Daily Manufacturing News Digest – the industry stories you should be aware of today – 27 January

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.

Thursday – 27/1/2022

Bentley secures UK production of the first electric Bentley

Bentley’s first-ever Battery-Powered Electric Vehicle (BEV) will be developed and built in the UK with the company committing to investing £2.5 billion in sustainability over the next ten years. The announcement is a major boost for the UK economy and also helps secure Bentley’s first step into electrification at the production plant, where all Bentley models are built and 4,000 colleagues work.

The first BEV is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2025 and will mark a significant moment in Bentley’s long and illustrious history. It is also a critical step in the company’s Beyond100 strategy – the ground-breaking plan launched in 2020 that will ensure Bentley is exclusively electric and end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030.

The significant investment programme will also result in a complete transformation of Bentley’s entire product portfolio, and the historic Crewe Campus, by embedding an industry-leading greenfield facility into a world-leading, next generation digital, low environmental impact, high-value advanced manufacturing facility.  Read more via Bentley

CBM issues industry rallying call as Climate Change Agreement scheme could offset rising energy costs

Manufacturers of sheet metal components, forgings, fasteners and cold rolled sections can get vital support to help them cope with soaring energy costs according to a leading trade body for the sector.

The Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM) has received notification from the Environment Agency that the Climate Change Agreement scheme has reopened to new entrants, but firms only have until March 31 to stake their claim.

This means thousands of businesses – already struggling with supply chain disruption and the aftermath of the pandemic – could be eligible for a discount of up to 100% of the tax they will be paying on their gas and electricity bills.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Catalent completes $10m expansion at US and UK production sites

CDMO giant Catalent completed expansion projects worth $10 million that added large-scale isolator units to its Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Dartford, U.K., manufacturing facilities.

With the new units, Catalent can provide clinical and commercial scale jet milling to be conducted under enhanced containment conditions, the company said. Micronizers, which are part of the new systems, will provide a greater degree of safety by eliminating the risk of dust explosion for compounds with low minimum ignition points.  Read more via Fierce Pharma

Italian company setting up mozzarella plant in the UK to speed up access to market

A complete mozzarella ball processing line supplied by AVE UK (part of the Della Toffola Group) is set to help Neapolitan cheesemakers Fratelli Amodio recreate the taste of Italy in Somerset, bypassing post-Brexit import taxes, red tape and transportation costs.  Read more via Dairy Reporter

Welsh tech to help Indian manufacturers boost productivity

An award-winning digital technology designed in Wales will soon be helping manufacturers in India to save money and improve productivity.

POET Systems Ltd., based in Bridgend, has joined forces with Improd Technologies in Bengaluru to launch its cloud-based software system, POET, into the Indian market.

The news comes as the UK Government launches negotiations to secure an ambitious trade deal with India, which is one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

POET has been designed to boost productivity in manufacturing by using production data to prioritise and drive improvements. It has already helped manufacturers in the UK, including food manufacturer Burton’s Biscuits.  Read more via Business News Wales

Chartwell Marine unveils market-first OESV that utilises yacht racing tech

Chartwell Marine has announced the launch of its market-first offshore energy support vessel (OESV) with hydrofoils, in partnership with BAR Technologies (BAR Tech).

Seacat Sceptre, built at the Diverse Marine yard in Cowes, Isle of Wight, for class-leading OESV operator, Seacat Services, will now undergo sea trials prior to its handover.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Wednesday – 26/1/2022

British Sugar and Virgin Media O2 Business launch first multi-site private mobile network

British Sugar and Virgin Media O2 Business have switched on a first-of-its-kind private mobile network, spanning multiple factory sites across a large geographical area.

The new private network will provide dedicated, secure 4G connectivity for all of British Sugar’s manufacturing facilities, as part of a major ‘factories of the future’ upgrade.

The custom-built private O2 4G network has been created to give British Sugar the reliable, speedy and secure connectivity it needs to implement next-generation manufacturing techniques at all four of its sites, spanning three counties.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Former Wrexham Wire factory set to reopen under new manufacturer

The former Wrexham Wire factory that closed in 2020 is to reopen under a new manufacturer.

When the Wrexham Industrial Estate site closed around 80 workers lost their jobs but Prime Property Consultancy (PPC) later acquired the factory and premises on Ash Road North – and started a £2m refurbishment programme

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

Now it has been announced that Europe’s leading tail lift manufacturer Dhollandia has chosen the site for its new UK assembly plant – with a freehold purchase deal on completion of redevelopment works.

There will be 25 initial jobs.  Read more via Business Live

Britain’s Boohoo begins production at first manufacturing site

British online fashion retailer Boohoo, seeking to improve its image after negative publicity over its supply chain failings, has begun production at its first ever manufacturing site.

Boohoo said on Tuesday the 23,000 square feet factory in Leicester, central England, is “proof of its commitment to the city of Leicester and ethical British manufacturing.”  Read more via Reuters

HMG Paints announces new defence sector coating spec’ service

HMG Paints, one of the UK’s leading independent paint manufacturers, has announced a new coating specification service for the defence industry. The new service will allow engineers and specifiers to identify and select the perfect coating for their requirements.

Following a period of growth and development of cross-sector partnerships and international collaborations, HMG Paints’ new service is aimed to take the hassle out of identifying and sourcing the correct Def Stan or NSN number for OEM and manufacturers projects.  Read more via Aerospace Manufacturing

Marmite and Dove manufacturer Unilever to cut 1,500 jobs

Around 1,500 jobs globally are being cut at consumer goods giant Unilever as part of a group-wide overhaul.

The Marmite-to-Dove soap maker is planning to axe around 15% of senior management roles and 5% of more junior management roles under a restructure to create five business divisions.

It said the jobs will go across the UK and its worldwide operations, but did not give a breakdown of where the cuts will be made.

Unilever, which employs around 149,000 staff worldwide, stressed that factory teams are not expected to be impacted by the changes.

The company employs more than 6,000 people across the UK and Ireland.  Read more via Wales Online

MINI Recharged unveiled as official classic EV conversion

A group of engineers at MINI’s Oxford plant have devised an EV conversion package for the iconic hatchback to create the MINI Recharged. The fully electric drivetrain can be installed in existing classic MINIs, and offers 121bhp, significantly more than standard.

Development for the MINI Recharged began after the brand showcased a one-off classic MINI with EV running gear at the 2018 New York Auto Show. Based on positive reception, MINI decided to offer a similar service to existing owners of classic MINIs.

The Recharged conversion replaces the combustion engine with an electric motor and a battery pack. These changes are also reversible, and it’s possible to revert to the original drivetrain after the conversion. MINI will store the original running gear for each customer, allowing them to revert to standard spec if desired.  Read more via Auto Express

Tuesday – 25/1/2022

Glenmorangie reveals investments worth ‘tens of millions of pounds’ per year

The Glenmorangie Company has recorded its best-ever sales performance as it revealed plans to invest “tens of millions of pounds” per year to ensure it meets demand from whisky drinkers in the decades to come.

The Scotch whisky giant, which owns and makes the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg single malts, said its recovery from the pandemic is gathering pace, with its expansion in the online and direct-to-consumer markets helping it to overcome the downturn in the hospitality and travel retail sectors over the last 22 months.

And the company, which is part of the Paris-based LVMH luxury goods empire, is taking steps to ensure it can meet anticipated demand in the years ahead by making multi-million-pound investments in its production facilities around Scotland.  Read more via The Herald

Digital confusion: 50% of manufacturing SMEs lack the knowledge and skills to optimise business operations

Manufacturing organisations are falling behind in terms of digital adoption, which could be negatively impacting their bottom line, according to new research by GAIN LINE.

The survey asked 1,000 senior managers/directors and those heading up procurement, HR and ops teams at SMEs in ‘traditional’ industries — rail, life sciences, manufacturing, energy and construction — about the use of and attitudes towards digital services/tools within the business.

It found that 57% of leaders in the manufacturing sector feel they aren’t confident with technology, with more than half lacking the skills needed to move from paper to digital services.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Britishvolt successfully develops Production Intent battery cells; signs agreement to scale-up next generation cell technologies with UK Battery Industrialisation Centre

Battery pioneer, Britishvolt, is proud to announce a two-year multi-million pound [£] co-development framework with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) to produce its next generation of battery cells.

Initial solutions will focus on high nickel, increased energy density, materials to produce and test batteries with greater performance and range.

Coventry-based UKBIC, a national battery manufacturing development facility providing battery manufacturing scale-up, has a fast growing reputation for battery R&D which will put Britain at the front of the race to become a battery and technology powerhouse.

This news is a major milestone in Britishvolt’s mission to help carmakers on their roadmap to improved electrification and demonstrates the huge demand for batteries in the Race to Zero.  Read more via Britishvolt

GEIC partner AEH secures £3.5m for agri-tech manufacturing in Manchester

AEH Innovative Hydrogel, the agri-tech firm founded and led by The University of Manchester alumnus Dr Beenish Siddique, has secured a funding agreement worth £3.5 million with Canada-based biotech investor Terra Sana Holdings, with a view to scaling up AEH’s manufacturing capability in Greater Manchester.

This new investment recognises AEH’s breakthrough contribution to a more sustainable future by using a unique hydrogel – branded GelPonic and developed in the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) – as a growing medium that is biodegradable and fully sustainable.

The pioneering technology will reduce the use of fresh water in agriculture and therefore enable nations like the UK to grow a wider range of indigenous foods – so reducing “food miles” – while enabling better yields for farmers in developing nations, where poor quality soils and limited rainfall put pressure on water supply and productivity.  Read more via The University of Manchester

New rules on security of connected devices

Connected devices have become increasingly prevalent in recent years and ‘smart’ homes are becoming a reality. However, the security standards of many of these products have not been regulated to date.

Now, under The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, device makers will need to manufacture their products to much tougher security standards.  Read more via Lexology

Jenx and Jiraffe looking to recruit following growth

Due to recent expansion and the launch of new products, Sheffield-based postural support manufacturer, Jenx, and its UK distribution division, Jiraffe, continue looking for new people to join their talented teams.

Jiraffe have recently appointed three new Product Advisors, but before that Ryan Lister joined as Head of Operations, Nick Marwood as Head of IT, James Hopkins as Head of Finance and Kieran Murphy, in a brand-new role, joined as Clinical Partnerships Manager.

Now, the organisation is actively looking to fill three Customer Support Advisor roles at Jiraffe, as well as a range of Operative, Supervisor and Team Leader roles at Jenx.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 24/1/2022

Naylor Industries hosts Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire to mark Queen’s Award win and highlight positive culture in manufacturing

Naylor Industries plc, the family-owned construction materials manufacturer, has hosted a visit by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire in recognition of its Clayware business winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Professor Dame Hilary Chapman DBE toured the Wombwell manufacturing site with group CEO Edward Naylor and met with employees including long-serving members of staff and new apprentices.

The award in the International Trade category recognised Naylor’s global success, most notably with its innovative high-performance clay pipe products Denlok and Thermachem, which have been delivered to every continent and 65 countries worldwide.  Read more via The Manufacturer

World champion mountain bikers bringing factory to Powys

A family of world champion mountain bikers have set up a high-tech manufacturing plant in Powys making top-end bicycles.

Siblings Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton have spent their lives competing in downhill racing, holding a total of 49 world cups and eight world championships between them.

Their latest venture is establishing a manufacturing plant in Machynlleth to produce bikes using 3D printing in titanium, a technology derived from Formula 1 and the aerospace engineering sector.

Around 100 bikes have already been sold to customers around the world, with the team hoping to build approximately 300 bikes in 2022.  Read more via The Leader

Specialist Sheffield manufacturer to supply parts for EMR’s new Aurora trains

East Midlands Railway’s (EMR) has awarded a Sheffield manufacturer a contract to supply specialist parts for its new Aurora fleet of trains.

Specialist manufacturing jobs in Sheffield are being supported by EMR and Hitachi Rail after the Sheffield company Stauff was chosen to supply a range of components for EMR’s new trains.

Having been part of Hitachi Rail’s global supply chain since 2012, the company’s close relationship with Stauff enables the company to invest and innovate its own manufacturing techniques in order to deliver innovative intercity trains for the UK.  Read more via Rail Advent

Sodium-ion battery tech gets commercial testing in UK

UK-based battery manufacturer AMTE Power, battery intelligence tech provider Brill Power and energy management system specialist Starke Energy will demonstrate their latest energy storage technologies at a commercial-scale testbed at Harwell Campus, in Oxfordshire, England. The three technologies will be integrated into a battery storage system which will be coupled with the Science and Engineering Facilities Council’s on-site solar array at the campus, with no further details on these systems specified.

The testbed will demonstrate AMTE’s sodium-ion battery module using Brill Power’s battery intelligence technology to ensure optimal battery usage, lifetime, performance, and safety and Starke Energy’s energy management system, which links stored energy into the electricity grid and markets. This is the first time that these technologies are being deployed in a commercially relevant project.  Read more via PV Magazine

Rolls-Royce’s ‘Spirit of Innovation’ officially breaks speed record and becomes the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle

Rolls-Royce has announced that its all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft is officially the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, having set two new world records which have now been independently confirmed.

At 15.45 (GMT) on 16 November 2021, the aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometres, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). In further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres – 292.8km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record. Both records have been officially verified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the World Air Sports Federation that controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records.

During its record-breaking runs, the aircraft, which is part of the UK Government-backed ACCEL or ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’ project, also clocked up a maximum top speed of 623km/h (387.4mph) making it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.  Read more via Rolls-Royce

Friday – 21/1/2022

Government backs Britishvolt plans for Blyth gigafactory to build electric vehicle batteries

Britishvolt, the UK battery company, has received an in principle offer of government funding though the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) for its planned gigafactory in Blyth, Northumberland.

Once complete, the factory will produce enough batteries for over 300,000 electric vehicles each year, significantly supporting the UK automotive industry’s transition to a zero emissions future and increased production of electric vehicles.

The government’s support for the gigafactory will help to unlock a significant amount of further support from private investors. Alongside private sector investment, the project is set to create 3,000 direct highly-skilled jobs and another 5,000 indirect jobs in the wider supply chain.  Read more via GOV UK

Monolith AI and Imperial College London to use £500k Innovate UK grant to create AI that can assess metal part manufacturability

Leading Artificially Intelligent Engineering (AIE) software company Monolith AI and Imperial College London will use a £500,000 Innovate UK grant to launch a project to build a new type of artificial intelligence solution that will be able to assess if metal components are manufacturable and even explain why they might not be manufacturable.

While CAE simulations have dramatically improved how the manufacturability of industrial products like for example the door of a car is assessed, the final decision on whether this door is actually manufacturable is still limited to the assessment of a small number of domain experts who need to assess the simulation results.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Higgidy to invest £10m at Shoreham HQ with view to doubling sales

Higgidy is to splash £10m on expanding and developing its Shoreham HQ, with the goal of doubling its revenue by 2027.

The upmarket savoury pastries brand intends to add new production equipment, expand the footprint of the site and upgrade its office spaces.

It also plans to make 75% of its product range veggie or vegan by 2022.

The investment followed increased demand for the brand’s products, fuelled by “consumers’ changing eating habits and the rise in flexitarian and vegan diets over the last 12 months” said Higgidy.  Read more via The Grocer

Gloss finish toasted as Crown Paints’ £4.4m expansion primes Hull plant for growth

A £4.4 million expansion of Hull’s Crown Paints manufacturing plant is complete.

The state-of-the-art raw material and packaging warehouse facility has been unveiled, with the investment providing an additional 4,265 sq m of storage.

It paves the way for future growth as operations are consolidated across the Sculcoates Lane site, freeing up space elsewhere.

Hull is the Danish-owned company’s major water-based paint production plant in the UK.  Read more via Business Live

Protolabs’ new vapour smoothing produces 3D printed parts with enhanced surface finish

Protolabs, the world’s leading digital manufacturer, has announced a major breakthrough with the launch of vapour smoothing for 3D printed parts.

The post-processing automated technology is a significant advancement for additive manufacturing because it further enhances a plastic part’s surface finish on even the most complex geometries. It is currently available for the commonly used nylon material PA-12, plus the elastic material TPU-01.

The process also improves a part’s mechanical properties with increased elongation at break and impact strength, whilst the sealed and smoother surfaces are also water/airtight and are easier to clean.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 20/1/2022

Airbus to hire 6,000 new workers in 2022, with UK plants expected to benefit

Airbus has announced plans to take on 6,000 extra staff over 2022 with sites at Broughton and Filton expected to benefit.

The aerospace giant was forced to cut the workforce when the pandemic hit as production levels were slashed.

Broughton saw its staff numbers fall from around 6,000 to just over 4,000.

But the company surpassed its 600 plane delivery target in 2021 and is now looking to increase production again.

It means around 6,000 new hires globally and with production increasing should mean more workers needed at the wing plant at Broughton.

They have not yet confirmed a breakdown of where the roles will be created – with more detail expected next month.  Read more via Business Live

PTC announces Servigistics expansion with the US Air Force

PTC, which operates extensively across the UK from its Farnborough base, has announced that the United States Air Force (USAF) is expanding its use of its Servigistics® Service Parts Management SaaS solution for its supply chain modernisation program, ESCAPE.

The expansion is a five-year definitive contract consisting of a one-year base period and four one-year options that are worth up to $95m if all options are exercised.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Brompton unveils first UK-made titanium fold-up bicycle

Brompton has launched its lightest ever bike, the T Line, which it claims is “a new benchmark for folding bikes in lightness, ride performance and robustness”

Weighing just 7.45kg and built around a precision engineered titanium frame, the British brand is hailing the T Line as a reinvention rather than a mere redesign of its iconic folding bike design. Previously its lightest offering was the P Line, which was released in November 2021 and weighs 9.65kg.  Read more via Cycling Weekly

Quantum computers could finally be made at large scale after huge scientific breakthrough

Quantum computers could finally be made at large scale after a number of major breakthroughs, the scientists behind them have announced.

The new research shows that it is possible to make robust and reliable silicon-based quantum computers, that would be compatible with the existing manufacturing technology we have.  Read more via Independent

Turkish Airlines ups its UK network with 2 new Manchester routes

Turkish Airlines has added to its UK network with its first-ever direct flights from Manchester to Antalya and Dalaman. Starting from April 1st, the carrier will offer a daily service to Antalya, with its daily Dalaman service launching on April 2nd. The two Turquoise Coast destinations will add to Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul service out of Manchester.  Read more via Simple Flying

British E-3D Sentry ‘AWACS’ aircraft to sold to Chile

A source close to the now-retired E-3D Sentry fleet has told the UK Defence Journal that Chile jas purchased retired E-3D aircraft from Britain.
One of the aircraft has already been sold to the United States, to be used as a dedicated trainer supporting its E-6B Mercury airborne communications and command post fleet.

The UK originally operated seven of the aircraft type. In December 2020, only three remained in service after one was withdrawn from service in 2009 to be used as spares, two were withdrawn in March 2019 and a further one withdrawn in January 2020.  Read more via UKDJ

Wednesday – 19/1/2022

NIS expansion puts it on track to support the rail sector’s 120,000 recruitment push

A Wolverhampton-based training provider is ramping up activities to help the rail sector meet an anticipated 120,000 staff shortfall.

National Infrastructure Solutions (NIS), launched by former youth international footballer and Royal Marine Commando Davie Carns, in 2018, is looking to support hundreds of local workers to retrain and upskill to take advantage of a ‘once in generation’ opportunity for the West Midlands.

The company, which is already working with huge industry employers such as Rhomberg Sersa and Amey Rail on industry-specific courses, is also the lead partner at the City of Wolverhampton College’s (CoWC) new rail training centre at its Wellington Road Campus in Bilston.

The facility is equipped with installation and maintenance equipment to support courses on conventional, high speed and light rail lines.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Brighouse manufacturer seeks new recruits for training programme

A Brighouse manufacturer has launched a recruitment drive for another six trainees.

Welded mesh manufacturer Siddall and Hilton Products has already recruited and trained seven trainee mesh operators in the last year, and recruited two additional administrative staff in the same timeframe.

But the firm, which is continuing to invest in upskilling local people, has announced that it plans to take on a further six trainee operators during 2022.  Read more via Telegraph & Argus

Devon model railway manufacturer expands factory space to keep up with demand

Peco at Beer has expanded its factory space to keep up with a global demand surge in its product.

The former indoor soft play area has had a complete refit to include more assembly lines, miniature welding, packing and printing stations for its model railway manufacturing line.

The new factory allows extra space for production staff to work. In late December more than half of the staff moved from the original factory which opened in the 1970s.  Read more via Midweek Herald

Plant-Ex invests £1.25m to grow natural colours and flavours business

Plant-Ex, a UK manufacturer of plant-derived natural colours and flavours, is investing €1.5 million (£1.25 million) into its business. The investment is intended to improve the services the company provides and increase customer satisfaction.

Founded in 2010, Plant-Ex has rapidly expanded from one employee to over 80 and is now active in 49 countries. Last year, the company added a new 18,000 square foot building at its main site in Avonmouth, containing four NPD laboratories for Natural Colours, Top Note Flavours, Extracts, and Food Protection Systems.

The building also contains a Development Kitchen. Additionally, Plant-Ex has doubled the size of its production site and finished goods dispatch warehouse, making it better able to meet rising demand.  Read more via Vegconomist

McLaren Automotive appoints Nick Crossley as UK market director

New McLaren Automotive UK market director Nick Crossley has said he is looking forward to working the supercar brand’s franchised retailers as it enters and “exciting new chapter”.

The Woking-based car manufacturer announced today (January 18) that Crossley would be “spearheading” sales and marketing operations in its home market after making the move from a role as its global head of brand marketing.

Crossley, who will report to Brett Soso – McLaren’s managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa – in his new role, first joined the business in 2017.  Read more via Automotive Management

UK upstart raises $100m in bid to digitize and standardize cell and gene therapy manufacturing

There’s a giant need for cell and gene therapy manufacturing options going forward, as companies move to invest massively into that space. Ori Biotech is the latest, as the UK-based biotech announced it has secured more than $100 million in its oversubscribed Series B funding round Tuesday.

Novalis LifeSciences led the round. The Boston-based company is led by chairman Marijn Dekkers and partner Paul Meister, who built Thermo Fisher Scientific. Dekkers went on to become the CEO of Bayer, and is currently also the chairman at Ginkgo Bioworks.  Read more via Endpoints News

Tuesday – 18/1/2022

Scottish government raises £700m with offshore windfarm auction

The Scottish government has raised £700m by auctioning seabed plots which can be used to build offshore windfarms.

Big oil and renewable energy companies, which hope to build next generation windfarms off the Scottish coast, were among the bidders in the country’s biggest ever seabed plot auction.

BP and Shell, as well as renewable energy companies Scottish Power and SSE, are just some of the firms that successfully secured permission from Crown Estate Scotland to lease the seabed. They plan to build enough windfarms to generate 25GW – well above the expected auction outcome of 10GW and enough to power the equivalent of 23 million UK homes a year.  Read more via The Manufacturer

West Midlands charges into the future with a new Gigafactory

A new massive facility in the West Midlands that will boost electric vehicle battery production has received the green light from local authorities.

Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council have consented to plans for the new plant.

It is predicted that around £2.5bn will be spent on the construction of the 530,000 square-metre gigafactory which is predicted to create up to 6,000 jobs in Coventry, Warwickshire and the surrounding areas.

With its production being planned to start in 2035, the factory will manufacture lithium-ion batteries for vehicles and energy storage systems.

The gigafactory is predicted to have capacity to deliver up to 60GWh by the end of the decade.  Read more via Energy Live News

Black Country manufacturer secures £250,000 to scale up operations and create new jobs

A Black Country manufacturer has secured a £250,000 loan to scale up its operations and create more than a dozen new jobs.

Solutions by Jigsaw will use the finance from The Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) to help it introduce new products to UK and European markets – and create 20 new jobs over the next three years.

The Halesowen company manufactures, designs and installs infrared heating systems to replace traditional gas boiler central heating in homes and businesses.  Read more via Business Live

Boeing welcomes third group of startups to UK-based accelerator

Boeing is welcoming 10 new companies to join the third cohort of Aerospace Xelerated, its UK-based startup accelerator whose first two groups have gone on to raise more than £50m in additional funding and create more than 100 jobs across the country.

Startups using artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous technology to solve key challenges across aerospace and defense were chosen among 148 applications from around the world for the 12-week program. The startups will benefit from an optional £100,000 equity investment from Boeing, introductions to a network of investors and the wider industry. A Boeing-themed week of meetings and workshops began yesterday.  Read more via 3D Printing Media Network

£100,000 digital marketing investment builds on sales boom for Conservatory Outlet

A leading home improvement product supplier has pressed the button on an £100,000 digital marketing drive to help its UK-wide network of retailers enjoy a strong 2022.

Wakefield-based Conservatory Outlet is working with DigitalKOG to develop the latest lead generation focused websites that will be tailored to all 27 retailers that exclusively sell their conservatories, extensions, doors, windows, and orangeries.

These sites will feature enhanced product collections, improved navigation to support the customer journey and a clearer insight into company values, including what makes them different, quality standards, manufacturing processes and helpful guides.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 17/1/2022

UK manufacturers feel the pay pressure from rising inflation

British manufacturers have offered higher pay deals to staff but many others are holding off on settlements as they monitor fast-rising inflation and get ready for higher minimum wages and a tax hike, industry group MakeUK said on Monday.

Only 2% of the companies which took part in a MakeUK survey have frozen pay this year, way down from around a third of them a year ago.

Most pay increases ranged between 2% and 3%, below the recent pace of inflation, but went as high as 14% in some cases.

However, around 45% of companies said they had yet to agree a pay deal, up from about 30% this time last year.  Read more via Yahoo Finance

R&D investment pays off as AWI launches new ‘high performance’ alloy

One of the UK’s leading manufacturers of round, flat and profile wire is starting the new year in style by introducing a new alloy to its expanding range.

Alloy Wire International (AWI), which supplies to more than 5,000 customers across the world, has seen investment in its R&D programme pay off with the launch of INCONEL: 617®, a Chromium-Cobalt-Molybdenum alloy aluminium.  Read more via The Manufacturer

New £4m investment in Shapfell kiln boosts energy efficiency in steel supply chain

The refurbishment of a major lime-making kiln at Tata Steel’s Shapfell site in Cumbria, UK, will allow for the more efficient and sustainable supply of critical steelmaking material to the Port Talbot steelworks.

Tata Steel manufactures lime at its Cumbrian facility from UK-quarried limestone. Lime is used to improve the quality of steel as well as removing impurities during steelmaking.

The £4m investment to reline Shapfell’s Kiln 4 took 10 months to complete and allowed it to start producing again after being mothballed since 2016. Over a 12-year period, Kiln 4 will produce nearly 1.5 million tonnes of calcium-rich lime products.  Read more via Tata Steel

Gateshead gluten free biscuit maker Northumbrian Fine Foods hails sales rise in pandemic

North East biscuit maker Northumbrian Fine Foods has toasted a successful year after managing to continue manufacturing sweet treats during the first year of the pandemic.

The Gateshead company makes supermarket own-label biscuits and brand products at its Team Valley base, and over the last 80-plus years has grown to become the UK’s largest gluten-free and milk-free sweet biscuit manufacturer.

The firm, which was acquired by French firm Biscuit International in 2018, has now published accounts for 2020, demonstrating how it altered its factory working systems at the start of the pandemic to keep biscuits rolling off the production line – and how increasing public biscuit consumption boosted its results.  Read more via Business Live

London most productive region in the UK

London is over 50% more productive than any other region in the UK, according to new research by Durham University Business School.

In light of the UK Government’s plans to level-up the rest of the UK to ensure little disparity between regions for work, wages and opportunities, the study suggests there’s a long way to go to level-up the rest of the UK in terms of productivity.  Read more via Durham University Business School

Bullet-proofing supply chains is a top priority for manufacturing bosses in 2022

Strengthening supply chains is a priority for nearly two thirds (64%) of manufacturing pros, according to research from Digital Catapult.

Manufacturers also set out their digital ambitions for the new year, as advanced digital technology quickly emerges as an answer to supply chain afflictions – including businesses grappling with parts and materials shortages, sudden factory shutdowns and unfinished products, and consumers facing long queues, late deliveries and even empty shelves.

Manufacturing leaders selected supply chain crises as the top reason why manufacturers need to innovate their business models in 2022, while over half (51%) said that building more data-driven supply chains was the greatest opportunity to make their organisation more resilient and sustainable over the next 12 months.  Read more via Digital Catapult

Friday – 14/1/2022

The National Manufacturing Summit 2022: Leading the UK’s charge to net zero

Taking place 8-9 February, The National Manufacturing Summit will return for its second edition in 2022, with this year’s iteration focusing on achieving a net zero future.

The summit will bring together the many voices of manufacturing industry to help create a vision of partnership and collaboration, driven by emerging technologies, to ensure our world-class industries can innovate to meet the challenges ahead and deliver a successful, sustainable future.  Read more via The Manufacturer

TSMC plans record investment in chip manufacturing expansion

Chip-manufacturing company TSMC reported a record Q4, with a 16.4% rise in profit. The company expects record chip demand in the coming years and is going ahead with its 2021 plan for a $100bn (£72.8bn) expansion of its facilities.

TSMC has earmarked $40-$44bn (£29-£32bn) in 2022 order for increasing its manufacturing capabilities – that’s up from $30bn (£21.8bn) in 2021. TSMC is the largest chip manufacturer in the world and is the main manufacturer for Apple and Qualcomm, among others.  Read more via GSM Arena

UK glass industry calls on government to support manufacturers against spiraling energy costs

The UK glass industry is once again calling on government to support UK manufacturers against spiraling energy costs after a complete lack of action from ministers has left businesses fighting to stay afloat.

Manufacturers have seen their gas and energy prices quadruple and triple respectively over the last year and their Carbon Compliance costs increase from lows of £16 in 2020 to a high point of over £80 per allowance in 2021.

Glass is a relatively low-price material and due to high sunk costs, tight margins and limited ability to change operations in the short term, the rapid increase in energy prices means that production costs will soon outstrip the product value. UK companies are also paying more for their energy than those in the EU, putting them at a competitive disadvantage.  Read more via British Glass

DispatchTrack accelerates global expansion with new UK headquarters

DispatchTrack has announced new UK headquarters and further operational growth throughout EMEA and APAC.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of DispatchTrack’s massive expansion in Latin America with the acquisition of Beetrack, a logistics software provider in the region, and adding a further 850 customers across 20 Latin American countries.  Read more via The Manufacturer

UK road freight rates hit three-year high amid challenges of Brexit and Covid

UK road freight rates have hit their highest level in three years, according to the latest data from haulage booking platform and analytics firm Transport Exchange Group (TEG).

The December reading of the TEG road transport price index showed haulage rates reached nearly 140, compared with a base of 100 in January 2019, representing a 5.3% increase between November and December last year, as seasonal demand reached its annual high.  Read more via The Loadstar

Smart motorway rollout to be paused as government responds to Transport Committee report

The rollout of new smart motorway schemes will be paused until a full 5 years’ worth of safety data is available, as the Department for Transport (DfT) invests £900 million to improve safety on existing all lane running (ALR) motorways.

In line with the Transport Committee’s most recent recommendations, the rollout of new ALR smart motorways will be paused until a full 5 years’ worth of safety data becomes available for schemes introduced before 2020. After this point, the government will assess the data and make an informed decision on next steps.  Read more via GOV.UK

The Joedan Group marks 35 years in business with new jobs and exciting expansion plans

One of Gloucestershire’s leading home improvement specialists is celebrating 35 years in business in style after it created 32 jobs to cope with a demand in its products and services.

The Joedan Group, which is part of the Conservatory Outlet retail network, has seen sales increase by 25% since lockdown eased and has recently announced ambitious expansion plans to boost turnover to £25m by 2026.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 13/1/2022

Four cleantech companies to watch in 2o22

Digital Catapult has selected four startups to work alongside giants of Indian industry to transform the future of net zero manufacturing and supply chains, as part of its Industrial Net Zero cohort for FutureScope, the new home for startup and scaleup acceleration.

In the first of its kind from Digital Catapult, the Build UK – India programme has been designed to partner UK cleantech startups that are developing net zero solutions for industry, with Indian corporations including Tata Steel, Johnson Matthey and Godrej Aerospace.

The startups will work closely with technology and business experts from Digital Catapult, before receiving grant funding of up to £45,000 to build demonstrators in response to challenges set by the industrial partners.  Read more via TM.com

UK businesses report doubling of staff absences as Omicron cases surge

UK businesses are grappling with staff absences of about double their usual level as the Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the UK — but surveys indicate the disruption is more likely to raise costs than halt production.

The CBI business group said its members were reporting staff absence rates of about 10 to 15% on average across the country, well above the five to six percent usual for January, with higher levels in some parts of hospitality and retail, and in virus hotspots where cases were most prevalent.

But while sickness has put an acute strain on parts of the public sector — hospitals and schools, in particular — the CBI said most larger companies would be able to cope by hiring temporary workers, putting off non-essential work and making do with lower staffing levels — provided the number of workers self-isolating did not rise to a tipping point.  Read more via FT.com

How to combat the STEM skills shortage

The UK is experiencing a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills shortage. Fifty percent of engineering firms find it difficult to recruit and retain staff with the skills and knowledge necessary for the job. In response to this, the government is investing millions of pounds into STEM education. This means mechanical engineering will be more accessible for aspiring scientists from all backgrounds.

As of March 2021, the average salary for an entry-level Mechanical Engineering role in the UK is £36,092, ranging between £25,429 and £43,111. With the investments in STEM education and the 10% rise in wages, there has never been a better time to embark on a mechanical engineering course.  Read more via TM.com

Industry associations give conditional approval for UK regulator’s sustainability disclosures proposals

Industry associations have offered conditional approval of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s discussion paper proposals on sustainability disclosures.

The FCA published a discussion paper in November last year asking for industry feedback on its proposed new disclosures and labelling regime for asset managers and regulated asset owners as part of its Sustainable Disclosure Requirements (SDR).

“Without common standards, clear terminology and accessible product classification and labelling, there is also a risk that consumers find it difficult to navigate the landscape of products and assess product suitability,” said the FCA in November.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) has welcomed the proposals, suggesting that they will give clients a more holistic understanding on how sustainability risk is managed, however, has also submitted amendments including the suggestion that binary distinctions between “transitioning” and “aligned” investments should be avoided to foster a more “enabling environment” and increase investment in the most essential net zero transitioning companies. — Read more via The Trade

LG Energy Solution IPO to fuel manufacturing capacity expansion on three continents

LG Energy Solution will use proceeds from its initial public offering (IPO) this month to feed into growing the company’s manufacturing capacity significantly in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

The energy storage and battery division of LG Chem held a press conference on Monday online to discuss the IPO, through which it will list shares worth more than US$10 billion on the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI).

In addition to opening new facilities and expanding existing production bases, the company is also making its lines lower cost and more efficient, with higher levels of automation. Big data and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will be key to this, LG Energy Solution said. — Read more via Energy Storage News

MTC to help Australian green energy company with the production of green hydrogen

Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) says it is supporting Australian Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) in its effort to produce 15m tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030.

In order to achieve net-zero targets, green hydrogen technology is becoming increasingly popular across industries to improve future manufacturing.

FFI is aiming to build a portfolio of renewable hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar assets globally.

MTC will use its innovative research to support FFI’s growth agenda to help renewable green hydrogen become globally available and affordable by the end of the decade. The key to this is the establishment of production capability.  Read more via The Business Desk

COVID disruption to maintain stranglehold on global supply chains

Experts are urging companies to prepare for further disruption in Asia as Covid-19-related absenteeism, power cuts and ongoing container shortages continue to impact global supply chains.

Even though China’s manufacturing centres were able to bounce back in 2020 after the country was initially shut down due to the initial Covid-19 outbreak, power outages, a shortage of shipping containers — and of truck drivers — caused manufacturing to decline in 2021.

And the situation is unlikely to let up in 2022, supply chain experts believe.  Read more via CIPS

Gosport company LFD is a guiding light for the UK’s largest onshore helicopter manufacturer

Gosport-based manufacturer LFD is acting as a major contributor to the success of the UK’s largest onshore helicopter manufacturer Leonardo, by providing state-of-the-art LED technology for night vision goggles for its AW149 helicopter.

The AW149 helicopter is a medium multi-role helicopter that Leonardo is putting forward for the UK government’s New Medium Helicopter requirement, which will see the UK Armed Forces replacing four helicopter types by mid-2025.

In September last year, Leonardo announced the formation of ‘Team AW149’, comprising its onshore supply chain for the AW149 helicopter, of which LFD is a member. Featuring more than 70 companies from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Leonardo said the companies are representative of the best in British manufacturing with the provision of core technology for the AW149.  Read more via Portsmouth News

MTL Advanced to supply steel for UK MOD vehicles

Rotherham-based contract manufacturing specialist MTL Advanced has been selected to supply armoured steel for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Boxer Armoured Vehicle Programme.

The multi-year, multimillion-pound contract was awarded jointly by WFEL and parent company KMW.

The armoured material will be used in the Boxer vehicle hull assembly, which will be fabricated at WFEL’s specialist Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in Stockport.

MTL Advanced has invested more than £2m in new capital equipment to help support the project and meet increased demand.  Read more via Insider Media

Wednesday – 12/1/2022

Michael Gove clashes with Treasury over bid to boost manufacturing

Michael Gove has clashed with the Treasury over plans to overhaul British manufacturing because of concerns about the costs involved, in a blow to his levelling up agenda. Read more via The Daily Telegraph

Millions awarded to support aerospace upturn

Grant funding worth over £2m has been awarded so far to Midlands-based aerospace SMEs, or companies seeking to diversify into the sector, as part of the Aerospace Unlocking Potential (UP) programme which has been working at pace to support the upturn of aerospace in the region.

Aerospace UP is a £20m three-year programme (2020 to 2022) being delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). More than 100 companies have received support so far from the programme to help them regrow, not only in the form of grants, but also academic expertise, student placements and specialist workshops covering future requirements and opportunities in the sector. Read more via Aerospace Manufacturing

Rolls-Royce fighter jet deal with Japan will secure jobs in Filton

It has been revealed that jobs in Bristol will be generated via a deal between the UK and Japan which looks to develop a joint jet engine demonstrator.

At least 50 jobs at Filton’s Rolls-Royce base will be supported by an agreement that will see the British aerospace giant collaborate with Tokyo-headquartered engineering firm IHI Corporation.

The total number of jobs is expected to increase from 2023 subject to the output of the programmes first phase, which will look to establish the demonstrator design requirements and associated collaboration arrangements. Read more via Bristol 247

Boeing snatches Airbus crown on adjusted order basis

US plane manufacturer Boeing has snatched Airbus’s crown as the world’s largest aircraft maker on an adjusted order basis.

While the European plane maker remains the world’s largest manufacturer for the number of planes delivered, the Seattle-based company ended the year with 535 net orders while Airbus’s total amounted to 507.

Boeing’s deliveries – which met analysts expectations – were up 116 per cent compared with 2020, going up from 157 to 340 orders, while remaining down on 2019 levels. Read more via CITY A.M.

Plans for electric battery factory at Coventry Airport approved by district council

Plans to build an electric car battery factory at Coventry Airport have been given the go ahead by Warwick District Council’s planning committee.

After a four-hour planning meeting councillors approved a recommendation that will see Coventry Airport levelled and a 125-hectare gigafactory built.

In approving the plans, the council has given special permission for the factory to be built on green belt land.

Both public speakers and councillors raised concerns about possible hazards and health risks to local residents.

But in response WDC Development Manager Gary Fisher said: “A planning permission is only part of the jigsaw. One of the other key elements is the Hazardous Substances Consent. Read more via Kenilworth Nub News

New spinout from University of Birmingham and Imperial College London aims to speed up battery development

The University of Birmingham and Imperial College London have set up a new spinout, About:Energy, to commercialise a battery modelling capability that will increase the speed of battery prototype development. Read more via The University of Birmingham

GKN Aerospace to supply new Gulfstream G800 and G400 business jets

GKN Aerospace has been selected as a supplier on Gulfstream’s new Gulfstream G800 and Gulfstream G400 business jets.

GKN Aerospace is using its highly developed capability in design and manufacture of business jet empennages and aerostructures on the advanced aircraft. The rudder and elevators from the empennage, in addition to the floorboards, will all feature the latest thermoplastic technology. GKN Aerospace also produces the metal bonded fuselage panels for the body of the new G800 aircraft, as well as the aluminum machined wing skins for the G400. Read more via ADS Advance

Tuesday – 11/1/2022

Manufacturers see positive outlook for 2022 – Make UK/PwC survey

Britain’s manufacturers are more positive about the growth outlook as they enter 2022, with greater confidence in the prospects for their own companies than either the global or UK economies, according to a major survey published today by Make UK and PwC.

The 2022 Make UK/PwC Senior Executive survey shows the scale of uncertainty facing business in the current turbulent global environment, with more than half of companies saying the biggest challenges facing them had changed in the last twelve months. Their optimism is also tempered by escalating inflationary pressures and access to, as well as retaining, talent and key skills which are by far the biggest issues companies are having to address. Read more via Make UK

£250,000 ‘Worcester Presses’ investment helps Cotmor move forward with ambitious expansion plans

A £250,000 investment drive with Worcester Presses is helping a leading Black Country metal pressing specialist take advantage of new domestic and reshoring opportunities.

Cotmor Tool & Presswork, which employs 16 people at its Brierley Hill factory, has seen sales soar to £2m following the easing of lockdown and is now setting its sights on an additional £1m of orders over the next 12 months.

The company has formed a strategic partnership with the nearby press supplier to capitalise on this growth and this has resulted in the installation of two 110 tonne and one 160 tonne Chin Fong machines. Read more via The Manufacturer

Innovate UK announces £4.5m PEMD competition

Innovate UK, part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), has announced a new funding competition aimed at putting the UK at the forefront of power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) manufacturing and supply chains.

Interested organisations can apply for a share of the £4.5m by submitting an expression of interest (EOI) ahead of the March 2 deadline.

Companies must deliver a “clear game-changing intervention or address a clear industrial requirement” while providing a long-term commitment to supporting the UK PEMD industry talent need. Read more via KTN

Stoke-on-Trent manufacturer secures six-figure funding package for HQ expansion plan

A major Stoke-on-Trent employer secured a six-figure funding package to help it build a huge new factory.

IAE – which manufactures livestock handling equipment, equestrian stabling, steel fencing and shelters – is in the process of building a new production facility and visitor centre at its Adderley Green headquarters as part of a £15m expansion.

The project will see a 103,000 sq ft production facility and 50,000 sq. ft. visitor centre constructed at its Mossfield Road site, while a second phase will see a new powder coating factory built at the bottom end of the development site. Read more via Business Live

Industry urged to be COSHH compliant as inspection programme continues into 2022

Manufacturing and engineering companies are being urged to ensure they are COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) compliant by one of the UK’s leading oil mist extraction experts.

Telford-based Filtermist Systems Limited is making its customers and the wider industry aware that The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is continuing to run its Fabricated Metals inspection programme until at least March this year.

Inspectors are paying particular attention to exposure to metalworking fluids and welding fume – both of which can cause several occupational illnesses, including respiratory and skin conditions.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 10/1/2022

Student design aims to make cleaning water reusable for deprived communities

A student’s design which aims to filter washing machine water and make it reusable for people in deprived communities and regions has won an international award and funding.

Coventry University student Joe Baker, aged 20, entered DesignSpark’s People Planet Product competition as part of the Washing Machine Project – an initiative aiming to make low-tech washing machines accessible to low-income communities with limited access to water and electricity.

In large parts of countries such as India, clothes have to be washed by hand, which can be hugely time-consuming, tiring and inefficient. The idea behind Joe’s design and the Washing Machine Project is to ease the burden of washing clothes, so people can devote more time to things like education. Read more via The Manufacturer

ABB and UK Power Networks switch to a sustainable future

UK Power Networks has commissioned ABB to supply the world’s first 36kV medium-voltage double busbar AirPlus Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS). It features AirPlus gas, which acts as an insulator between the electrical contacts with almost zero global warming impact.

As part of its Environmental Action Plan to pass on a sustainable planet for future generations, the UK’s biggest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks has announced plans to use AirPlus, ABB’s innovative sustainable alternative to SFswitchgear, at its substation in Kent.

As Europe moves towards tighter regulation on the traditional gas (SF6,) used in switchgear, ABB’s AirPlus provides a compelling eco alternative. – Read more via The Manufacturer

Friday – 7/1/2022

UK exporters to South Korea tie up deals worth ‘tens of millions’

UK exporters to South Korea have landed deals they estimate to be worth over £70 million following support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

UK-made products ranging from hydrogen fuel cells and offshore wind technology to lifejackets will be supplied to the South Korean market through deals made at DIT-supported trade shows in South Korea.

In fact, UK exports to this fast-growing nation increased by 9% (or £620 million) in the year to June 2021 compared to the same period the previous year. — Read more via GOV.UK

Covid stalls 2021 UK new car market but record EV sales show future direction

2021 new car registrations grew by a marginal 1.0% on a pandemic-ravaged 2020, as 1.65 million new cars entered the UK market, according to new figures released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The figures underline the ongoing impact of Covid and the semiconductor shortage on the industry, with the market down -28.7% on pre-pandemic 2019, representing the second worst year since 1992. — Read more via SMMT

£500,000 advanced skills boost for West Midlands manufacturers

Hundreds of workers across the West Midlands are being given the opportunity to upskill thanks to a new initiative by The Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology (IoT).

Companies can now access specialist training for members of staff aged 19+ on one of three Level 4 technical courses in Automated Machining, Robotics and Quality Assurance.

The £500,000 In-Work Skills pilot, which will be delivered at the Marches spoke of the IOT at In-Comm Training in Telford, is free of charge and can be completed part-time and in modules giving both staff and employers complete flexibility. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Toyota to remanufacture cars up to three times in UK

Toyota will begin comprehensively refreshing ex-customer cars at its UK manufacturing facility as part of a drive to add value to vehicles throughout their life cycles.

Agustín Martín, president and managing director of Toyota GB, gave Autocar the first details of a new process that Toyota will implement as part of its new fleet-focused mobility sub-brand, Kinto. He said: “We need to stretch the way we look at life for both the vehicle and the customer. — Read more via Autocar

Detectamet beats PPE supply issues by manufacturing in-house

UK food safety business Detectamet has tackled personal protective equipment (PPE) supply issues by heavily investing the production of its own protective gear.

The company’s investment will allow it to manufacture its own detectable and non-detectable non-woven mob caps and beard snoods. By manufacturing PPE in house, Detectamet hoped to significantly reduce lead times for its customers and be far less reliant on overseas suppliers – and consequently, less vulnerable to shipping delays. — Read more via Food manufacture

Thursday – 6/1/2022

North East drone specialist flying high after manufacturing facility investment

A North East drone specialist is scaling new heights after investing heavily in its own manufacturing facility.

heliguy™, based in North Shields, has established itself as a go-to drone supplier for clients across the globe since its launch in 2006.

The company started life as a retailer of remote-controlled helicopters but has since grown into a full-service drone specialist, providing drones, bespoke accessories, servicing, repairs, custom integrations, product development, drone pilot training and end-to-end workflow support.

This expansion of its services – and the establishing of a dedicated manufacturing hub at its Orion Business Park base – has not only led to the company onboarding more clients, but also more staff, with its headcount in North Shields now at 28. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Derbyshire Covid test kit manufacturer creating 1,000 jobs

A Covid-19 test kit manufacturer hopes to create 1,000 new jobs at its new East Midlands operation.

Derby-based SureScreen Diagnostics is looking for production and assembly staff, warehouse workers and technicians for a factory on the Sherwood Business Park, near junction 27 of the M1, in Notts.

There are already about 300 people based at the site with manufacturing being scaled up after the government ordered tens of millions of 30 minute lateral flow tests. — Read more via Business Live

Blackburn pet firm’s expansion hopes to create 60 jobs

A booming Blackburn business is proposing a major expansion creating 60 jobs.

Pets Choice has submitted a planning application for a new warehouse, industrial unit and shop at its Lower Philips Road base on the Whitebirk Industrial Estate.

The expansion of its site is to accommodate the transfer of production to Blackburn from Germany and France and aims to create 60 new full-time jobs. — Read more via Lancashire Telegraph

Ideal Heating to open £1m green tech training centre

Leading boiler manufacturer Ideal Heating is opening a £1m state-of-the-art training centre focusing on renewable energy.

The 15,000 sq ft training centre at Bridgehead business park will open in the spring and welcome thousands of installers from across the UK to the region to learn new skills as the industry transitions from traditional gas boilers to greener alternatives.

The new site will be one of the first training centres in the UK to focus primarily on green technology and will house specially-designed equipment to deliver high quality and in-depth training, including a fully functioning live heat pump training suite. — Read more via The Hull Story

Go-Ahead selects Air Products as partner for pioneering hydrogen bus fleet

Public transport company The Go-Ahead Group has agreed a 15-year hydrogen supply deal with Air Products, a world leading industrial gas company, to power a fleet of fuel cell buses for deployment in the Gatwick Airport, Crawley and Horley area.

The single-decker GB Kite Hydroliner buses, manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland, will be delivered in June 2022. They will be the first hydrogen powered vehicles in Go-Ahead’s fleet of more than 6,000 buses. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Wednesday – 5/1/2022

UK manufacturing industry ends the year on the up

The UK manufacturing upturn continued as 2021 came to a close, data released on Tuesday showed.

According to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI, manufacturing output, new orders and employment all rose in December. The release outlined how the manufacturing industry’s expansion would have been even stronger had it not been for continuing logistic disruptions and staff shortages.

Nevertheless, a slight easing in supply chain delays helped boost output volumes and reduce some of the heat from input price increases. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Construction begins on mega-factory at Horizon 120 business park in Braintree

A new 137,000 sq. ft. build-off-site factory with robotic assembly lines is being built at Horizon 120 business park in Braintree by British Offsite. The mega-factory is scheduled to be completed and open by late 2022.

The mega-factory will offer:

  • the latest in high-tech off-site manufacturing
  • just-in-time automotive manufacturing standards
  • high levels of robotics on the assembly points

The British Offsite factory and facility at Horizon 120 business park will help the local economy by employing up to 80 people. — Read more via pbc today

Recruitment drive continues at leading bus manufacturer Wrightbus

A recruitment drive is continuing into the New Year at Ballymena-based Wrightbus as it looks forward to a positive year ahead.

The world-leading bus manufacturer is looking to recruit to roles across the factory – including office-based roles, as it gets set to double production next year.

An open evening will be held for prospective candidates on Thursday January 6, from 5.30-8pm, where people can have a look around the factory and find out more about the roles on offer. — Read more via Belfast News Letter

British Lithium produces first lithium carbonate

In what is believed to be a world first, British Lithium has produced lithium at pilot scale from the mica in granite in its new pilot plant near Roche.

Funded by Innovate UK, the pilot plant has taken just seven months to design and build and uses patented technology in a sustainable production process.

The pilot plant design is based on four years’ intensive research and development and is the latest milestone in British Lithium’s progress towards full operational status. All UK car manufacturing will convert to electric vehicles by 2030 and lithium carbonate is a key component in the batteries required to power them. — Read more via The Falmouth Packet

Capgemini announced as sponsor and judge of the TMMX Awards 2022 Young Manufacturer of the Year category

The Manufacturer is pleased to announce that Capgemini will be sponsoring and judging the category of Young Manufacturer of the Year at the TMMX Awards 2022, which will be held as part of Digital Manufacturing Week in Liverpool from 14-18 November.

The current ageing workforce, and lack of young people entering the sector, has been well documented and is a key concern for most manufacturers. With the advance towards digitalisation, there is a whole raft of burgeoning skills that manufacturers will need in abundance over the coming decades – and those will need to come from a talent pool that simply is not there at present. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 4/1/2022

Manufacturing Skills Academy launches pandemic recovery package to help upskill Scots, boost innovation

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland’s Manufacturing Skills Academy has announced a new scheme that will support manufacturing businesses with the upskilling of their workforces, as well as improving their knowledge of the funding landscape, as they recover and grow following the pandemic.

As part of the campaign, the Manufacturing Skills Academy will help manufacturers take advantage of new market opportunities as Scotland continues its COVID-19 response and recovery. By highlighting the skills required for emerging manufacturing sectors, including roles within green sectors, the team will help employers and employees upskill and diversify while working to futureproof businesses so that jobs exist after the immediate COVID recovery phase. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Leading rubber hose manufacturer moves to new home as part of significant expansion

A leading rubber hose manufacturer has moved to Alcester following a major expansion.

Goodflex Rubber, which manufactures and supplies rubber hoses, mouldings and assemblies, has moved its entire operation to a larger location in Alcester.

The company and its 38 employees has swapped its former 8,000 square foot site in Honeybourne for a new 32,000 square foot facility.

It comes as the firm has invested over £500,000 in the move following a 70 per cent increase in revenue over the last three years. — Read more via Redditch & Alcester Advertiser

Experts manufacture pioneering flow meter technology

Pioneering advancements made to one of the world’s most commonly used flow meters will dramatically improve fluid flow measurement readings across a wide range of industries.

Venturi flow meters are used extensively in the measurement of gas and other low viscosity fluids, such as hot water, solvents and fuels, and are a proven technology due to their ease of use and robustness.

A team of flow and temperature measurement experts at McMenon Engineering Services, based in Cumbria, have now adapted the existing technology to improve the accuracy of measurement readings of high viscosity fluids, for example bitumen, glycerin and syrup, to be used across more sectors, including drilling, heavy fuel oil and even food and drink. — Read more via McMenon Engineering Services

Applications now open for 2022 Rolls-Royce apprenticeship programme

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is offering a record number of places on its apprenticeship programme for 2022. Applications are now open for a total of 37 places, making this the largest intake since the scheme’s inception in 2006.

The number of places available is up by more than 15% on the previous record set in 2020, reflecting the company’s strong business performance, new model launches, including Ghost and its Black Badge variant, and the advent of a new generation of all-electric vehicles headed by the recently-announced Spectre. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

UK and Japan to develop future fighter jet engine demonstrator

The UK and Japan announce plans to develop a future fighter aircraft engine demonstrator and agree to explore further combat air technologies.

Work on the joint engine demonstrator will kickstart early next year, with the UK investing an initial £30m in planning, digital designs and innovative manufacturing developments.

A further £200m of UK funding is expected to go towards developing a full-scale demonstrator power system, supporting hundreds of highly skilled jobs, including many at Rolls-Royce’s Filton facility in Bristol. — Read more via GOV UK

Thursday – 30/12/2021

Northvolt rolls out Europe’s first ‘gigafactory-era’ car battery

Electric cars have gone mainstream in Europe – they accounted for nearly a fifth of all car purchases in the UK last month. Yet one piece has been missing up to now: European batteries.

That is now changing. On Tuesday night, Northvolt, a startup, produced its first lithium ion battery cell at a plant in northern Sweden. It is the first of a series of new factories that investors hope will allow Europe to carve out a big proportion of the electric vehicle market – and weaken the stranglehold built up by manufacturers in China, Japan and Korea. — Read more via The Guardian

Tesco powers into the new year with the UK’s first commercial electric articulated HGVs

Tesco will power into the new year by launching the UK’s first commercially used fully electric heavy freight articulated trucks. Two new 37 tonne DAF electric vehicles will transport food and other products from Wentloog rail terminal outside Cardiff to Tesco’s distribution centre in Magor, Wales, in partnership with logistics and international freight forwarding company FSEW.

These first two lorries will replace around 65,000 diesel-fuelled road miles with clean green energy, removing 87.4 tonnes of CO2e per year. To power the new service FSEW has installed charging points at its site in South Wales that provide enough energy to power these large vehicles for 100 miles before needing to charge again. At around 30 miles each way the Wentloog – Magor journey is an ideal location to understand the potential and range of these lorries for use throughout the UK and elsewhere in Tesco’s fleet. — Read more via Tesco

Rivian UK gigafactory: Everything we know amid plans for £1bn Somerset electric car plant

A huge £1bn gigafactory could be coming to Somerset amid urgent government discussions with a US car giant.

Rivian, a Californian electric vehicle firm valued at more than $100bn, is considering a 635-acre smart campus called Gravity in Puriton, near Bridgwater, as a base for a new factory.

The relatively new car company, which specialises in SUV-type vehicles, has not entered full-scale production yet, but is lining up a new plant outside of the USA.

The proposed Somerset gigafactory would be the largest single building in the UK if it is built, and the deal would be the most significant car deal in the UK since the 1980s, a source close to the discussions previously told Somerset Live , creating up to 40,000 new direct and indirect jobs. — Read more via Somerset Live

James Webb Space Telescope launch celebrated by UK

The once-in-a-generation James Webb Space Telescope has launched, with scientists and engineers across the UK playing a vital role in the mission.

The telescope, known as ‘Webb’, blasted off from the Arianespace spaceport in French Guiana on 25 December 2021 at 12:20 pm – the culmination of decades of scientific collaboration.

The mission is led by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency, with the UK playing a major role by leading the European consortium, which designed, built and tested one of the four main science instruments, working closely with partners in the US. — Read more via UK Space Agency

Arrival Bus proving ground trials begin in UK ahead of Q2 2022 production

Arrival’s flagship Bus EV has begun proving ground testing in the UK before entering full production in 2022. The Arrival Bus marks the first of several electric vehicles in the pipeline for the company which will be manufactured and operated in the UK and US, as well as the European Union.

Arrival is a technology company specializing in electric vehicles, particularly vans and buses. In addition to headquarters in London, Arrival has recently expanded into the US, setting up a North American HQ in Charlotte, NC alongside a Van microfactory on the city’s west side. — Read more via electrek

Wednesday – 22/12/2021

West Midlands leads post-pandemic manufacturing recovery as exports surge

The West Midlands is leading the post-pandemic manufacturing boom, according to new analysis from the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the organisation bringing world-leading manufacturing technologies from research to reality.

HMRC trade statistics show that manufacturing exports from the West Midlands rose 65% in Q2 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier, the biggest increase of all the UK regions. It was followed by the North West and East of England, which saw gains of 62% and 58% respectively. The national average was 32%.

The West Midlands exported manufactured goods, machinery and transport, and miscellaneous manufactures worth £5.4bn, up from £3.2bn in the previous year. However, the West Midlands manufacturing sector is yet to bounce back fully from the pandemic, operating at 82% of pre-pandemic exports. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Delivery vehicle manufacturer expands capacity with new production facility

Lancashire-based Solomon Commercials has opened its seventh new factory to enhance existing capacity levels and meet rising demand in production.
The new 35,000 sq ft facility, which is now fully operational, will be based in Darwen. It will be focused on manufacturing delivery vehicles that operate in the dot.com or online shopping sector.

Solomon’s new facility now means that the firm has over 240,000 sq. ft of production facilities that produce more than 3,500 vehicles each year. The new Darwen production will be staffed by an 80-strong workforce, with Scott Atheis as factory manager. — Read more via Solomon Commercials

Swindon green firm to turn house waste into fuel with new UK factories

A Swindon company dedicated to finding and providing green solutions has entered into a partnership with a biofuel business to develop, construct and operate up to five waste-based biofuel plants in the UK.

Advanced Biofuel Solutions (ABSL) which was founded in March 2019 and is based in South Marston has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Greenergy, Europe’s largest manufacturer of biodiesel from waste.

The plants will see the two firms aim to turn household waste into fuel for green vehicles. — Read more via Swindon Advertiser

Renault UK brings in new MD at ‘pivotal’ time for the carmaker

Vincent Tourette is leaving the role of country head and managing director for Renault UK to work elsewhere with the carmaker.

His replacement is Guillaume Sicard, who joins the Maple Cross-based national sales company on January 1 from his current role as chief operating officer of Renault China.

He will lead the national team through the ‘Renaulution’ strategy, which Renault Group claims represents a new era for its business, and it said his contribution to the UK “will be instrumental over the next five years as the group accelerates its move into the future of mobility. — Read more via Automotive management Online

German firm acquires Cotek Papers

UK-based release paper and film manufacturer Cotek Papers has been bought by German company Laufenberg.

Under the terms of the agreement, which was signed on 8 November, all 51 staff at the Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire manufacturing site will remain with the business. Cotek general manager Paul Cattle will also stay and takes the role of managing director of the 58-year-old company. — Read more via Printweek