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 – 01/12/2021

Manufacturing industry faces toughest road to net zero – report

The manufacturing industry will struggle more than any other UK Industry to meet decarbonisation goals, according to a new report.

The Journey to Net Zero report, commissioned by insurer Zurich UK and conducted by the University of the West of England, finds that the manufacturing sector as a whole faces greater emission-cutting challenges than any of the 17 major UK industries.

This is reflected in the sector’s emissions, which have stagnated over the past decade, despite a previous steady decline. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Millionth Triumph rolls off the production line – with UK manufacturing growing again

he millionth Triumph motorbike since the relaunch of the brand in 1990 has rolled off the production line.

The one-off, custom painted Tiger 900 Rally Pro was officially unveiled at the bike builder’s global headquarters in Hinckley – with a livery harking back to the very first Triumph in 1902.

It will be displayed on Triumph’s stand at this year’s NEC Motorcycle Live show and then in Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience at the Leicestershire HQ.

The landmark production figure comes on the 120th anniversary of the famous British manufacturer, and at the same time that the business builds up the production back in the UK a couple of years after moving the lion’s share of manufacturing to Thailand.

It also comes as the company boasted a 30 per cent uplift in sales this calendar year. — Read more via Business Live

British Sugar owner plans to build Suffolk animal feed mill

A new animal feed mill planned for a Suffolk sugar factory will bring jobs and an economic boost to the area, the firm behind it says.

ABN, Britain’s largest manufacturer of pig and poultry feed, says it is looking to build a new state-of-the-art mill at the British Sugar factory at Bury St Edmunds which will “transform” the UK compounds animal feed industry.

British Sugar and ABN – which is part of AB Agri – are owned by multinational giant Associated British Foods (ABF) which operates five arms -grocery, sugar, grocery, ingredients and retail – including Primark.

ABN has earmarked a plot of land at the factory site which it hopes to turn into a feed factory. — Read more via East Anglian Daily Times

Geely prepares to relaunch Lotus brand with an SUV

Four years after Zhejiang Geely Holding Group acquired a controlling stake in iconic UK-based sports carmaker Lotus from Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom, Geely is completing a Lotus Tech Innovation Centre (LTIC) in the small German town of Raunheim staffed by roughly 150 engineers from more than 15 countries.

Engineers and other staff were snapped up from such carmakers as Porsche, Audi, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Mercedes and Opel, as well as suppliers like Continental, Hella, Faurecia and Bosch. The goal is to grab market share in the premium segment from Porsche.

Lotus sales have hovered around 1,500 cars a year for the past few years, and its existing combustion-driven fleet is about to end its sales life. Now the Raunheim team is tasked with turning the brand into an electric vehicle (EV) one. — Read more via FMT

30 jobs announced at Dungannon manufacturing business, Rubble Master

Growth in exports and rapidly increasing sales have led to job creation at RM Dungannon.

Part of the international RM Group, Rubble Master Dungannon has announced the creation of 30 additional jobs at its Coalisland Road site.

Regarded as the Centre of Excellence for Screening within the RM Group, the Rubble Master site develops and produces tracked mobile screens for international markets. — Read more via Belfast News Letter

Midlands manufacturers join forces to inspire national manufacturing revolution

Over 50 of the Midlands’ leading manufacturers met in Leicester yesterday to discuss the sector’s role in levelling up the UK. Boosting manufacturing has a key role in creating regional growth, reducing geographical inequality, leading to higher productivity and better wages for all.

The Midlands is the leading location for UK manufacturing, with 25,270 businesses and 555,820 existing jobs in the sector, equalling 12.5% of total employment – a much higher percentage than the national average.

Key themes emerging from the conference included:

  • The UK has been allowed to become too regionally unequal, in large part due to the decline of regional manufacturing
  • Revolutionising manufacturing will bring growth, productivity and better jobs to regions like the Midlands, and also the whole country beyond London and the South East — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 30/11/2021

Grayson sets its sights on electric dreams after £8m sales and technology boost

One of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers of cooling and HVAC products to the transport sector has sealed a string of new contract wins that has seen it take sales past pre-Covid levels.

Birmingham-based Grayson Thermal Systems, which was founded in 1978 by current chairman Graham Hateley, has bounced back from the pandemic after securing more than £8m of orders from customers including ABB, Solaris, Skoda and Wrightbus. — Read more via The Manufacturer

New robotics research centre will transform the relationship between people and technology in UK manufacturing

A new national robotics research centre will receive a share of £25m to improve collaborative technology and help businesses unlock the full potential of automated industrial manufacturing.

The Made Smarter Innovation Research Centre for Smart, Collaborative Industrial Robotics led by Loughborough University aims to advance smart manufacturing by eliminating barriers and accelerating widespread use of smart collaborative robotics technology to unlock the full potential of the UK industry in productivity, quality, and adaptability.

The centre will bring together a team of world-class experts from Loughborough University, Cranfield University, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Warwick, and the University of Bristol, with experience in manufacturing, engineering, digital technology, robotics, human-factors, verification and safety, law, psychology, systems engineering, metrology, and ICT.

It also comprises of key organisations across core UK industrial sectors including aerospace, automotive, agri-food, green energy, construction, and space. — Read more via Loughborough University

Plastic packaging on supermarket shelves cut by 10% – WRAP

Plastic packaging on supermarket shelves has been cut by 10% in the past few years, a new report has shown.

UK Plastics Pact members, which include major supermarkets, manufacturers, producers and other companies, have also nearly halved the number of problematic and unnecessary plastic items since 2018, according to the WRAP report.

It said that since the pact began the recycled content in use has doubled, saving 140,000 tonnes of CO2. Its target is 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging. — Read more via WRAP

Flagship UK vaccine manufacturing centre put up for sale

The government’s flagship Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), which was set up to prepare the country for future pandemics, is reportedly up for sale.

Referencing “people briefed on the situation”, the Financial Times says the facility, which has received £215m in public money since it was announced, has received several bids from companies in the private sector. — Read more via Financial Times

Nissan stresses importance of UK plant in global electric vehicle investment

Nissan bosses have backed its UK plant as they announced plans to spend more than £13 billion globally on developing electric vehicles.

At a news conference in Japan the car manufacturer, which has a major plant in Sunderland revealed it will develop 23 new electric models by 2030. — Read more via Independent

Monday – 29/11/2021

REE to build innovative EV drivetrains at new UK factory

Israeli electric start-up REE is building a factory in the UK to complement its development centre in Warwickshire.

The company dubs the new facility a ‘launch integration centre’ that will serve as a pilot factory for the production of REE’s innovative ‘corners’, which bundle suspension, wheel and electric drivetrain into a single package to free up space in electric commercial vehicles, CEO Daniel Barel told Autocar.

The plant will have the capacity to assemble 200,000 corners when it comes fully on stream. REE hasn’t said where the facility will be, only that it will be in the Midlands. The factory will start work from spring next year. — Read more via Autocar

Elgin Energy raises £25m to expand solar footprint in Ireland and UK

London-headquartered solar and storage developer Elgin Energy has raised £25m in an oversubscribed fundraise process through Focus Capital partners.

Elgin, which has multiple energy projects across Ireland and the UK, will use the funding for its plans to surpass 5GW of solar and storage capacity in Ireland, the UK and Australia by 2025.

This new funding comes just months after Elgin received £29m in project-specific investment from German bank Berenberg to develop 1.36GW of capacity across 50 solar sites in Ireland and the UK. — Read more via Elgin Energy

New group launched to attract thousands of former military personnel to new careers in offshore wind

A new industry group has been launched to support the transition of more ex-servicemen and women to the UK’s offshore wind industry where they can play a vital role in helping the country reach net zero.

To ensure the UK meets its clean energy targets, a massive increase in offshore wind capacity will be needed in the years ahead, generating tens of thousands of green jobs. The industry already employs 26,000 people in the UK and this is set to increase to 69,000 over the next five years alone.

Around 14,000 people leave the Armed Forces every year and many have relevant skills for the offshore wind sector, as the UK accelerates the pace of its Just Transition from fossil fuels to clean power sources.

The industry is determined to ensure it recognises the value which former serving military personnel bring. The Offshore Wind Industry Council’s (OWIC) Military Working Group brings together industry leaders to build a diverse workforce including former service personnel to meet the net zero challenge. — Read more via RenewableUK

QinetiQ and AM General develop new hybrid electric HUMVEE concept

QinetiQ has entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with automotive manufacturer AM General to accelerate the development of electrification technologies for military vehicles.

The partnership has begun with the development of a hybrid concept of the globally iconic HMMWV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle often referred to as ‘HUMVEE’) – demonstrating the viability of electrifying military land vehicles to deliver enhanced performance while decarbonising military operations. The collaboration was initiated and its development facilitated by the JV & Partnering (JV&P) Advisory team at Lincoln International, a global investment bank. — Read more via QinetiQ

Ulster Weavers pledges to onshore 3/4 of manufacturing to Northern Ireland as part of ambitious 3-year plan

One of Northern Ireland’s oldest textile manufacturing businesses said it will onshore the majority of its manufacturing in an effort to boost its sustainability credentials.

Ulster Weavers, which makes a range of homeware and textiles including its well-known linen tea towels, said it aims to make three quarters of its products in Northern Ireland in a bullish outlook for the next three years.

In that time, it aims to increase sales by 100%, diversify its product range and break into new markets.

As a result, the company expects to boost its headcount in the coming years, the company said. — Read more via Business Live

Friday – 26/11/2021

Made Smarter reaches major milestone backing 200th business

Made Smarter’s trailblazing technology adoption programme in the North West has marked its third anniversary by helping its 200th business drive growth and decarbonise through digitalisation.

SME manufacturers have secured £4.6m matched funding for 241 projects, worth £16m after private sector investment.

Technologies that integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes, are being used to drive efficiencies and reduce waste. Meanwhile, 3D-printing, automation, and robotics are being used to solve business challenges and meet increased demand. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK car production down 41.4% in October – SMMT

UK car production declined 41.4% in October as factories turned out 64,729 units, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It was the fourth straight month of decline and the weakest October since 1956 as firms grappled with the global shortage of semiconductors which led to production stoppages. The weak output totals compared to last year are exacerbated by the closure of a UK car plant at the end of July, a deficit that will impact figures for a year.

More positively, production of the latest battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) vehicles comprised 30.9% of all cars made in October. BEV manufacturing rose 17.5% to 8,454 units, meaning that, so far this year, UK car makers have produced more than 50,000 zero emission vehicles, exceeding the total built in the whole of the pre-pandemic 2019. — Read more via SMMT

Race for £1bn MOD helicopter deal heats up as Yeovil-based Leonardo looks to secure bumper contract

Yeovil-based aircraft manufacturer Leonardo Helicopters is facing competition from the US and Wales as it continues to fight for a bumper £1 billion UK Government contract.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed the Royal Air Force is set to retire its fleet of 23 Puma helicopters, which were built in the early 1970s, and a new fleet of helicopters will be needed.

Speculation has risen that a formal tender could be issued soon as potential bidders have been invited to a briefing this week, the Financial Times reports.

Leonardo Helicopters, which employs 3,000 people in Yeovil, has previously pledged to invest in a new production line in Yeovil should the MoD choose its new AW149 helicopters.

The aircraft would be almost entirely built at the Yeovil factory on Lysander Road, Leonardo has revealed. — Read more via Somerset Live

Stanley Engineered Fastening achieves automated quality inspection with Universal Robots

Stanley Engineered Fastening has partnered with Universal Robots to successfully introduced robotic quality inspection using cobots in its Warrington Facility.

Fifteen UR3e cobots act as key components in its brand-new cells for Breakstem autonomous manufacture which have reduced product costs by approximately 10% and shortened lead times by up to 70%. They are producing approximately 350 million fasteners per annum from across the company’s product range. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK Electric truck pioneers, TEVVA, looking to source dozens of engineers

EVera Recruitment, today, announced they had been tasked by TEVVA to identify and recruit dozens of engineers across a range of key disciplines, including; manufacturing, quality and maintenance as TEVVA prepares to begin UK manufacturing of their e-Trucks in July 2022.

EVera is Europe’s only dedicated battery and EV recruiter. Founded by Steve Doyle, EVera works with leading gigafactories, battery manufacturers, OEMs, EV startups and scaleups to identify skills gaps within the businesses and recruit the right candidates with very particular skill sets for this rapidly expanding sector of the UK automotive industry.

EVera’s exclusive recruitment partnership with TEVVA has delivered a 200% growth in the workforce with over 80 new employees joining in 2021. This is a huge achievement by both parties when many companies in the electric vehicle sector are struggling to build the teams they need to fully realise the growth opportunities. — Read more via FleetPoint

Thursday – 25/11/2021

Manufacturing orders strongest on record, but supply issues continue to bite – CBI

UK manufacturing total order books in November improved to their strongest on record (since 1977), according to the latest monthly CBI Industrial Trends Survey.

The survey of 282 manufacturers also saw export order books at their strongest since March 2019.

Output growth in the three months to November remained firm, increasing at a similarly above-average pace to October and September 2021. 12 out of 17 sectors saw output increase, with headline growth being driven largely by the food, drink & tobacco, electronic engineering, and chemicals sub-sectors. Manufacturers expect output growth to accelerate in the next three months.

Stock adequacy for finished goods worsened to its weakest on record (since April 1977). Meanwhile, expectations for output price growth in the coming quarter were at their strongest since May 1977. — Read more via CBI

Bed and mattress manufacturer overcomes staff shortage, recruits more than 100

Bed and mattress manufacturer Dreams has ramped up production and distribution across its four Black Country sites thanks to its partnership with one of the West Midlands’ leading recruitment agencies.

MET Recruitment has overcome the national shortage of staff to recruit more than 100 employees for the UK’s leading bed specialist in the last few months, with another 50 of them recently progressing to become permanent workers.

It’s a fitting way to bring up a near 10-year partnership that has seen both companies work together to find general production operatives, fork-lift truck drivers, warehouse staff, seamstresses, tape edges and drivers’ mates. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Zertus expands its portfolio with acquisition of Sun Valley

Zertus, the German snacking and confectionery manufacturer, has acquired The Sun Valley Nut Company, the peanut and nut snack supplier.

The deal sees the ownership of the brand move from the Hacking family, who founded the business in 1940.T he acquisition by Zertus builds of on its existing portfolio of customer branded ranges for the UK’s leading retailers and sees it compliment its existing businesses in the healthier snacking sector. Zertus already produces NOMO, the free-from chocolate brand; Baileys Chocolates which are in partnership with Diageo; The Fruit Factory, kids snacking brand; and Forest of Hope, the recently launched kids fair trade chocolate brand; and Kinnerton Confectionery and Lir Chocolates. — Read more via Food Manufacture

Griffon Hoverwork building three hovercrafts for Japan

Southampton-UK based hovercraft manufacturer Griffon Hoverwork said it has landed one of its biggest ever deals, worth more than £25 million, to supply three of its latest 12000TD craft to Japan.

The deal with the Oita Prefecture government will see the hovercraft providing a passenger service connecting Oita Airport in Kunisaki with Oita City, reintroducing a ferry route last used about 10 years ago. — Read more via Marine Link

UK Iitroduces new cybersecurity legislation for IoT devices

The UK government yesterday introduced new legislation to Parliament that aims to better protect consumers’ IoT devices from hackers.

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Bill places new cybersecurity standards on manufacturers, importers and distributors of internet-connectable devices, such as phones, tablets, smart TVs and fitness trackers. The legislation will also apply to products that can connect to multiple other devices but not directly to the internet, like smart light bulbs and smart thermostats.

These requirements include banning universal default passwords, forcing firms to be transparent about actions they are taking to fix security flaws in their products and creating a better public reporting system for any vulnerabilities discovered. In addition, these companies will have a duty to investigate compliance failures, produce statements of compliance and maintain appropriate records of this. — Read more via Info Security Magazine

Wednesday – 24/11/2021

Rolls-Royce claims its ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle

Rolls-Royce believes its all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, setting three new world records. Rolls-Royce has submitted data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation who control and certify world aeronautical and astronautical records – that 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 (182mph) faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3000 metres by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds, according to Rolls-Royce data. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

Funding helps UK distilleries fuel a greener future

Hydrogen and biogas will power whisky and spirit producers across the country following a cash boost of more than £11m from the UK government, driving forward plans to create low-carbon green distilleries.

The multi-million-pound investment announced today will help distilleries across the UK ditch fossil fuels and develop low carbon heating systems that will make production processes greener and more energy efficient.

Four projects will receive a share of more than £11m to decarbonise their distilling processes for the UK’s iconic whiskies and spirits. — Read more via GOV.UK

C-ALPS accelerates cleaner mobility with £2m hydrogen testing investment

One of the UK’s largest dedicated hydrogen fuel cell testing facilities has been completed in the City that played a pivotal role in the development of the transport industry.

Coventry University’s Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS) has spent over £2m in creating a dedicated 100 sq metre lab and hydrogen compound that will allow it to develop hydrogen fuel cell-based powertrains through collaborative research and commercial contracts. — Read more via The Manufacturer

£2m pilot to develop UK’s first wind turbine blade recycling solution

A major project to develop wind turbine blade recycling in Britain for the first time has been given the go-ahead after winning a UK Government grant.

The £2m three-year project involves a consortium led by Aker Offshore Wind, the University of Strathclyde and the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, with contributions from academic and industry partners including the University of Nottingham, global waste management firm SUEZ, composite distributor GRP Solutions and composite part manufacturer Cubis.

The initiative aims to ensure a more sustainable future for the global wind industry and the wider composites manufacturing industry – accelerating the drive towards net zero emissions and waste and creating new skills and job opportunities in the UK. — Read more via University of Nottingham

UK biofuel producers join forces for ‘cutting-edge’ waste-to-energy plants

Advanced biofuel developer Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd (ABSL) has partnered with waste-based biofuel manufacturer Greenergy to develop five municipal waste-based biofuel plants, which could see 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) saved per year.

Located at Ellesmere Port near Liverpool, the partner’s first plant intends to convert 133,000 tonnes of municipal waste into biomethane and biohydrogen using ABSL’s patented RadGas technology.

Aiming to replace petrol and diesel transport fuels, the output of the five plants will be the equivalent to powering 5,000 HGVs, saving 800,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. — Read more via Gas World

Tuesday – 23/11/2021

Make UK and Inspired Energy release the first roadmap taking companies through their complex decarbonisation journey

Make UK’s manufacturing members, in partnership with Inspired Energy have published the first roadmap to net zero for the manufacturing sector. The roadmap, which was developed in consultation with some of the major manufacturing sub-sectors, provides a clear direction and major milestones towards the long term 2050 goal. It aims to encourage companies to take those first successful steps towards reducing their carbon footprint.

This simple blueprint released today also outlines how companies will contribute to the establishment of the four low-carbon industrial clusters by 2030, and the decarbonisation of mini-clusters at dispersed sites. The plan reflects the targets set to date by the Government and by other industry sub-sectors, planting the major milestones in the ground to ensure businesses stay on track and pick up the pace required for the complex journey to the decarbonisation of factory production processes and energy consumption. — Read more via Make UK

Glasgow to be home to first-of-a-kind hydrogen storage project

A trailblazing hydrogen storage project near Glasgow has today been backed by nearly £10m in UK government funding – helping create high-skilled jobs and drive progress towards decarbonising the UK transport sector.

Putting Scotland at the forefront of the UK’s clean energy transition and supporting the city’s ambition to become net zero by 2030, the £9.4m cash boost will see the Whitelee green hydrogen project develop the UK’s largest electrolyser, a system which converts water into hydrogen gas as a way to store energy. It will be located alongside ScottishPower’s Whitelee Windfarm, the largest of its kind in the UK, and will produce and store hydrogen to supply local transport providers with zero-carbon fuel. — Read more via GOV.UK

Essentra Components announces global recruitment drive for sustainable suppliers

A leading manufacturer of small, essential components has opened a global recruitment drive to find suppliers of sustainable post-consumer plastic recyclate to further increase the recycled content within its injection moulded products and other subsequent product lines.

However, production of post-consumer plastics requires a consistent supply of sustainable recycled resins, and with the rapid shift towards greener manufacturing, demand is currently higher than supply due to challenges faced by recyclers and processors. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Cumnock fire engine manufacturer goes carbon neutral

A Cumnock fire engine manufacturer has become the UK’s first carbon neutral manufacturer of fire and rescue appliances.

Emergency One Group Ltd (E1), headquartered at Caponacre Industrial Estate, are known for taking ambitious steps to reduce their carbon footprint, such as in October 2020, when the company launched the world’s first fully electric fire appliance (the E1 EV0).

Now, to offset their emissions in 2021, E1 will plant a tree for every fire appliance built in a bid to become the UK’s first carbon neutral manufacturer of fire and rescue appliances.

Emergency One are hoping to inspire similar businesses to start making decisive actions in becoming carbon neutral. — Read more via Cumnock Chronicle

UK business claims to offer ‘world’s most sustainable lithium-ion battery’

An advanced-battery company based in the West Midlands of England claims to have developed “the most sustainable, low-waste lithium-ion battery in the world.”

Aceleron says its “compression technology method” has enabled it to produce products in which every component can be accessed for repair, replacement or upgrade. The company claims its ‘Essential’ product is fully recycable, effectively giving the device an “infinite lifespan,” according to co-founder and chief technical officer Carlton Cummins. — Read more via PV Magazine

Brandauer taps into Bruderer technology to deliver Middle East contract

A significant £1.5m investment in a new high-speed production cell is helping a 159-year-old metal stamping specialist deliver a major contract to the Middle East.

Brandauer, which employs 63 people at its Birmingham factory, has strengthened its long-term partnership with Bruderer by installing a BSTA410-100, which is capable of up to 41 tonnes, 1600 strokes per minute and features a large 1110mm bed.

The machine will be used to manufacture stainless steel substrate frames for a male grooming product that is exported all the way to Israel and was chosen for its ability to achieve repeatable quality and parts in their millions. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 22/11/2021

£1.2m project extends life of parts in quest to help manufacturers tap into net zero economy

Additive manufacturing and machining engineers at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) which is operated by the University of Strathclyde, joined by six other companies, have created a low-cost remanufacturing solution that can extend the life of parts used within manufacturing by 120%, helping UK manufacturers to embrace the circular economy, boost sustainability, and save costs.

The two-year £1.2million DigiTool project was part funded by Innovate UK and focused on the remanufacture of dies, which are commonly used across the hot forging, stamp and press, moulding and oil and gas industries to shape metal during production, but are typically subject to high costs and long manufacturing lead times.

Designed to find a low-cost solution to these industry problems, the new DigiTool framework allows manufacturers to embrace remanufacturing, which is where previously worn or damaged parts, in this case dies, can be returned to “like-new,” condition. — Read more via NMIS

Toyota UK works with the police to produce new Corolla patrol car

Police cars are some of the hardest-worked vehicles on the road, with the demands of round-the-clock service, every day of the year. To help meet this challenge, Toyota has been working closely with a police force to develop the strengths of its UK-built Corolla as a reliable and hard-wearing patrol car.

Building on its established relationship with Derbyshire constabulary, the Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) plant at Burnaston has modified a Corolla Trek to incorporate a rough-road pack, built-in satellite navigation, parking sensors, a dog guard for the load space and steel wheels – including a full-size spare. — Read more via Toyota

Leonardo raises investment pledges in push for UK helicopter deal

Italian defence group Leonardo has pledged to increase its investment plans for the UK’s only helicopter factory if it secures a contract to replace Britain’s ageing fleet of Puma support aircraft.

Norman Bone, chief executive of Leonardo UK, said the company would build a new production line at the Yeovil plant in Somerset and introduce digital manufacturing skills as part of a £1bn investment programme.

Leonardo faces competition for the helicopter contract. European aerospace and defence group Airbus is offering a militarised version of its H175 helicopter and has promised to build a final assembly line at Broughton in north Wales, where it already makes wings for commercial aircraft. It has previously said the facility would create 400 new jobs. — Read more via Financial Times

Mercedes-Benz to manufacture YASA axial-flux electric motors in Berlin

Mercedes-Benz will build ultra-high-performance axial-flux electric motors at its Berlin site, as the world’s pre-eminent luxury car brand prepares to go all electric by 2030, where market conditions allow. Mercedes-Benz announced the acquisition of YASA, UK-based manufacturer of ultra-high-performance electric motors in July (earlier post), securing access to unique axial-flux technology, deepening its vertical integration and value creation in development and production.

Production of the motors will begin next year. YASA will continue to do all the design and innovation on the motors from their UK base, and will also continue to manufacture at the UK facility for other OEM customers (Ferrari etc). — Read more via Green Car Congress

Ardagh Metal Packaging to invest $200m in Northern Ireland

Ardagh Metal Packaging (AMP) announced today that it plans to build a new state-of-the-art $200 million beverage can plant in Northern Ireland. The plant will be located near Belfast and will service the growing needs of AMP’s beverage customers in Ireland, the UK and Europe.

This initiative is part of a multi-billion dollar investment programme by AMP involving the construction of new, infinitely recyclable, metal packaging capacity in Europe, North America and Brazil. Metal cans are the most recycled drinks package in the world, contributing to a circular economy and the sustainability requirements of AMP customers and consumers.

AMP plans to build the new plant at Global Point near Belfast, close to key local customers, at a cost of some $200 million. Though details on precise jobs numbers are still being finalised, the investment by AMP will lead to the creation of a large number of full-time jobs for engineers, technicians and other roles. — Read more via AMP

Friday – 19/11/2021

Teesside Freeport now open for business

Teesside Freeport has commenced operations today, November 19, making it the first of eight planned UK freeports to open.

Announced in the Spring Budget in March by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Teesside Freeport will enable businesses to benefit from tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and streamlined planning processes, as well as other government support designed to promote economic growth and innovation.

Teesside Freeport will provide a significant boost to the local economy, creating more than 18,000 new highly skilled jobs and generating £3.2bn for the area over the next five years. It will have access to a share of £200m of government funding to support the region’s levelling up ambitions. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Made in the UK, Sold to the World: New strategy to boost exports to £1tn

The Government has launched an ambitious new ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ plan to help businesses across the UK double exports and sell their world-class products around the globe.

The 12-point export strategy – published on Wednesday 17 November by the Department for International Trade – will give businesses the tools they need to become a nation of exporters and reap the benefits of our free trade deals.

It includes an Export Support Service that offers a one-stop shop for exporting advice, and the launch of a new UK Tradeshow Programme better-tailored to help businesses, particularly those outside London and the South East, to attend and promote their products around the world. — Read more via GOV.UK

Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance sells two car parts factories in England

Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance has sold two aluminium parts factories after Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) stepped in to secure a vital part of its supply chain.

Evtec, an automotive supplier based in Coventry, will take over Liberty Aluminium Technologies casting plants in Coventry and Kidderminster in the West Midlands, saving 170 jobs. However, GFG is closing a site in Witham, Essex, with the loss of 64 jobs.

GFG has gone through months of restructuring since the collapse of its key lender, Greensill Capital, in March. The collapse prompted Gupta to rush to find new lenders to finance his businesses, while also looking at asset sales and dealing with potential criminal investigations in the UK and France. It is understood Evtec paid more than £10m for the two sites. — Read more via The Guardian

UK’s green transition threatened by supply chain risks – report

The UK’s green transition is being threatened by supply chain risks, new research shows.

According to the Green Alliance’s Critical point: securing the raw materials needed for the UK’s green transition report, securing a supply of the critical raw materials needed to produce green technologies will not be easy. Furthermore, the mining and processing of these materials can also cause considerable environmental destruction, social impacts and drive climate change. — Read more via Green Alliance

Sterling Pharma to expand API manufacturing capacity in Dudley

Sterling Pharma Solutions, a global CDMO, entered the next phase of a multi-year investment strategy at its site in Dudley, UK. The company is investing £10m to build and commission new process development laboratories and install additional commercial-scale manufacturing equipment to meet the continued growth in demand for small molecule API manufacturing.

The project, scheduled to be completed mid-2022, includes the installation of a 4.5 cubic meter hydrogenator, capable of pressure reactions up to 10 bar, as well as supplemental conical and filter dryers within the existing manufacturing plant. Additionally, new kilo-scale and technology labs will be built in the site’s Material Science Centre. The labs will be equipped to develop commercial-scale processes for customers using biocatalysis, and to enhance capabilities at the recently established flow chemistry center of excellence. — Read more via Contract Pharma

Thursday – 18/11/2021

UKRI announces £8m funding as part of new foundation industries projects

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) yesterday announced details of the range of innovative new projects that have successfully secured £8 million of funding. The aim is to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the UK’s foundation industry companies and their supply chains.

Through its Large Collaborative R&D competition, UKRI’s Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge (which includes glass, cement, paper, chemicals, ceramics and metals), tasked research and innovation consortia with developing technology to reduce energy and resource inefficiencies across these industries, and which will lead to reduced carbon emissions. Designed to deliver cross-sector benefits these projects bring together businesses with their supply chains, and equipment providers, to work on common challenges. — Read more via The Manufacturer

CRP Subsea expands with new renewables manufacturing facility

CRP Subsea has made a large-scale investment in a new manufacturing facility to support their transition from primarily oil & gas into the renewables market. The purpose-built manufacturing facility includes a state-of-the-art semi-automated production line for the NjordGuard cable protection system used in offshore wind farms.

The new facility enables CRP Subsea to significantly improve flow of materials, achieve throughput efficiencies and increase productivity, increasing Bend Stiffener production output by a factor of 20. The enhanced capacity has positioned CRP Subsea to support the growing number of offshore wind projects. — Read more via CRP Subsea

Production starts in UK on the first road-going full-electric Volta Zero vehicles

Volta Trucks, a leading and disruptive full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider, has started production of the first road-going ‘Design Verification’ (DV) prototype Volta Zero vehicle at a bespoke facility in Coventry, UK.

The DV prototypes are the first full-electric Volta Zero vehicles to be built in the recently unveiled production-ready design. A total of 25 vehicles will be manufactured and once completed in January, the fleet will embark on a rigorous testing regime. This will involve Volta Trucks engineers replicating a wide range of customer usage and delivery cycles, as well as taking the Volta Zero to the extremes of cold weather environments in the Arctic, hot weathers in equatorial conditions, and crash testing, all to validate the safety, durability, and reliability of the vehicle. — Read more via Volta Trucks

Footbath manufacturer Hoofcount uses Siemens technology to ensure healthy herds have happy feet

Footbath manufacturer Hoofcount has partnered with Siemens to take advantage of technology to improve the health and welfare of cows.

The collaboration will see Hoofcount use Siemens’ data capture and control technologies to help farmers make informed decisions to better tackle lameness, a major problem in dairy herds.

Preston-based Hoofcount is utilising Siemens’ expertise in combining the real and digital worlds using LOGO, an intelligent logic module for small automation projects in industrial settings.

LOGO manages the control of the key mechanisms of Hoofcount’s footbaths, such as chemical and water pumps, and animal feed controls. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Toyota, Subaru and Mazda to develop new combustion technology

Five of Japan’s largest vehicle manufacturers – Subaru, Toyota, Mazda, Kawasaki and Yamaha – have jointly detailed a plan to safeguard the future of the internal combustion engine.

Speaking together at the Super Taikyu Race in Okayama earlier this week, representatives from each of the firms vowed to collaborate on “expanding fuel options” using existing ICE technology, bucking a wider industry trend towards full electrification. — Read more via Autocar

Wednesday – 17/11/2021

UK announces national security probe of Nvidia’s $54bn Arm deal

The British government has launched an in-depth investigation into US chipmaker Nvidia’s takeover of the UK-based technology company Arm on national security grounds, throwing another hurdle in the path of the $54bn deal.

Digital and culture secretary Nadine Dorries has ordered a phase 2 investigation into the transaction on public interest grounds, meaning it will now be subject to a full-blown probe into antitrust and security issues. The UK competition watchdog uncovered “serious competition concerns” with the deal in July. — Read more via Financial Times

GKN owners Melrose urged to repay £67m to taxpayers, following closure of Erdington plant

The owners of manufacturer GKN could be forced to pay back £67m received from taxpayers, after pressing ahead with a decision to close their plant in Erdington.

Birmingham MP Jack Dromey (Lab Erdington) is pushing the Government to reclaim the cash from investment firm Melrose Industries, who bought GKN for £8.1bn in 2018.

He spoke in the House of Commons, after 519 ‘highly skilled’ workers at the GKN Automotive plant in Chester Road, Erdington, accepted a revised redundancy offer, spelling the end of a battle to keep the site open.

Melrose is believed to have received £67m from a range of Government schemes since buying GKN, largely to support research and development. — Read more via Birmingham Live

Employees successfully buy out £2.7m South Yorkshire manufacturing company

Two employees from Sheffield based Airflow World Group Limited, who have worked for the industrial oven manufacturer for a total of 35 years, have completed a management buyout.

Samantha Hancock-Ridge and Gary Clark have purchased the company from Nigel and Elaine Sharp.

Airflow has been trading from its 30k sq ft manufacturing unit on Underhill Lane in Sheffield since 1985, and has seen a turnover of £2.7m.

The company designs, manufactures and installs bespoke industrial ovens, laboratory ovens, spray booths and controlled environment enclosures for the aerospace, pharmaceutical, composites, electronics, oil exploration, and product finishing industries globally. — Read more via Bdaily News

UK emissions-free truck maker Tevva raises £42m to begin mass production

UK electric and hydrogen truck startup Tevva has raised over £42mln (US$57mln) from new and existing investors to complete its new London factory and begin manufacturing of its first mass-produced vehicle.

The funding round takes its total new cash to US$70mln over the past 12 months.

In September the company unveiled the 7.5 tonne Tevva Truck, an electric battery-powered truck with a range of up to 160 miles that can be extended up to 310 miles (500 km) with its hydrogen range extender.

First deliveries of this vehicle, which the company intends for mass production, are scheduled from the second half of next year. — Read more via Proactive Investors

Industry pays tribute to UK confectionery pioneer John Whitaker

Tributes have been paid to UK confectionery pioneer John Whitaker, senior family member of the Whitakers Chocolates brand, who has died aged 85, reports Neill Barston.

As the chairman of the Yorkshire-based business, he had until relatively recently continued to play an active interest in the company, which is continuing to expand both its British and export interests.

In a previous feature for Confectionery Production, present managing director of the firm, William Whitaker, noted his father’s continued presence, explaining that it had been his influence that had originally led the business to focus on chocolate, with the brand continuing its well established production methods from its headquarters in Skipton.

The company, which has more than 130 years of manufacturing history in the UK, employs over 150 people, producing 10 million chocolates for a global customer base on a weekly basis. — Read more via Confectionary Production

Tuesday – 16/11/2021

Protolabs opens new €16m European 3D Printing Centre

A UK digital manufacturing services firm has opened a new 3D printing centre in Europe.

Telford-headquartered Protolabs announced the opening of its new €16m additive manufacturing facility in Putzbrunn near Munich yesterday.

Protolabs says the new facility will boost its 3D printing capacity by as much as 60 per cent.

The firm, which employs around 450 people at its UK Headquarters in Telford, says the investment will help its UK customers access even faster lead times and more than 60 industrial 3D printers offering metal and plastic parts through a range of additive manufacturing technologies. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Government backs ground-breaking space technology to tackle climate change

Eleven UK organisations have been awarded a share of just under £7m of government funding to put into action the latest advances in space innovation. The majority of the projects focus on climate change or environmental management, with others designed to secure our telecommunication systems and protect digital infrastructure against cyber-attacks.

Projects receiving the cash boost include Global Satellite Vu Ltd, which will build a compact high-resolution infrared camera for satellites to measure thermal emissions from our homes, schools and places of work, helping to improve energy efficiency. The Open University in Milton Keynes will develop the mission concept for “TreeView”, a forestry and management tool that will support a nature-based solution to tackling climate change by monitoring the health of trees from space. — Read more via GOV UK

Port authority offers thousand acres of land to bolster UK’s strained supply chains

The UK’s largest port operator is offering over a thousand acres of development land to support the UK’s supply chain, manufacturing and renewable energy sectors.

Associated British Ports (ABP) operates 21 ports across the UK, and is now making 14 strategic sites available for a range of business uses.

During the next 18 months, ABP has committed to spending more than £5m to make the locations ready for development.

This includes obtaining appropriate outline planning consents, technical understanding and carrying out essential land preparation. — Read more via CITY A.M.

Pilgrim’s UK progress with plans for investment in Bromborough

Pilgrim’s UK, the world’s largest producer of higher welfare pork, will invest in its Bromborough site to enhance its capabilities and create more local jobs.

The site has already benefitted from significant investment since becoming operational last year, with state-of-the-art food manufacturing technology and equipment, making it a centre of excellence for the UK’s fresh pork manufacturing.

Pilgrim’s has now committed to further investment in the site over the coming months to improve production efficiency, overall capacity and create a single production site for all fresh and higher welfare pork solutions.

It is also injecting funds to support further growth and expansion in the future capabilities of the site, including new machinery and innovative technologies in 2022. — Read more via Wirral Globe

Rolls-Royce readies for UltraFan tests and eyes narrowbody market

Rolls-Royce has dropped another strong hint that the UK manufacturer is seeking a return to the narrowbody engine market that it abandoned in 2011 when exiting the International Aero Engines consortium.

For the past several years Rolls-Royce has indicated that its developmental UltraFan engine, which is initially sized for a widebody jet, would also be scalable for narrowbody applications.

And speaking at a Dubai air show briefing yesterday, Chris Cholerton, head of civil aerospace, reaffirmed that Rolls-Royce is looking at the single-aisle segment. — Read more via Flight Global

Yorkshire eco-friendly manufacturer opens “state-of-the-art” facility

Keighley based sustainable chemical manufacturer The Friendly Chemical Co. (FCC) has celebrated the opening of a new 6k sq ft warehousing facility at its Soap Factory home.

It brings its total footprint to 10k sq ft across three units, with the business scaling production to maintain demand for its eco-friendly cleaning ranges.

The new site will act as a “state-of-the-art bulk chemical blending facility” and home for its technical and production team, which has grown from five to 17 over the last six months. It will enable the team to blend up to 300k litres of product a month, doubling monthly production levels for its Miniml cleaning range. — Read more via Bdaily News

Monday – 15/11/2021

£100m investment for maritime electronic warfare capabilities

Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) have awarded a £100-million contract to a Babcock-led partnership with Elbit Systems UK and QinetiQ to deliver cutting-edge electronic warfare (EW) systems to the Royal Navy.

The EW technology will allow more simultaneous detection and identification of radio signals over a greater frequency range than current capabilities. This will aid faster operational decision-making, enhanced situational awareness and anti-ship missile defence capability.

Around 170 jobs are expected to be created and sustained across the UK by the 13-year contract, mainly in the South West of England, ranging from manufacturing to software development roles. — Read more via GOV UK

Canadian fuel cell manufacturer buys UK’s Arcola Energy

The Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems acquires Arcola Energy, a British specialist for the integration of fuel cell systems in heavy commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks and trains. Both sides had previously worked together for years.

Ballard will pay a total amount of up to $40m in cash and shares for all shares in Arcola. Parts of the purchase price consist of a fixed, immediate cash payment and an additional performance-based payment in two years. Both companies know each other well: Arcola has more than 10 years of experience in integrating Ballard fuel cell products into powertrains and heavy-duty vehicles, the acquiring party says. — Read more via electrive.com

UK manufacturer Axis Electronics sold to Swiss group

Swiss manufacturer Cicor Group has acquired UK-based Axis Electronics.

The acquisitionof Axis Electronics in Bedford is the first deal for the Swiss Cicor group to strengthen its position in the strategic target markets and expands its European footprint with a site in the UK.

Axis was founded originally as part of a large electronics business and spun out in 1995 as an independent, UK-based provider of electronic manufacturing services (EMS). Axis has significantly evolved over the years and is used by European companies, particularly in the aerospace and defence sectors. — Read more via eeNews Europe

Nestlé factory closure slammed for environmental impact

Proposals to close Nestlé’s Fawdon manufacturing site have been criticised by workers unions Unite and GMB for increasing the manufacturer’s environmental impact.

As part of the proposals, production would be moved from the factory near Newcastle to other sites in the UK and Europe – including the Czech Republic, according to the unions.

The planned closure would see 475 jobs at risk at the Fawdon site, as well as a further 98 at the York factory.GMB and Unite slammed the plans for the increase in food miles it would create, which they claimed contradicted the sustainability message the manufacturer was trying to share at the height of COP26 – Nestlé was on hand demoing it’s Vegan Fruit Pastilles. — Read more via Food Manufacture

EJOT invests £6m in Sherburn-in-Elmet factory

A manufacturer has invested £6m in doubling the size of its UK headquarters in North Yorkshire.

EJOT which makes high-performing fasteners for the construction and engineering industries has invested in its production and logistics facility at Sherburn-in-Elmet.

The expansion of its manufacturing capacity and technical support initially secures the future for the 70 employees, which includes site-based staff and sales engineers covering the UK.

In the long term, the investment will also create new job opportunities, particularly for young people seeking a career in engineering. — Read more via The Press

Friday – 12/11/2021

Best of British manufacturing: The Manufacturer MX Awards 2021 winners announced

The winners of The Manufacturer MX (TMMX) 2021 Awards have just been announced at a black tie ceremony and gala dinner in Liverpool, the culminating event of this year’s Digital Manufacturing Week.

Organised by The Manufacturer in partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the TMMX Awards are widely considered as the gold standard for the manufacturing industry and are the only peer-reviewed and judged programme of their kind.

With 2021 such a challenging year, it was, arguably, more important than ever to encourage, benchmark and celebrate manufacturing excellence, which is why we were delighted to announce a record number of nominations for this year’s TMMX Awards. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Norton Motorcycles reveals location of new HQ

Having kept the location of its new headquarters a secret for most of 2021, Norton Motorcycles has officially revealed it will be returning to its roots in the West Midlands,

Norton says it is now positioned to begin executing its ambitious plans for production. The new 73,000sq. ft. facility is complete with state-of-the-art equipment and the capacity to manufacture up to 8000 motorcycles per year. And Norton says it is only just getting started… — Read more via Norton Motorcycles

Johnson Matthey to exit battery business in blow to UK electric car ambitions

Johnson Matthey plans to stop manufacturing chemicals for batteries, dealing a blow to Britain’s ambitions to develop a homegrown champion in the race to power electric cars.

The 204-year-old UK company announced its decision to exit the key business on Thursday, as it warned that supply chain disruptions would hit profits and said its chief executive would step down next year.

The group had been betting big on developing a jet-black substance called eLNO, made from nickel, cobalt and lithium and used in cathodes, the most expensive part of an electric car’s battery. — Read more via Financial Times

UK economic recovery slows sharply as GDP grows by 1.3%

Britain’s recovery from its third Covid-19 lockdown slowed sharply over the summer as the economy’s growth was hit by rising infection rates, the pingdemic and global supply shortages.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that national output expanded by 1.3% in the three months to September, leaving it still more 2.1% below its pre-crisis level in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The third-quarter performance followed expansion of 5.5% in the three months to June – a period when restrictions on activity were being lifted.

Staff shortages and supply constraints blunted the impact of the ending of remaining lockdown restrictions in July, with a poorer trade performance – influenced by more expensive imports of oil – also acting as a brake on growth. — Read more via The Guardian

Excavator manufacturer Komatsu UK maintains profitability despite Covid hit to turnover

Excavator manufacturer Komatsu UK maintained profits despite seeing a significant drop in turnover during the Covid pandemic, new accounts show.

The Birtley-based firm, whose parent company is based in Japan, has released accounts for the year ending March 31 which show that its turnover fell almost £50m to £155.6m.

But the company’s operating profit actually increased over the year to £3.4m and profit for the year fell only marginally to £2.9m.

Earlier this year, Komatsu launched a recruitment drive that is aiming to create more than 80 new jobs. The posts, which have come after Komatsu won a number of new orders in the UK and Europe, include roles in production, assembly, paint shop, welding and fabrication, with support roles including purchasing, design and logistics. — Read more via Business Live

Thursday – 11/11/2021

The Manufacturer Top 100 2021: Britain’s manufacturing heroes named

The Manufacturer Top 100 2021 has just been announced at this year’s Digital Manufacturing Week.

The Manufacturer Top 100 is a showcase of those individuals who go that extra mile in their work. Nominated by their peers and judged by an expert panel, they represent the very best of the UK manufacturing industry. Discover individuals who played no small part in that collective effort, whether it be diversifying their businesses to meet demands for PPE or those who were part of the Ventilator Challenge. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK confirms pledge for zero-emission HGVs by 2040 and unveils new chargepoint design

All new heavy goods vehicles in the UK will be zero-emission by 2040, the UK government has confirmed today (10 November 2021). This, combined with the UK’s 2030 phase out for petrol and diesel cars and vans, represents a world-leading pledge to end the sale of all polluting road vehicles within the next 2 decades.

The UK will become the first country in the world to commit to phasing out new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035, with all new HGVs sold in the UK to be zero emission by 2040. — Read more via GOV.UK

Bentley renews carbon neutrality certification for operations and cuts off-sets by 81% following significant carbon reductions

Bentley Motors – the first luxury automotive brand to set a goal of becoming end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030 – today confirms the recertification of its headquarters and operations in Crewe to PAS 2060 Carbon Neutral specification, by the internationally-recognised Carbon Trust. This reflects the measures taken by Bentley to reduce carbon emitted through its operations.

Since first being certified as carbon neutral in 2019, Bentley has continued to invest in further emissions reduction, with the result that the use of off-sets has decreased by 81% over the same period. Thanks to focused actions by colleagues and the effects of the pandemic on reducing business travel, Bentley’s carbon footprint for operations has dropped from 17,482 tCO2e in 2019 to 3,341 tCO2e in 2020. This in spite of a widened scope of measurement to include all business travel and three satellite sites in the local area. — Read more via Bentley

Scott Bader sticks with Northamptonshire with new adhesives factory for Earls Barton

A Wollaston-based £200m global chemical company has expanded their Northamptonshire facilities with a new factory in Earls Barton.

The investment by Scott Bader into the new facility is due for completion this month and has been introduced to improve the ‘existing production provision’.

Now in its 100th year, Scott Bader is bolstering production to meet growing international demand for its structural adhesives – products which are of particular interest to specialty markets, including the automotive industry. — Read more via Northampton Chronicle

Dorset PC manufacturer Chillblast acquired by Tactus Group

Dorset-headquartered computer manufacturer Chillblast has been acquired by consumer tech and accessories business Tactus Group for an undisclosed sum.

Chillblast is the official PC supplier of Williams eSports – part of one of the world’s most historic Formula 1 teams – and its VR tech is used by the Ministry of Defence’s RAF Air Cadet training simulators are also built on Chillblast’s cutting-edge

According to Warrington-based Tactus, which owns brands including Geo, Horizon and Nazare, the acquisition will “enhance” its e-commerce business. — Read more via Business Live

Agreement signed for the UK’s first ever brand-new hydrogen train fleet

Alstom and Eversholt Rail sign an agreement for the UK’s first ever brand-new hydrogen train fleet

Alstom, Britain’s leading train manufacturer and maintenance provider, and Eversholt Rail, leading British train owner and financier, have today announced a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at delivering the UK’s first ever brand-new hydrogen train fleet.

The two companies have agreed to work together, sharing technical and commercial information necessary for Alstom to design, build, commission and support a fleet of ten three-car hydrogen multiple units (HMUs). These will be built by Alstom in Britain. The new HMU fleet will be based on the latest evolution of the Alstom Aventra platform and the intention is that final contracts for the fleet will be signed in early 2022. — Read more via Eversholt Rail

Wednesday – 10/11/2021

Aircraft engine noise pollution to be reduced thanks to novel maths of aero-acoustic simulations

Computer simulations are used every day in engineering; however, Dr Ed Brambley will be looking at the maths behind the next generation of novel simulations, which can be used to reduce aircraft engine noise, thanks to a grant from the EPSRC.

Aircraft engines are loud (about 1000x louder than a pneumatic drill), and so designing aircraft engines and airplanes that are able to meet ever stricter noise regulations, whilst still being fuel efficient and cost effective, is a major challenge for aircraft and engine manufacturers.

However, thanks to a £290,000 grant from the EPSRC, Dr Ed Brambley, from WMG and the Department of Maths at the University of Warwick, will investigate the maths behind how computer simulations can be used to minimise the noise from aircraft engines, therefore reducing noise pollution. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Swindon manufacturer announces net zero ambitions

As the COP26 climate conference reaches its midway point, a Swindon manufacturing firm has unveiled its own ambitions to reduce its carbon emissions and reach net zero.

For the past 42 years, IEW – Industrial Electronic Wiring Ltd – has been producing bespoke power cables, PCB’s and box builds for complex technology led machines, from its base in Swindon.

But a change in ownership two years ago brought a change in company culture, with new owner Duncan Game pledging to do everything possible to reduce his firm’s impact on the planet.

The SME has set itself a target of reducing its energy use 30 percent in the first year, and by a further seven percent every year after that, as it heads towards net zero. — Read more via Business biscuit

Mitsubishi Electric invests £15.3m in UK heat pump manufacture

Mitsubishi Electric is to invest £15.3m in its Scottish manufacturing operations to overhaul heat pump manufacturing to address both UK and European demand for low carbon systems.

The funding will be spent at the group’s existing manufacturing plant in Livingston to increase productivity and efficiency for the production and research of heat pump systems.

Both ground and air source heat pumps are currently produced at the company’s Livingston site. Both technologies are expected to see increased demand as governments look to shift away from fossil fuel heating up to 2050 to meet net zero targets, according to Mitsubishi. — Read more via H&V News

ITM Power to build second UK electrolyzer factory as it eyes rapid hydrogen market expansion

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, has announced that it has reached an agreement on Heads of Terms to acquire a site for the Company’s second UK factory in Tinsley, Sheffield, from the University of Sheffield at a cost of £13.4m.

The site is part of the University of Sheffield Innovation District, and close to the M1 motorway and public transport links. It is approximately 2 miles from the Group’s existing Gigafactory and Technology Centre at Bessemer Park. The land has outline planning consent and a full design brief agreed with the City Council. The acquisition is subject to the grant of full planning permission for the new factory. — Read more via ITM Power

50 years of engineering excellence at Southern Manufacturing

Leading UK precision sheetmetal work manufacturer, Fife Fabrications (Fifab), is celebrating 50 years in business next year, having been in operation since 1972.

For 50 years the company has manufactured precision sheetmetal work, electromechanical assemblies, and precision machined components in the UK, offering a complete service from design for manufacture support, to manufacturing and full customer delivery.

The 50th anniversary celebrations will coincide with the company’s presence at the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics show in Farnborough, being held on February 8th – 10th. — Read more via Production Engineering Solutions

Pilgrim’s Pride to create jobs in factory investment

Meat processor Pilgrim’s UK is to create jobs as part of an investment in its Bromborough, Wirral factory to enhance its capabilities.

The manufacturer has committed to improve efficiency, overall capacity and create a single production site for all fresh and higher welfare pork operations at the site. It is also injecting funds to support further growth and expansion in the future capabilities of the site, including new machinery and technologies in 2022. — Read more via Food Manufacture

Tuesday – 09/11/2021

Rolls-Royce announces funding secured for Small Modular Reactors

Rolls-Royce announced yesterday that following a successful equity raise, the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR) business has today been established, to bring forward and deliver at scale the next generation of low cost, low carbon nuclear power technology.

Rolls-Royce Group, BNF Resources UK Limited and Exelon Generation Limited will invest £195m across a period of around three years. The funding will enable the business to secure grant funding of £210m from UK Research and Innovation funding, first announced by the UK Prime Minister in ‘The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’. Today’s announcement is another step towards the delivery of the Government’s net zero strategy and its 10-point plan. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

ACE bounces back from lockdown disruption to target £10m sales

A Telford precision engineering specialist is now trading 10% above pre Covid-19 levels after it recorded its largest ever monthly intake of orders.

Advanced Chemical Etching (ACE), which employs 54 people at its facility at Hortonwood, has seen volumes in the automotive and aerospace sectors increase rapidly, alongside exciting new opportunities for its titanium, copper and aluminium etching expertise in the race for electrification.

The latter lends itself perfectly for battery interconnects, so important to the development of energy management in existing and future electric vehicles. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK satellite firm Inmarsat agrees $7.3bn takeover by US rival Viasat

The British satellite communications company Inmarsat has agreed a $7.3bn (£5.4bn) takeover by the California-based Viasat, becoming the latest UK tech firm to be taken over by a foreign rival.

The deal is the latest in which a UK company that plays a key role in Britain’s economy and national security is to be taken over by foreign rivals or private equity firms. Inmarsat was listed on the London Stock Exchange before being taken private two years ago by a consortium including the private equity firm Apax.

Viasat, which described the deal as “transformative” for the global communications industry, said it intended to work with the government to continue to invest and grow Inmarsat’s presence in the UK. — Read more via The Guardian

New 3.6 GW UK offshore wind farm will use largest turbines

The competition continues to design the largest offshore wind farms that will meet the increasing demands for renewable energy. Developer Vattenfall and turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa announced the details of their proposed offshore wind farm to be located in the U.K. off the coast of Norfolk, England.

The plans call for one of the largest fields using among the most powerful wind turbines currently available to the market. Consisting of two areas between 30 and 45 miles offshore, Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects would have a total capacity of 3.6 GW. As part of the development plan, Vattenfall has named Siemens Gamesa the Nominated Preferred Supplier using the company’s enhanced turbine design of 14 MW units with expanded capacity. — Read more via The Maritime Executive

UK ‘thermal battery’ maker Sunamp signs $70m China sales agreement

Sunamp, a Scotland-headquartered manufacturer of a thermal energy storage technology, has just signed an agreement with a distributor to target nearly $70m of sales in China and open a factory in the Asian country.

The company’s proprietary technology is based on a phase change material (PCM), branded ‘Plentigrade’, which delivers heating or cooling as needed. The non-toxic PCM was created in collaboration with the nearby University of Edinburgh. It’s designed to be several times more efficient at storing heat than water and can be used to replace or complement conventional equipment like boilers in homes and businesses. — Read more via Energy Storage News

Monday – 08/11/2021

Academics urged to come forward to support environmental innovation in UK manufacturing

The UK manufacturing industry is set to receive a big boost towards reaching zero carbon with the creation of a new project aimed at siphoning the knowledge of the country’s leading social science experts.

Loughborough’s Professor Jan Godsell will co-director a new network that will encourage academics to research the social and economic factors that will help UK manufacturing achieve ‘net zero’ by 2050.

Prof Godsell and Professor Jill MacBryde, of the University of Strathclyde, will lead the £4m InterAct initiative – a project funded by the UKRI’s £147m Made Smarter Innovation programme.

The network is a call to arms for academics from the social sciences to support the innovation and distribution of digital technologies that bolster the UK economy while also bringing it into line with national environmental targets.

The 38-month programme was launched today (8 NOV) at Digital Manufacturing Week and is due to end in December 2024. — Read more via Loughborough University

Hitachi Rail and ScottishPower sign renewable energy deal

ScottishPower has secured a contract to provide 100% renewable electricity to Hitachi Rail’s UK operations for the upcoming three years.

The energy firm will supply around 21GW of electricity to all of Hitachi Rail’s UK maintenance and manufacturing sites.

As one of the country’s largest train manufacturers, Hitachi Rail manages more than 200 trains at depots across England, Scotland, and Wales. — Read more via Railway Technology

Don’t miss Made Smarter Innovation Alley 2021

This month’s Smart Factory Expo provides an excellent opportunity to meet some of the UK’s most innovative businesses. Simon Edmonds previews this year’s Made Smarter Innovation Alley, previews the latest plans for Innovate UK’s regional engagement events, and outlines three funding opportunities for manufacturers.

Fifty of the most innovative businesses are exhibiting at this year’s Made Smarter Innovation Alley. Located at the very heart of Smart Factory Expo, the exhibition is a good opportunity to see the latest disruptive technology businesses who will be showcasing their game changing innovations targeting the UK’s manufacturing sector. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Pre-pack deal saves all 88 jobs at Lancaster bathroom pod manufacturer

A pre-pack at a Lancaster-based modular construction company has saved the jobs of all 88 staff.

OEP Building Services, whose pre-fabricated bathrooms and utility pods are regarded as the leaders in the market, had suffered cashflow problems due to the impact of COVID and a series of other challenges, including the administration of key customers and suppliers.

Following the appointment of administrators from Dow Schofield Watts on Wednesday, staff and key contracts have now been transferred to a sister company. — Read more via The Business Desk

Plant-based Future Farm secures £42m funding package

Food tech firm Future farm has secured £42m in a Series C investment co-led by Rage Capital, one of the highest funding rounds of its type for a plant-based meat company in the UK.

Future Farm will use the funding to assist in the development of its ‘True Texture Technology’, bring its products closer in looks, feel and flavour to their animal-origin counterparts. — Read more via Food Manufacture

COP26: Where have emissions fallen the most in England?

Parts of England are thought to have seen a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 80% over 15 years, official estimates show.

Between 2005 and 2019 Northumberland saw the biggest percentage drop in emissions per person, at 83%.

But experts say the change is not a complete picture, as industries shift overseas rather than decarbonising. — Read more via BBC News

Friday – 05/11/2021

UK gears up to produce rare earth magnets, cut reliance on China

Britain could revive domestic production of super strong magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines with government support, to cut its reliance on China and achieve vital cuts in carbon emissions, two sources with direct knowledge said.

A government-funded feasibility study is due to be published on Friday, laying out the steps Britain must take to restart output of rare earth permanent magnets, the sources said.

A magnet factory would help Britain, hosting the COP26 U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, meet its goal of banning petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and slashing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. — Read more via Reuters

More plug-in vehicles to be registered in 2021 than whole of last decade – SMMT

More plug-in vehicles will hit British roads in 2021 than during the whole of the last decade, according to the latest forecast from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Between 2010 and 2019, a total of 271,962 new BEVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) were registered in the UK. This year alone, SMMT says one in six new cars will be zero-emission capable, equivalent to around 287,000 vehicles.

Furthermore, SMMT says uptake rates of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have accelerated so rapidly that they will outsell conventional diesel and mild-hybrid diesel cars in 2022. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK’s only Kawasaki factory steps up hunt for staff as sales surge

Kawasaki’s only UK factory is the latest business to be hit by recruitment problems as sales are forecast to rise to £64.5m in 2022. Kawasaki Precision Machinery UK (KPM UK) needs staff at its base in Plymouth, the company’s only manufacturing plant outside Japan.

But with other manufacturers also seeking more workers, and recruitment issues rife in industries around the UK, Kawasaki is being frustrated in its search for employees. It needs at least 20 extra workers right now to join more than 260 staff already at the factory. — Read more via Business Live

UK wire manufacturer targets £1m sales in the US

The power of transatlantic relationships is helping a British wire manufacturer target £1m sales in the US.

Alloy Wire International, which produces wire in 60 different high performance alloys, is on course to hit a seven-figure order haul is the US as the company celebrates a 20-year partnership with Davidon Alloys.

The Rhode Island-based company has been AWI’s North American Headquarters since a chance encounter at Interwire Exhibition 2001, and the relationship has generated almost £10m of sales since it started, with wire manufactured in the UK used by over 1,000 customers in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Now the third-longest established international sales team, Davidon Alloys is looking to capitalise on new demand from clients supporting the automotive, aerospace, medical and oil and gas sectors keen to get back to pre COVID-19 levels. — Read more via PES Media

‘UK first’ antibacterial, recycled and recyclable refuse sack launched by Cedo

Cedo’s Good Karma refuse sacks are reportedly made from 100% recycled plastic with incorporated antimicrobial technology. The sacks are intended for household use and can also be recycled, according to the company.

The refuse sacks use Bactiglas Antimicrobial technology developed by specialist additive masterbatch manufacturer Wells Plastics, which the company claims killed more than 99% of bacteria – including E. coli and S. aureus – in controlled testing. This contributes to the safe handling of household waste. — Read more via Packaging Europe

Thursday – 04/11/2021

Report shows optimism among SME manufacturers, despite staffing and supply chain issues

Small and medium-sized manufacturers are continuing to bounce back from the pandemic, despite experiencing significant supply chain and recruitment struggles, new research shows.

According to the latest Manufacturing Barometer, which surveyed more than 400 SMEs across the UK, nearly two thirds (64%) of companies are expecting to grow over the next six months and 52% plan to invest in capital equipment and manufacturing.

For the first time in over a year, the report also revealed that more firms are trading at increased levels than they were before Covid-19, highlighting the resurgence in fortunes since lockdown eased. — Read more via The Manufacturer

COP26 sees UK businesses lead the world in climate change commitments

Britain’s largest businesses are leading the way in the global transition to net zero emissions, with over half of FTSE100 companies now committed to eliminating their contribution to climate change by 2050.

As of today, 60 of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies have signed up to the United Nation’s Race to Zero campaign – the largest ever global alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest, backed by independent experts and organisations to ensure everyone in the Race is following through on meeting their targets – signally a strong shift in the UK economy to a greener future.

Accelerating momentum from UK businesses means that pledges have more than quadrupled since November last year, now representing total market capital of over a trillion pounds and combined turnover of £700bn. — Read more via GOV UK

Uber strikes deal with Tesla to boost electric car uptake in London

Uber has struck a deal with Tesla which will allow London drivers to access the electric vehicles as part of an incentive scheme to boost the use of greener cars.

Under the agreement, from Wednesday, Uber drivers will have access to a clean air fund to buy or lease a Tesla car.

Uber’s new partnership with the electric car manufacturer marks a key step towards the company’s commitment for all its vehicles in London to be fully electric by 2025. — Read more via Sky News

Brickmaker pledges £50m investment in new Yorkshire factory

Clay brick manufacturer Ibstock is to make a £50m investment in Yorkshire to create the UK’s first automated brick slips factory.

The East Midlands-based firm will build the factory on the site of its old clay brick factory in Nostell, West Yorkshire, which closed in 2020 following a group restructure. — Read more via The Yorkshire Port

AMRC graduate’s final year project put to good use at Ceratizit

Ceratizit UK & Ireland’s investment in apprentice training is paying off, the company has announced, as Stephen Pennington completes his manufacturing technology apprenticeship.

This included his final year industrial project of designing and manufacturing a feature-rich custom cartesian 3D printer.

This printer will now be used in the new Ceratizit Technology Centre in Sheffield to rapidly prototype special tooling prior to manufacture within the group, as well as other workshop applications.

Mr Pennington, who is now a projects sales engineer working in the Ceratizit Technology Centre, was given full creative control of the project, which involved carrying out a review of existing desktop 3D printing systems and identifying the best features of each, then incorporating them into his design. — Read more via Production Engineering Solutions

Wednesday – 03/11/2021

Five new Mini electric cars to be built in Britain

Britain is on course for an electric Mini ‘high five’, as the UK car maker sets out bold plans to revolutionise production at its Oxford factory.

This will bring the arrival of two new radical family SUVs and the next-generation Mini hatchback.

The legendary car manufacturer, owned by BMW, is on course to bring a handful of all-new and new-generation cars to its revamped UK factory in what will be seen as a major confidence vote in post-Brexit Britain. — Read more via This Is Money

Bus manufacturer Mellor reveals plans for Scarborough production facility

UK bus manufacturer Mellor has revealed plans for a new Scarborough-based production division as part of its exciting ambitions to reposition the business from 2022. Mellor (Scarborough) will support the company’s existing Mellor manufacturing base in Rochdale while boosting capacity and adding significant technological capability. — Read more via The Manufacturer

PM launches new initiative to take Green Industrial Revolution global

The Prime Minister has announced a major funding package at COP26 to support the rollout of sustainable infrastructure and revolutionary green technology in developing countries, helping to tackle climate change and boost economic growth.

The funding kickstarts the UK’s new Clean Green Initiative (CGI), which will help to scale up public and private investment in quality, sustainable infrastructure globally. — Read more via GOV UK

New opportunities to support sustainability in UK manufacturing thanks to Made Smarter Innovation

The Made Smarter Innovation programme, delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has launched a new collaborative research and development competition focusing on sustainable smart factories. This funding call presents a huge opportunity to launch a wide range of projects that bring a significant benefit to our planet, helping to achieve net zero.

Consortia of UK registered business and organisations can apply for a share of up to £20m for digital innovation projects that will reduce the carbon emissions of manufacturing processes in factories. The aim of the competition is to support the development of digital innovations to improve the sustainability of manufacturing processes, resulting in either reduced material or reduced energy consumption. — Read more via Cambridge Network

UK relaunches contractor-based aviation training effort

The United Kingdom is again looking to procure a contractor-based aviation training capability, following the earlier collapse of the Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued its Medium to fast speed Operational Readiness Training (ORT) aerial support service tender on 29 October, noting that its requirement covers air-to-air, target, threat simulation, and mission augmentation training. — Read more via Janes

Tuesday – 02/11/2021

Supply chain crisis continues to hamstring UK manufacturing

The manufacturing upturn slowed further at the start of the fourth quarter, as output growth was constrained by rising supply chain disruption, staff shortages and declining intakes of new export work.

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) posted 57.8 in October, up from 57.1 in September, rising for the first time in five months. Although the PMI was boosted by improved growth of new orders and employment, alongside a steeper rise in stocks of purchases and lengthier vendor lead times, a further slowdown in output growth held back the headline index. — Read more via IHS Markit

LIBERTY Steel UK restarts Rotherham plant at night to reduce energy costs

LIBERTY Steel UK (LSUK) has relaunched production at its Rotherham plant, several months after it shut down for the summer. Operations at LIBERTY’s GREENSTEEL Rotherham electric arc furnace will take place overnight, when energy costs are cheaper.

The Sanjeev Gupta-owned group’s Rotherham plant, which produces sustainably-produced steel for growth markets such as infrastructure and high-value engineering and is among the UK’s most electro-intensive industrial sites, will operate between 11pm and 6am. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Coca-Cola unveils new 100% plant-based bottle

The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled a new 100% plant-based plastic (bPET) bottle (excluding cap and label), which is produced using technologies that are now ready to be commercially scaled across the industry.

The Coca‑Cola Company, Changchun Meihe and Virent Inc. partnered to develop the next generation prototype bottle, which is made from plant-based paraxylene (bPX) using sugar from corn. To begin, a limited number of around 900 prototype bottles have been manufactured. — Read more via The Coca-Cola Company

UK net zero companies have doubled in value in a year, new report finds

The total value of net zero tech companies in the UK has nearly doubled over the last year, from £17.8bn to £34.8bn, new Tech Nation research released today has shown.

While 10 new UK net zero companies have entered the market, these skyrocketing valuations have been primarily driven by existing climate tech companies reaching unicorn ($1bn+) status. These include companies Arrival (whose valuation increased to £11.3bn after their IPO in March 2021), Octopus Energy (whose valuation grew to £3.6bn after a growth equity VC round in September 2021) and ITM Power (valued at £2.1bn in June 2021). — Read more via Tech Nation

Qatar Foundation and Rolls-Royce sign strategic partnership to invest, develop, and scale-up climate-tech businesses in UK and Qatar

Rolls-Royce and Qatar Foundation announced they will enter into a long-term partnership to create a global centre for climate technology innovation. As partners, Rolls-Royce and Qatar Foundation will develop two world-class campuses dedicated to launching, investing in and growing businesses that can accelerate the global energy transition.

The centre will help entrepreneurs create and grow new climate technology businesses, aided by academic leadership, funds for R&D and early-stage venture capital investment. Businesses will be able to use infrastructure on the campuses to test, prove and scale their technologies, enabling them to have a rapid impact. This integrated approach is a global first in climate technology. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

Economic network for Made Smarter Innovation programme

Almost £4m of funding has been approved for a new ESRC Network Plus to bring an economic and social science dimension to the £147 million Made Smarter Innovation programme. The new network will be led by Co-Directors Professor Jill MacBryde of the University of Strathclyde and Professor Jan Godsell of Loughborough University.

The Made Smarter Innovation challenge aims to help UK manufacturing become more productive and competitive through the innovation and diffusion of digital technology; made Smarter Innovation also supports manufacturing to achieve Net Zero by 2050. Whilst the much of focus of MSI is on industrial digital technologies, there is an awareness of how important social and economic insights will be in ensuring that the MSI challenge achieves its aims. — Read more via University of Strathclyde

Monday – 01/11/2021

Samsung plans to triple foundry chip production capacity by 2026

Samsung Electronics said Thursday that it plans to triple its foundry production capacity by 2026 amid a global chip shortage disrupting production in key industries from autos to smartphones as it reported strong third quarter earnings.

The world’s biggest chipmaker by sales said that it will expand its production lines in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, and may build a new factory in the U.S. to meet rising demand for the chips that are made-to-order for corporate customers. The South Korean tech giant is working to raise its game in the foundry business and plans to make the components more cost-effective. — Read more via Nikkei Asia

JCB strikes green hydrogen deal with Australian company

An Australian company will become Britain’s biggest supplier of environmentally friendly “green” hydrogen in a deal struck with JCB.

The digger manufacturer and Ryze Hydrogen, set up by Jo Bamford, son of JCB chairman Lord Bamford, will join forces with Fortescue Future Industries early next year.

Green hydrogen is made using water and renewable electricity, as opposed to more polluting “blue” hydrogen extracted from natural gas.

Ryze and JCB said they will buy a tenth of Fortescue’s global green hydrogen production and will manage the UK distribution in Britain and try to convert firms to start using it. — Read more via The Telegraph

Ibstock Concrete invests in UK manufacturing facilities to improve operational safety

Ibstock Concrete is investing in its UK manufacturing facilities to improve the safety and efficiency of its operations, by undertaking upgrades to its engineering practices.

Following extensive employee feedback, the concrete manufacturer has made upgrades to the manufacturing processes at its Bedford and Northwich sites, which manufacture a portfolio of landscaping, flooring, building, rail and infrastructure products for its Supreme Concrete and Anderton Concrete brands. — Read more via Safety & Health Practitioner

Cranswick doubles down on green goals after hitting targets across UK sites

Leading food producer Cranswick has reiterated its ambition to become a world-leading player in sustainable meat production after hitting environmental targets at all of its eligible UK manufacturing sites.

The Hull firm has received carbon neutral certification for 14 UK sites, having already reduced its relative carbon emissions by 18% in the last financial year. The company has also committed to purchasing 100% certified deforestation-free soya, a first for the industry which will reduce its carbon footprint further. — Read more via Business Live

Stockport clothing manufacturer prepares to launch digital eco-factory

A clothing manufacturer, supported by Made Smarter, is aiming for green growth when a new ground-breaking smart eco-factory opens in Stockport in 2022.

Creative Apparel is set to open the new facility a mile from its current base thanks in part to a £20,000 grant from Made Smarter, a government backed initiative to promote the adoption of new technologies among SME manufacturers.

The Stockport clothing manufacturer is investing in full factory digitalisation where a central IT system drives and measures smart machinery, linking production through to its customers and supply chain.

Renewable energy sources including rainwater harvesting, solar power, wind turbines, air-source heating and eco fans will support the introduction of modern, high-tech machinery to enable a more sustainable approach to production. — Read more via Marketing Stockport

Birmingham is home to the UK’s oldest manufacturing company

Birmingham is home to the UK’s oldest manufacturing company – and it’s even older than the Bank of England.

Firmin and Sons has been supplying the military with buttons, badges, and parade and operational dress for hundreds of years, since 1655.

They are one of the last working armourers in the UK making ceremonial equipment and dress, making pieces for the Household Cavalry and Honourable Artillery Company – two of the most senior military and reserve companies in the Armed Forces.

BusinessFinancing.co.uk compiled a list of the oldest company in 58 UK cities, finding that Firmin and Sons was the fifth oldest company in the UK, and the only manufacturer in the top 10. — Read more via Birmingham Live