Ensign for the final time at a decommissioning ceremony in Portsmouth last year, bringing to a close 47 years of service.

Britain’s sole Type 82 Destroyer, she was designed originally to defend a class of aircraft carriers that were never built.

She notably saw action in the Falklands during 1982, leading a group of two destroyers, five frigates and one RFA supply ship arriving as reinforcements. — Read more via Forces

Thursday – 08/07/2021

Britishvolt wins approval for EV battery gigaplant development in Northumberland

Britishvolt, which is aiming to establish large-scale EV battery production in the UK, has been granted planning permission to construct its first full-scale lithium-ion gigaplant facility in Northumberland.

It is envisaged the development will create around 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000-plus in the associated supply chains. — Read more via Forecourt Trader

‘Green jobs windfall’: Government hails £180m investment in offshore wind manufacturing hubs

The UK’s offshore wind industry received a major boost today, as two leading suppliers announced plans to expand their manufacturing capacity in the North East in a move that is set to create and safeguard over 1,000 green jobs.

Offshore wind components manufacturers SeAH Wind Ltd and Smulders Projects UK confirmed they are to invest over £180m in expanding their production capacity after securing grant funding from the government’s £160m Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Support scheme.

SeAH Wind Ltd is to receive funding towards a new £117m monopile foundation factory at the Able Marine Energy Park on the Humber, creating up to 750 direct jobs by 2030. Meanwhile, Smulders Projects UK is to receive funding towards a £70m investment in new equipment and infrastructure to enable the manufacture of offshore wind turbine transition pieces at its existing site in Wallsend, Newcastle, creating and safeguarding up to 325 direct jobs. — Read more via Business Green

Aurrigo partnership with Vodafone provides boost for autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicle specialist, Aurrigo, is one of the first companies in the UK to benefit from a new technology partnership between Vodafone and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Aurrigo has been powering its three Auto-Shuttles with AWS Wavelength and Distributed Edge Computing from Vodafone.

With Vodafone’s 5G network, this partnership has created a notable breakthrough in the driverless vehicle industry. With pods and shuttles being tested in more than five countries globally, Aurrigo are even closer to being able to remove human safety supervisors from their trials. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK the second largest defence exporter in the world with the industry supporting over 200,000 jobs

The UK is the second largest defence exporter in the world after the US, accounting for 16% of the global market and with 207,000 jobs supported by the industry, a new report reveals.

According to the Make UK and Raytheon UK report, global defence and aerospace exports are valued at around £12bn. This is equivalent to almost 5% of total UK manufacturing output, the report reveals. — Read more via Make UK

US giant swoops for UK automotive manufacturer

A Wellingborough-headquartered automotive repair and refinishing manufacturer has been sold to a US company for £428m.

U-POL, which is being acquired up by Axalta Coating Systems, manufactures more than 1,000 products for distribution into more than 100 countries.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Axalta is a global manufacturer and distributor of coatings.

Axalta will accelerate growth of U-POL’s products by expanding market access through Axalta’s existing sales and distribution channels while leveraging U-POL’s distribution channels to extend the reach of its Refinish Coatings portfolio to new customers. — Read more via Body Shop Business

Wednesday – 07/07/2021

Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant to receive £100m to manufacture EVs

The future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant has been safeguarded after its parent company announced it will make an investment of £100m to make electric vehicles (EVs) at the Cheshire manufacturing facility.

Stellantis confirmed on Tuesday that a government grant — reportedly worth around £30m — coupled with a £100m investment of its own, will secure the 1,000 jobs left at the plant, as well as an estimated 3,000 in the supply chain.

Stellantis said the investment will be used to transform Ellesmere Port “for a new era in electric vehicle manufacturing”. Ellesmere Port will become the first Stellantis plant to produce a solely battery-electric model, in both commercial and passenger versions, for Vauxhall, Opel, Peugeot and Citroën — other major brands in the group — for both domestic and export markets. Under the plans for Ellesmere Port, the first all-electric vehicles will start to roll off the production line from late next year. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Electric motor for Airlander 10 airship passes design review

The electric motor that will be used by the Airlander 10 airship is being built by Collins Aerospace in the UK after engineers completed its critical design review.

The 500kW motor is being developed by a partnership which includes Airlander’s manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), Collins Aerospace and the University of Nottingham. The motor is expected to be qualified for use in flight during 2023, by which time HAV plans to be using three airships for flight testing and to have started the civil certification process.

HAV plans to begin regional passenger-carrying services with the Airlander 10 in 2025. The airship will carry up to 100 passengers, have a range of 4,600 miles (7,400km), a top speed of around 85mph (km/h) and will be able to stay airborne for up to five days. — Read more via Aerospace Testing International

New jobs created at Sheffield print firm after £750,000 investment

A Sheffield 3D printing company is set to create 10 jobs, buy equipment and launch new departments after securing a £750,000 investment.

It is the first major investment in AME Group’s 20-year history and will trigger key growth plans including a new division providing 3D printing for manufacturing and prototyping. It will also expand into small batch unit production.

Called ‘AME-3D’ it marks an important turning point in the company’s overall journey, according to group founder and finance director, Ian Jones. — Read more via Sheffield Star

Teesside manufacturer reveals plans to double growth with ‘significant’ investment scheme

A Teesside manufacturer has announced new plans that will see it double in size over the next three years.

Icon Plastics, based in Stockton-on-Tees, has said that it expects to grow by 100% over the next two to three years as a result of new supply contracts and product development.

The company said that it is starting a “significant” investment programme which includes investment in staff, technology, and infrastructure. — Read more via Bdaily News

Production of new UK armoured vehicles begins on domestic soil, the first time in years

In another historic event for the UK Defence industry, WFEL has commenced production of Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles for the British Army at its new manufacturing plant in the North West of England — the first time for a number of years that any new armoured vehicles have been manufactured in the UK.

The fabrication of vehicle sub-assemblies has been taking place over the last few weeks at WFEL’s new production facility at Stockport. As part of the extensive Technology Transfer Programme between KMW and WFEL, UK welding personnel have undertaken secondments of up to a year at parent company KMW’s Boxer manufacturing site in Hamburg, Germany. Here, staff worked on the production of Boxer armoured vehicles for KMW’s existing customers and are now fully qualified to undertake the complex work required to produce fabricated Drive Module hulls for the UK Boxer variants. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 06/07/2021

Vauxhall to build electric vans at Ellesmere Port

The owner of car brand Vauxhall is expected to announce plans to build electric vans at its Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire.

The investment, said to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, would safeguard more than 1,000 factory jobs.

The future of the plant has been in doubt after Vauxhall’s parent company, Stellantis, scrapped plans to build its new Astra model there.

Details of the plans are set to be revealed at press conference later. — Read more via BBC News

Scottish Leather Group confirmed as lowest carbon leather manufacturer in the world

Scottish Leather Group has today published its 2021 Sustainability Report, detailing the company’s progress towards its key goal of zero impact leather manufacturing. Already the world’s lowest carbon intensity leather manufacturer, the firm has also announced that it is well on its way to being carbon neutral by 2025 — 20 years ahead of Scotland’s net zero ambitions.

In addition to an independently verified Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) conducted on the entire manufacturing process, Scottish Leather Group recorded a carbon footprint of just 1.1kg of CO2 per hide – a 90% reduction from 10.3kg two decades ago. — Read more via The Manufacturer

EU’s plastic ban officially comes into force

A European Union (EU) directive from 2019 restricting certain single-use plastic products has now officially come into force, forcing governments to stop selling cutlery, straws, stirrers, bags, cotton bud sticks, and polystyrene drinks and food containers — plastics which account for 70% of the marine litter in Europe.

The ban is part of a larger effort by Europe to cut plastic pollution by creating a circular economy model. By the end of the decade, the bloc aspires to have a de facto ban on throwaway plastics, a comprehensive reuse system for all other plastics, and an expensive and potentially lucrative European market for recycled plastics. — Read more via ZME Science

New Manufacturing Advisory Panel to support the manufacturing sector in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has set up a new Manufacturing Advisory Panel to support and accelerate the growth, productivity, and competitiveness of the manufacturing economy in the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

The D2N2 LEP estimates the manufacturing sector employs over 125,000 people and generates £7.2bn into the region’s economy – ranking third outside London and the South-East – and has the largest cluster of transport manufacturing and R&D in the country.

The LEP will be working with local manufacturing business leaders, the region’s universities, local authorities, and business organisations including Make UK to champion and strengthen manufacturing across region and improve our regional economic performance retaining our excellence in sectors including aerospace, automotive, food and drink, medical and rail. — Read more via D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership

Leonardo engineer starts AeroWomen21 network for women in aerospace

When a female engineer working at aerospace company Leonardo couldn’t find a dynamic network to propel her professional career forward, she decided to start one herself.

AeroWomen21 has been formed by Olivia Gribler, who works at Leonardo’s Yeovil site at Lysander Road. And it has just held its inaugural event attracting students and some of the leading lights of aerospace across the UK. It was supported by the Royal Aeronautical Society, as well as the company itself.

The virtual gathering included Angela Owen OBE, founder of Women in Defence, Anna Keeling, Managing Director of Boeing Defence UK, Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer at Airbus, Dr Cristina Garcia Duffy, Head of Technology at the Aerospace Technology institute and Paula Clarke, Engineering & Projects Director at Leonardo (UK). — Read more via Electronics Weekly

Monday – 05/07/2021

FANUC produces 750,000th robot

FANUC Corporation, one of the world’s most prominent suppliers of automation technology, continues to expand its market-leading position with the production of its 750,000th industrial robot – more than any other manufacturer in this segment.

FANUC’s largest customer group is the automotive industry, notably car makers and their suppliers, although manufacturers from other industries – such as electronics, food, pharmaceutical and medical – are also growing their base of industrial robots.

While the coronavirus pandemic initially led to a decline in robot orders, FANUC has since witnessed a strong rebound in sales, especially from Asia and the USA. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK’s largest chip plant to be acquired by Chinese-owned firm Nexperia amid global semiconductor shortage

Newport Wafer Fab, the UK’s largest chip producer, is set to be acquired by Chinese-owned semiconductor company Nexperia for around £63 million ($87 million) next week, according to two sources close to the deal who asked to remain anonymous because the information is not yet public.

Nexperia, a Dutch firm that is 100%-owned by China’s Wingtech Technology, told CNBC on Friday that the deal talks are ongoing.

Located in Newport, South Wales, privately-held NWF’s chip plant dates back to 1982 and it is one of just a handful of semiconductor fabricators in the UK.

Nexperia is set to announce the takeover today or Tuesday, the sources said. — Read more via CNBC

Caithness battery maker agrees Australia deal

Specialist battery manufacturer AMTE Power of Caithness has announced a globe-spanning agreement to begin production in Australia.

AMTE Power, which operates a manufacturing plant in Thurso, has signed an agreement with Western Australia infrastructure developer InfraNomics to create a new business, Barden Cells.

This will use AMTE’s licensed technology and manufacturing expertise to build lithium ion cells for use in power storage systems, and will operate from “Lithium Valley”, an area to the south of state capital Perth which is already known for its development of lithium related products and will provide access to raw materials and local technical expertise. — Read more via John O’Groat Journal

Independent UK flexible packaging manufacturer acquired by US firm

Cincinnati-based ProAmpac has announced that it has acquired Ultimate Packaging, a lead in flexographic and digitally-printed flexible packaging based in Grimsby.

Ultimate Packaging is one of the largest independent flexible packaging manufacturers in the UK. It specialises in the development of packaging to increase product shelf life, convenience and recyclability across a range of product sectors.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. — Read more via Ink World

Honda’s Sakura base will supply Red Bull’s 2022 PU

It has been confirmed that Red Bull will have a transitionary year in 2022 with their power unit still coming from Sakura.

With Honda departing Formula 1 at the end of 2021, Red Bull are busy putting together their own engine division to take over the Japanese manufacturer’s power units.

But in order to make that process smoother, Red Bull’s 2022 engine will still come from Honda’s manufacturing facility in Sakura. — Read more via Planet F1

Friday – 02/07/2021

Nissan unveils EV36Zero, thousands of jobs

The huge news yesterday afternoon was Nissan’s announcement regarding EV36Zero, a a £1bn flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub in Sunderland, creating a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem. The hub will create thousands of jobs and will be a key driver in the company’s path to carbon neutrality and aims to establish a new 360-degree solution for zero-emission motoring.

Here are some of the key points:

  • £1bn investment in Sunderland by Nissan; Envision AESC, a global player in world-leading battery technology; and Sunderland City Council.
  • Comprised of three interconnected initiatives,  bringing together electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery production and setting a blueprint for the future of the automotive industry
  • The projects represent 6,200 jobs at Nissan and its UK suppliers, including more than 900 new Nissan jobs and 750 new Envision AESC jobs at its new smart, low-carbon battery plant
  • Longer-term, the transformational project will modernise and expands Nissan’s EV production capability in the UK. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK manufacturing growth remains strong in June

Manufacturing remained in a strong growth phase in June, with rates of expansion in output, new orders and employment among the best seen during the near 30-year survey history. Industry was still beset by supply-chain and distribution difficulties, however, leading to longer vendor lead times and disruption to production schedules.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) dipped slightly to 63.9 in June, down from May’s record high of 65.6. The PMI has signalled an improvement for 13 successive months. — Read more via IHS Markit

IBM becomes first to demonstrate advantage of quantum computers in real-life scenario

A key piece of the quantum computing puzzle is actually proving that quantum computers can provide advantages over traditional computers.

Now, IBM researchers believe they have done just that.

According to a recently published blog post from IBM Research, the company has, for the first time ever, reported a simultaneous proof along with experimental verification of a new kind of quantum advantage. Specifically they showed that even today’s noisy qubits offer “more value than bits as a medium of storage during computations”. — Read more via IBM Research

Robotics innovator Createc to provide custom sensor integrations for Boston Dynamics

A pioneering UK robotics and computer vision company will serve as a technical integrator and commercial reseller of a world leader in mobile robots.

Createc, which provides solutions to the civil nuclear, defence, rail, marine, and security sectors from its bases in Cumbria and Oxford in the UK has joined forces with Boston Dynamics robots based in Massachusetts.

The relationship between the companies came about after Createc had been introduced to the capabilities of Boston Dynamics robots while working on research and development projects. — Read more via News & Star

New right to repair rules for UK manufacturers

As of yesterday, Thursday 1st July, manufacturers are now legally required to make spare parts available to people buying electrical appliances. Under the new rules, products such as washing machines, TVs and fridges should become easier to repair and cheaper to run.

It is hoped that the new legislation will reduce the amount of electrical waste going to landfill each year by increasing the lifespan of electrical goods by an extra decade. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 01/07/2021

Norton Motorcycles supports student electric motorcycle research with WMG, University of Warwick

Norton Motorcycles engineers are supporting students at WMG, University of Warwick to develop a TT capable electric racing motorcycle, named ‘Frontier’. This includes donating a high performance bike frame and data to students undertaking research into study of electric motorcycles.

The group of 13 students at WMG, University of Warwick – made up of cross-functional team from first- to final-year degree students, with the support of some EngD students – are joined by a selection of leading academics, engineers and researchers representing WMG, at the University. On-campus research has been reinforced with input, support, mentoring and technical guidance from Norton’s own designers and engineers, further to the supply of the frame. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Government announces £3m funding for zero emission flight infrastructure

The government yesterday launched the first round of its £3m ‘Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure’ competition, part of the drive to help the aviation industry reach net zero by 2050.

The competition aims to award businesses and universities with up to £50,000 each to help them pioneer critical research into infrastructure, such as charge points and hydrogen fuelling tanks, that will enable the mass uptake of electric and hydrogen aircraft. — Read more via GOV UK

New Nissan Qashqai hits 10,000 customer orders in Europe

Nissan’s all-new Qashqai crossover is beginning to appear in the showrooms, but customer orders have already exceeded 10,000 in Europe.

The third generation of Nissan’s iconic crossover was unveiled in February and is now arriving in dealerships across Europe.

Like its predecessors, the styling of the new Qashqai was led by the team at Nissan Design Europe, based in central London (UK), while its engineering was led by Nissan Technical Centre Europe, situated in Cranfield, Bedfordshire (UK). It continues to be produced in Nissan’s state-of-the-art UK manufacturing facility in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. — Read more via Nissan UK

Hundreds of jobs created at new bottle factory planned for Ebbw Vale

Assuming there are no planning hitches, Ciner will open a glass bottle manufacturing and recycling plant at the Rassau Industrial Estate at Ebbw Vale in Blaenau Gwent and create around 600 well-paid jobs.

The area has had its disappointments in the past, notably the failure of the planned Circuit of Wales motor racing project to come to fruition. But there are strong reasons to believe that the glass plant will be able to deliver the promised jobs.

Ciner will be supplying bottles to a number of leading drinks manufacturers in the UK, some of whom have existing businesses in the area. — Read more via Wales Online

Fujifilm to significantly expand UK production capacity with £615m boost

Fujifilm Corporation announced today a $850m (£615m) investment package to accelerate the growth of its core Bio CDMO subsidiary, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies.

As a result of the investment, in the United Kingdom, gene therapy production will be increased ten-fold, cell culture capacity will be tripled and microbial fermentation output at the existing 5,000L scale facility will be doubled. The United Kingdom cell culture expansion will also include cGMP capacity for continuous manufacturing. — Read more via Wales Online

Wednesday – 30/06/2021

SMMT launches Full Throttle initiative to drive automotive industry forward

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) yesterday launched a new, ambitious plan: ‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’, to secure the future of one of Britain’s most important industries.

Commissioned by SMMT and written by Public First, the strategy sets out a series of bold policy proposals for this coming year and remainder of the decade, covering all aspects essential to automotive industry competitiveness. The UK industry has many strengths – the diversity of its companies, its engineering excellence, innovation, a highly skilled workforce and the strength of the UK market, but the global industry is fiercely competitive, and weaknesses must be addressed if its long term success – and the benefits that come with it – are to be assured. — Read more via SMMT

Avara Foods’s Dudley poultry factory adds 130 jobs

Avara Foods is recruiting for 130 permanent roles at its poultry factory at Brierley Hill in Dudley, driven by a significant uplift in demand over the past year.

Positions are open across all operational functions including production, technical, engineering, planning and stores.

Previously operating five days a week, the Dudley plant has been running seven days a week, following a huge increase in consumer demand.

Production records have been smashed, with the factory producing hundreds of thousands more product units than in 2020. Production capacity has leapt up by 30%, and with the summer months particularly busy for Avara Dudley handling seasonal barbecue foods, more dedicated colleagues were required to help it keep pace, the company said.

It had been recruiting for 130 new permanent roles in recent weeks, and it claimed there were still many great opportunities available. — Read more via Food Manufacture

HRH Prince William starts construction on the UK’s third Type 26 frigate for the Royal Navy

In a steel cut ceremony at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Glasgow, His Royal Highness, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, set the plasma cutting machine to work on the first plate of steel for the third Type 26 frigate, HMS BELFAST.

The event marks an important step in the programme to deliver the UK’s latest anti-submarine warfare capability to the Royal Navy, with all three of the first batch of City Class frigates now under construction. The UK-sourced steel plate will form part of a unit which will contain the machinery space for the gearbox and stabilisers of HMS BELFAST. — Read more via BAE Systems

AMTE Power to lead new government-funded electric vehicle project

AMTE Power, a developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery cells for specialist markets, has been selected as the lead supplier in a new Government funded three-year project called ULTRA, which will involve preparing two of its battery cells for large scale manufacture and testing with leading automotive manufacturers.

The project will be part-funded by the UK Government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) with a grant of £5m. APC is a government-funded body focused on supporting the UK automotive industry in the lead-up to the electrification of the market in 2030. The funding will be divided between AMTE Power and three other automotive supply chain companies with AMTE Power receiving £2.3m, over the next three years. — Read more via Electric & Hyrbid Vehcile Technology International

Nestlé unveils Perrier water bottles made using ground-breaking recycling tech

Nestlé has unveiled prototypes for its Perrier water bottles based on a novel recycling technology.

The bottles were produced as part of the Carbios global consortium to support the industrialization of an innovative technology that allows plastic to be endlessly recycled while maintaining properties that are virtually equivalent to virgin plastics.

The consortium members include L’Oréal, Suntory Beverage & Food Europe and PepsiCo.

Using this novel technology, experts at Nestlé’s research and development centre for Waters in Vittel, France produced the first Perrier 50cl prototype bottles made from coloured recycled PET materials. — Read more via Food & Drink International

Prototype face mask can detect a Covid-19 infection as you are wearing it

A prototype face mask which is said to be capable of detecting Covid-19 infections from the wearer’s breath has recently been created in the US.

Researchers from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe they have found a way to create wearable biosensors that can be customised to detect pathogens.

The button-activated mask, which uses a sensor technology, takes just over an hour – at around 90 minutes – to find out whether the person wearing it is infected with coronavirus. — Read more via Evening Standard

Tuesday – 29/06/2021

Nissan may announce Sunderland gigafactory this week in major commitment to UK

Car manufacturer Nissan is set to announce later this week plans to build a new battery gigafactory in the North East of England by 2024, according to new reports on Monday.

The plant would provide around 2,000 new jobs to supply batteries for the Japanese firm’s electrified vehicles – such as the Leaf, which is built at the firm’s Sunderland factory. — Read more via Sky News

New UK collaboration ICE-Batt to optimise battery technology

Johnson Matthey (JM), a global leader in sustainable technologies, has teamed up with CPI, an independent technology innovation centre and Thomas Swan, one of the UK’s leading independent chemical manufacturers, to explore how to best optimise battery technology. The ICE-Batt project receives funding support from the Faraday Battery Challenge, managed by Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency – to enable the investigation of how innovative carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) can improve battery performance. Ultimately this could lead to improvements in energy density, power density and low temperature performance of lithium-ion and beyond lithium-ion technologies. In addition, the project will explore how to improve the green credentials of battery processing. — Read more via Johnson Mattey

Catapult CEO appointed as University Honorary Professor

The University of Strathclyde has appointed Dick Elsy, the recently retired Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, as an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Engineering.

Professor Elsy will bring his expertise to Scotland’s largest Faculty of Engineering on issues relating to engineering innovation and advanced manufacturing. — Read more via University of Strathclyde

Nissan to create thousands of UK jobs in battery investment

Nissan is to announce a major expansion of battery production in Sunderland creating thousands of new jobs both directly and in the supply chain.

The firm, which already makes the Leaf electric car in Sunderland, may also announce the launch of a brand new electric model.

The government is contributing to the overall cost of the project, which is expected to cost hundreds of millions.

The size of the government contribution has not been disclosed. — Read more via BBC News

Bristol Robotics Laboratory hosts virtual conference to showcase cutting-edge research

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) will host a virtual conference on Wednesday 30 June, showcasing cutting-edge research and opportunities for organisations to engage with the UK’s largest robotics research laboratory.

The conference brings together leading robotics researchers and business leaders to explore how robotics, smart automation, AI and machine learning can benefit organisations, from start-ups to large corporations. — Read more via University of Bristol

Liberty Steel to focus on Rotherham plant development

Liberty Steel released a company update yesterday providing more information on the restructuring of GFG Alliance’s (GFG) businesses.

Part of the update said Liberty Steel UK is continuing to assess a sales process for its UK aerospace and special alloys steel business in Stocksbridge, which while being a unique, high quality business servicing marquee customers, is not core to Liberty’s future. This sale will allow LIBERTY to focus on developing its Rotherham plant, including its low carbon emitting electric arc furnaces, into a competitive two million tonnes GREENSTEEL plant, one of the largest in Europe. — Read more via Liberty Steel