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

Each day The Manufacturer compiles the top manufacturing news stories from around the web. To make your life a little easier, we trawl through all the major trade publications, broadsheets and business magazines to find you the most important manufacturing news each morning. Don't forget to bookmark this page and check back daily.

Friday – 22/10/2021

Manufacturing activity remains firm, but supply pressures mount – CBI Quarterly Industrial Trends Survey

UK manufacturing output volumes in the quarter to October grew at a similarly firm pace to September, according to the latest quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey.

The survey of 263 manufacturers reported output increasing in 11 out of 17 sub-sectors, with growth driven by the chemicals, aerospace, and food, drink & tobacco sub-sectors. Firms expect output growth to pick up substantially in the next quarter.

Total new orders grew at a slower, but still strong, pace compared to July, with the deceleration driven by an easing in domestic orders growth. Meanwhile, export orders increased at a broadly similar pace to last quarter. Manufacturers expect total new orders growth to pick up next quarter, led by an acceleration in domestic and export orders.

Concerns about supply shortages in the next three months escalated further in October. Almost two-thirds of firms cited availability of materials/components as a factor likely to limit output next quarter (highest share since January 1975). — Read more via CBI

New footage and images show what huge Coventry gigafactory could look like

New footage and images have been released which show what a huge Coventry gigafactory could look like.

The footage and images reveal the scale of a giant factory to build batteries for electric vehicles on the site of Coventry Airport.

The team behind the ambitious West Midlands Gigafactory project have also said it could be up and running by 2025.

Read more Coventry news

In addition, if it becomes a reality, the factory would become the UK’s largest single industrial facility, covering the same area as 74 football pitches

It is estimated the £2.5bn investment would create up to 6,000 jobs directly and thousands more in the supply chain. — Read more via Coventry Live

Orbex to launch world’s most environmentally friendly rocket

ORBEX is set to launch the world’s most environmentally friendly rocket by late 2022.

Prime space rocket, which is being manufactured in Forres, will have a carbon footprint that is up to 96 per cent lower than fossil fuelled alternatives.

That’s thanks to the use of ultra-low carbon biofuel, a reusable design that will not leave any debris on Earth and also a commitment to offsetting all emissions from the rocket and its launch to ensure it remains carbon neutral.

Orbex plans to launch Prime from carbon neutral spaceport, Space Hub Sutherland. — Read more via The Northern Scot

Newark plastic manufacturer creates 40 jobs due to surge in orders

Nottinghamshire firm Rototek is looking to fill 40 new positions at its Newark factory due to a significant increase in demand for its plastic manufacturing services.

Rototek, which has a second factory in Worksop and employs over 140 people, is one of the UKs biggest technical rotational moulding plastics businesses and creates over 100 different products ranging from sailing boats to water tanks.

With a surge of orders, the business is undertaking significant recruitment in Newark and the surrounding areas and is looking for new team members to help fulfil its order book. — Read more via The Business Desk

Tesla achieves 96% CAGR over four years of energy storage deployments

Tesla deployed 1,295MWh of energy storage in the third quarter of 2021 and has recorded a 96% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in deployments over a four-year period.

In reporting its latest quarterly financial results, Tesla said energy storage deployments for the period represent a 71% increase year-on-year from Q3 2020 and a slight increase from 1,274MWh in the previous quarter of this year.

As with Q2 2021, the company said this was driven mainly by “strong deployments” of its Megapack utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) solution. Tesla also announced in September that it has broken ground on a 40GWh factory making Megapacks in California, to add to production capacity from its Nevada Gigafactory 1 facility. — Read more via Energy Storage News

Thursday – 21/10/2021

UK manufacturing holds key to unlocking Government’s domestic and global ambitions – SMMT

The success of the UK’s manufacturing sector will be central to Government’s ability to deliver on its national ambitions to level up the whole country, reach Net Zero by 2050 and become a global science super-power

Today, five trade associations together representing sectors with nearly 800,000 employees, annual turnover of £338.2bn and £166bn in exports, publish a joint report setting out policy recommendations to maximise the potential of UK manufacturing to generate and sustain high value jobs and growth. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Britain’s biggest factory to open in the West Midlands in 2025, creating 6,000 jobs

The biggest factory in the UK is due to open in the West Midlands in 2025.

Developers planning a £2.5 billion car battery “gigafactory” in Coventry have revealed more details about the mammoth project, including the proposed opening date.

It’s backed by local authorities across the West Midlands as well as mayor Andy Street and Warwick University, and is expected to receive Government support with funding of tens of millions of pounds, or more, coming from the Treasury. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is understood to be closely involved in the project, although the carmaker’s role has not been publicly confirmed.

The gigafactory, to be built on the site currently occupied by Coventry Airport, will be the UK’s largest single industrial facility, covering the same area as 74 full-size football pitches. It will employ 6,000 workers directly, and support thousands more jobs in the supply chain. It is also expected to play a vital role supporting carmakers in the region and across the UK, who will need a reliable supplier of batteries as they switch to production of electric vehicles.

Batteries produced by the factory will power electric cars and have little in common with traditional car batteries found in petrol-driven vehicles. — Read more via Birmingham Live

INEOS subsidiary to ramp up hydrogen supply to fuel trucks buses and power generator sectors

INOVYN a subsidiary of INEOS has today announced investment plans to upgrade existing production at Runcorn so that it can supply compressed fuel-cell quality hydrogen to mobility and power generation sectors. This is part of more than €2bn investment in Green Hydrogen announced by INEOS earlier this week.

INOVYN, which has been producing and using low-carbon hydrogen at its Runcorn site for over 100 years, is set to ramp up supply of hydrogen to fuel the UKs transport network.

Specifically, the investment will deliver dedicated on-site facilities for the purification and compression of existing low carbon, fuel cell quality hydrogen for subsequent loading and transportation and distribution to fuelling stations across the UK.

Low-carbon hydrogen from Runcorn will help to decarbonise the UK and accelerate the drive to net-zero, confirming INOVYN’s position as the leading producer of low-carbon hydrogen in the UK. — Read more via INEOS

GKN Aerospace hosts aviation forum to celebrate opening of UK global technology centre

GKN Aerospace has held an aviation industry forum to celebrate the opening of its new Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Bristol, UK. The event – entitled ‘Shaping a sustainable future of flight’ – brought together the wider UK aerospace ecosystem and helped promote collaboration in the industry.

The 10,000m2 centre focuses on sustainable aviation research and development, including hydrogen propulsion technologies, advanced composite structures for electric aircraft, additive manufacturing, and industry 4.0 processes to enable the high rate production of aircraft structures. — Read more via GKN Aerospace

Ruark returns to UK production for a limited-edition ‘Made in England’ collection

British audio brand Ruark has unveiled the first product in its new ‘Made in England’ (MiE) range, which aims to celebrate “bespoke hand-built products” using traditional crafts. Fancy.

A limited run of just 35 special-edition R5 MiE all-in-one systems will be available from November. Each one will be “individually hand-assembled and tested” at Ruark’s headquarters in Southend on Sea, England.

Their exclusivity will be denoted by an ‘MiE’ badge and a slatted wood grille crafted from multiple layers of FSC-approved walnut veneer (a painstaking process by all accounts, but well worth it if the glossy images are anything to go by). — Read more via What Hi-Fi?

Wednesday – 20/10/2021

UK’s path to net zero set out in landmark strategy

A landmark Net Zero Strategy setting out how the UK will secure 440,000 well-paid jobs and unlock £90 billion in investment in 2030 on its path to ending its contribution to climate change by 2050 has been unveiled by the UK government today (19 October).

Building on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, today’s UK Net Zero Strategy sets out a comprehensive economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering the Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future, and strengthening our energy security.

The commitments made will unlock up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030, and support 440,000 well-paid jobs in green industries in 2030. This will provide certainty to businesses to support the UK in gaining a competitive edge in the latest low carbon technologies – from heat pumps to electric vehicles – and in developing thriving green industries in our industrial heartlands – from carbon capture to hydrogen, backed by new funding. — Read more via GOV UK

Manufacturers among first to sign up to low carbon innovation with Eco-I North West

SME manufacturers have been among the first to sign up to Eco-I North West, a first-of-its-kind research and development programme for low carbon innovation.

Eco-I North West is a £14m initiative offering businesses the opportunity to collaborate with and access the extensive knowledge base, cutting-edge research facilities, and skills of six of the region’s leading universities – Lancaster, Central Lancashire, Cumbria, Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores and Manchester Metropolitan.

The programme, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will work with more than 300 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the region over the next two years, supporting the development of 135 new innovative solutions which will save 3,850 tonnes of CO2. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Avara Foods to create 150 jobs at new chicken facility

Avara Foods is to create more than 150 new jobs as part of a £4.7m investment into a new facility in Wednesbury, West Midlands.

The manufacturer will use the funding to fully refurbish the site and install new food processing machinery, with a heavy focus on automation to reduce the number of manual and repetitive tasks. — Read more via Food Manufacture

Meggitt says US takeover will go ahead despite UK government intervention

The British aerospace manufacturer Meggitt said it was confident its £6.3bn takeover by a US rival would go ahead, after the business secretary, Kwarsi Kwarteng, intervened in the deal over national security concerns.

Kwarteng referred the proposed acquisition of Coventry-based Meggitt by Parker-Hannifin to the Competition and Markets Authority on Monday, saying it was in the public interest. “The UK is open for business. However, we will take steps to protect our national security when necessary,” he said.

Meggitt, a FTSE 100 engineering company that operates in the aerospace, defence and energy markets, said in a brief statement on Tuesday that it looked forward to “engaging constructively” with the competition regulator on its review. — Read more via The Guardian

UK manufacturer opens EU base to help it overcome Brexit complications

A UK company which manufactures and distributes materials and equipment for advanced composites has opened a new European subsidiary.

Easy Composites Group, which is based on Park Hall Business Village in Stoke-on-Trent, has expanded its operations and established a base in the Netherlands.

It says the move will help it to overcome delays and complications following Brexit, and enable it to serve its European customers “better than ever” following the UK’s departure from the EU. — Read more via Business Live

Tuesday – 19/10/2021

Ford commits to UK-based innovation with £230m Halewood investment, safeguards 500 jobs

In a boost for the UK automotive industry, Ford has announced that it will spend £230m converting its Halewood car plant to produce electric power units.

The investment forms part of Ford’s plans to become a wholly electric carmaker in Europe by 2030.

Ford’s Halewood plant, which currently makes gearboxes for the firm’s Fiesta and Focus models, will start producing what will be 250,000 electric power units, or e-drives, a year from 2024. Ford’s decision to convert its Halewood plant will save at least 500 automotive jobs on Merseyside.

Once it has transitioned to e-drive production, Ford’s Halewood plant will be the car maker’s first in-house electric vehicle component facility in Europe.

Halewood was chosen over another Ford plant in Germany. — Read more via The Manufacturer

JCB unveils hydrogen-powered equipment prototypes at event with Prime Minister

Construction equipment giant JCB has announced it is investing £100 million in zero-emission hydrogen engines to power machinery.

The company made the announcement as it unveiled a prototype hydrogen-powered backhoe loader and another machine – a telescopic handler – with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at an event in London.

The firm said it already has a team of 100 engineers working on the hydrogen engines, and is recruiting up to 50 more to deliver on its bid to make the first machines available to customers by the end of 2022. — Read more via Rhyl Journal

MaRS partners with Innovate UK

MaRS has announced its partnership with Innovate UK’s Global Incubator Programme to support the international expansion of UK advanced manufacturing companies. Eight promising ventures will use the pilot program at the Toronto-based innovation hub as a launch pad to find international partners, connections and customers to scale in the North American market.

“The partnership will accelerate the North American growth of our UK cohort and strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem here in Canada,” said Jon Dogterom, senior vice president of Venture Services at MaRS. “We want to build closer connections between the UK and Canadian innovation economy overall.” — Read more via Electronic Products and Technology

High-Tech machining demonstration and training centre opens for business in Sheffield

XYZ Machine Tools, in partnership with Ceratizit UK & Ireland has opened the doors to its latest Demonstration and Training Centre in Sheffield.

Located on the Advanced Manufacturing Park the centre is strategically placed to support customers looking for the latest in machine tool technology from XYZ Machine Tools.

The facility is equipped with a broad range of XYZ machines from ProtoTRAK controlled lathes and mills, through its heavy-duty and linear rail machining and turning centres to the flagship UMC-5X five-axis machining centre. — Read more via PES Media

Metal forming to be cleaner and greener thanks to UKRI fellowship

The future of smart metal forming will be investigated by Dr Ed Brambley at the University of Warwick thanks to his award of a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. The fellowship enables him to perform blue-skies research in mathematical modelling in continuum solid mechanics and plasticity, the outcome of which could be used to provide predictive theoretical models to make industrial metal forming greener and cleaner.

Dr Ed Brambley is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, at both the Maths and WMG departments. He is one of 97 scientists in the UK to receive a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship in the 5th round, and over the next four years he will perform blue-skies research to investigate new mathematical modelling techniques that can make industrial metal forming cleaner and greener, thanks to £780k funding from UKRI and £230k funding from the University of Warwick. — Read more via University of Warwick


Made Smarter helping food & drink makers leverage digital to overcome challenges

Made Smarter is supporting food and drink makers to take advantage of digital technologies and skills to navigate the major challenges of coronavirus, Brexit and climate change.

The Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, a collaboration between UK government and industry designed to support the increased use of digital technologies, has worked with dozens of SMEs across the entire supply chain from farm to fork to capitalise on the multitude of benefits that digitalisation offers.

These include: salad, fruit and potato growers; cheese and yogurt makers; bakers, confectioners, and dessert manufacturers; breweries; health and nutrition producers; as well as businesses making baby food, black pudding, flavourings, and pet food. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 18/10/2021

Waymo self driving cars clog up San Francisco cul-de-sac

Residents of a cul-de-sac in San Francisco say their neighbourhood is regularly playing host to a gathering of Waymo self driving cars and they don’t know why.

According to local news station KPIX, the self driving cars have been driving up and down the “dead-end” street at all hours of the day “for weeks”, with no rhyme nor reason as to why. Most of the self driving cars arrive at the street on 15th Avenue and then turn around and leave once they realise it’s a dead-end. Residents even say there’s sometimes a queue of the vehicles waiting to perform a three-point turn before leaving. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Essar submits application for two UK hydrogen production plants

Essar Oil (UK) has submitted a planning application for the construction of two hydrogen production plants at its Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port.

They will be part of the ‘HyNet North West’ initiative, an innovative low carbon and hydrogen energy project that aims to unlock a low carbon future across North West England and North East Wales.

The two blue hydrogen hubs are expected to attract around £750 million of investment and if approved, work is scheduled to begin on site by the end of 2022, with hydrogen production set to commence by the mid-2020s. — Read more via Energy Live News

Nissan solar energy expansion plans for Sunderland submitted

Plans have been unveiled to expand the solar farm at Nissan in Sunderland with the aim of making the plant run entirely on green energy.

The proposed 37,000-solar panels extension would be a further step in Nissan’s ambition to become carbon neutrality, the firm said.

Sunderland City Council is now considering the application.

If approved it would result in 20% of the plant’s energy coming from onsite renewables.

This would mean enough to build every single zero-emission Nissan Leaf sold in Europe, the company said. — Read more via BBC News

ITM Power raises £250m to boost electrolyser manufacturing

UK energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power Plc said on Friday that it has secured £250m, which it intends to use to scale up its electrolyser manufacturing capacity to 5 GW by 2024.

The company closed an oversubscribed placing of about 57.5 million new shares via an accelerated bookbuild at a price of £4 apiece. As part of the transaction, minority shareholder Linde Plc and certain ITM senior executives subscribed for an additional five million new units. — Read more via Renewables Now

Haslingden manufacturer ramps up production of electric vehicle bodies

A manufacturer of refrigerated vehicles is ramping up its production of bodies for electric vehicles.

Solomon Commercials, which is based at Knowsley Road Industrial Estate in Haslingden, Rossendale, Lancashire is the UK’s leading manufacturer of refrigerated vehicles.

The company has now begun increasing its electric vehicles body production to meet demand.

Refrigerated bodies for electric vehicles help retailers transport products quickly and safely while also helping them to achieve stringent carbon emission targets. — Read more via In Your Area

Friday – 14/10/2021

Hallé venue wins RIBA sustainability award with help of Siemens tech

The Oglesby Centre extension at Hallé St Peter’s in central Manchester has been recognised for its sustainability credentials by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), winning three separate awards at the professional body’s recent ceremony. The venue’s partnership with Siemens has been credited with playing a significant role in its success.

The Oglesby Centre, a £4.3m three-storey extension to Hallé St Peter’s – the historic rehearsal venue and community centre for the world-famous orchestra – won three RIBA gongs in its 2021 awards: a RIBA National Award 2021, RIBA North West Award 2021, and RIBA North West Sustainability Award 2021. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK Manufacturing needs urgent financing to reach net zero

UK manufacturing needs to be prepared to take urgent action in order to achieve net zero by 2050, according to new research undertaken by UCL, with support from HSBC UK today.

The report, Net Zero Manufacturing in the UK: Options and Challenges for the Biggest Emitting Sectors, led by Dr Matthew Winning and Dr Catherine Willan, from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, examines the importance of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in the steel, cement and chemicals sectors. — Read the full report via HSBC

Yorkshire radiator manufacturer confirms £350m flotation ahead of winter demand

The UK’s leading manufacturer and distributor of household and commercial radiators has confirmed its intention to float on the stock exchange.

Stelrad, which employs 300 people at its UK manufacturing site in South Yorkshire, is a leading specialist manufacturer and distributor of steel panel radiators in the UK, Europe and Turkey.

From its manufacturing site in Mexborough, the firm makes a large range of standard and premium steel panel radiators, low surface temperature radiators, towel warmers, and decorative steel tubular radiators. It has more than 500 customers.

The IPO is expected to value the business at around £350m. — Read more via The Yorkshire Post

Midaero launches international supply chain competition for local SMEs

Midaero, an aerospace consultancy supporting businesses in the West Midlands and Nationwide to achieve essential industry certifications, has launched a competition to assist 20 manufacturers to reach AS9100 certification during the next twelve months.

Successful applicants will access a package of state-of-the-art technology to help them understand and close gaps in performance and compliance, at significantly reduced rates. Midaero believes the competition will help to highlight the number of ‘certification-ready’ businesses in the UK and the prohibitive total costs associated with the AS9100 certification. — Read more via Aerospace Manufacturing

UK’s Moke beach jeep to become all-electric

British front-wheel-drive utility and recreational convertible marque Moke will be all electric by 1 January next year. The company has announced the opening of order books today, with deliveries set for Summer 2022.

Prices start at £29,150 or around 34,410 euros (not including local taxes and electric vehicle incentives). The new electric vintage jeeps can be ordered as a right- or left-hand drive. — Read more via electrive

Thursday – 14/10/2021

Jaguar Land Rover trials blockchain technology to track leather supply chain

Jaguar Land Rover has trialled the use of secure blockchain technology to ensure full transparency within a sustainable leather supply chain.

In the world-first, Jaguar Land Rover partnered with supply chain traceability provider Circulor, leading UK leather manufacturer Bridge of Weir Leather Company and the University of Nottingham to trial the use of traceability technology in the leather supply chain.

As well as tracking compliance, the digital process enabled Jaguar Land Rover to assess the carbon footprint of its leather supply network, working with UK-based Bridge of Weir Leather Company to trace its lowest carbon leather from farm to finished article – all part of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to reducing the environmental and ethical impact of its products across their lifecycle. — Read more via Jaguar Land Rover

Cambridgeshire manufacturer leverages cobots to boost productivity

A high-precision Cambridgeshire engineering firm has invested £2m in collaborative robot (cobot) technology as it looks to win back business from overseas manufacturers.

Cambridge Precision, which employs 80 people at its St Neots manufacturing HQ, says the cobots are already helping to boost productivity and improve working conditions for its engineers. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Inmarsat cements business aviation inflight connectivity leadership with 1,000th activation of Jet Connex

nmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, today celebrated the 1,000th installation and activation of its market-leading Jet ConneX inflight connectivity solution, cementing the company’s leadership in the business aviation market.

The milestone was celebrated with Inmarsat’s partners at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas, USA and also coincides with the fifth anniversary of Jet ConneX. Since entering commercial service in November 2016, Jet ConneX has quickly developed into the business aviation industry’s gold standard inflight connectivity service, offering the same level of reliable, consistent and high-speed broadband in the air that was previously only available on the ground. — Read more via Inmarsat

Nottingham manufacturer which powers ‘greenest car on earth’ announces ambitious growth plans

One of the “greenest car’s on earth” has an alternative fuel system designed right here in Nottingham.

In what has become a growth industry, fuelled by the UK’s drive towards achieving net zero by 2050, Nottingham-based manufacturer, Luxfer Gas Cylinders, has big plans for expansion as demand for its alternative fuel expertise increases.

Harnessing hydrogen technology, the global supplier of storage systems and high-pressure cylinders, says it plans to begin its expansion “in the near future”.

The firm, which already employs more than 200 people from across the region at its Colwick base, says it is reviewing growth plans aligned to a strategic commitment to hydrogen storage systems.

At this stage, exact details of the number of new jobs being created haven’t been confirmed. — Read more via Nottinghamshire Live

Cycling apparel manufacturer to create jobs following £500,000 investment

A Hinckley-headquartered cycling apparel manufacturer has secured a £500,000 investment.

Velobici secured the funding from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) – managed by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The company will use the funds to bolster its workforce over the next three years, creating seven full time jobs, six dedicated to the manufacturing side of the business and a new finance employee. — Read more via Business Live

Scottish manufacturer looks to scale production of its thermal battery storage systems with extended partnership

A Scottish manufacturer of world-leading thermal storage technologies has announced an extension to one of its professional partnerships as it looks to scale production of its thermal battery storage systems.

Sunamp will deepen its collaboration with Blyth-based Universal Wolf, a leader in complex metal fabrication, to accelerate the distribution of its heat batteries across the UK and Europe. Sunamp uses Universal Wolf’s New Product Introduction (NPI) service to refine and improve the full-scale production of its batteries. This process plays a critical role in improving design quality, reducing development cost, and scaling up production volume, resulting in a more efficient manufacturing process to get products to customers more quickly. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Wednesday – 13/10/2021

Vehicles remain Britain’s most valuable trade good – SMMT

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on government to put the automotive sector at the heart of future trade negotiations, after publishing a new report today confirming vehicles as the UK’s single most valuable goods trade export.

Vehicle export revenues reached £27bn in 2020, making them more valuable to the UK than power-generating machinery and gold, even during a year when the global pandemic disrupted trade flows and shut down markets around the world. — Read more via SMMT

Yorkshire manufacturer wins £1m aerospace refurbishment contract

Wakefield-based Rhodes Interform Ltd has won a £1m contract to carry out a major refurbishment on a high-temperature Superplastic Forming Press (SPF) in the aerospace industry.

The £1m contract will involve a major upgrade of a 3,000 ton Chester Superplastic Forming press at a plant in Lancashire, one of a pair manufactured by Rhodes.  The press is used to form major titanium aerofoil components and is designed to operate continuously at 1000°C. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK rocket company signs spaceport deal in Shetland Islands

UK rocket manufacturer Skyrora has agreed a deal with the SaxaVord spaceport on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Islands.

The company is moving closer to launching its XL rocket in 2022. If successful, this could be the first rocket to go to space from the UK.

This is the first agreement Skyrora has made with a Scottish Spaceport. The multi-launch agreement with SaxaVord will run for the next decade, giving Skyrora the ability to build towards its target of 16 launches a year by 2030.

Once operational, the SaxaVord spaceport is expected to create 140 jobs locally, with an additional 70 jobs across the Shetland Islands. Shetland Space Centre recently changed its name to SaxaVord Spaceport, rebranding to position itself at the heart of the new space economy in Europe. — Read more via Aerospace Manufacturing

PM expected to back loans for gas price-hit firms

Firms hit by a sharp surge in energy prices are expected to get government help worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Glass, ceramic and paper manufacturers have warned that rising prices may mean they have to charge customers more.

On Monday, business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng submitted a formal proposal asking the Treasury to help such firms.

The Department for Business expects the prime minister to back its proposals, which could involve state-backed loans.

The government is reluctant to prop up companies that would normally be competitive, which is why support is likely to involve loans rather than grants.

The Treasury is said to be still analysing the proposal. Number 10 has declined to comment. — Read more via BBC News

Marine robotics company Ocean Infinity acquires tech company Red Rock

Marine robotics company Ocean Infinity has announced it has acquired Red Rock, a technology company with solutions that will enable autonomous port operations; a key enabler for future uncrewed shipping.

Red Rock is spearheading the development of digital and autonomous solutions to revolutionise lifting and handling both onshore and offshore.

The acquisition will combine Ocean Infinity’s ‘Armada’ robotic vessels and low emission operations with Red Rock’s ability to develop hardware and software solutions for remote and autonomous handling. Together, the two businesses will transform port operations and shipping through artificial intelligence-enabled, safe, low emission movement of vessels and cargo. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 12/10/2021

UK Skynet 6A defence satellite production begins at Airbus Stevenage

Jeremy Quin MP, the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement, visited Airbus in Stevenage yesterday and pushed the button to start production of the first panel skin for the UK MOD’s next generation military communications satellite Skynet 6A.

The minister started the high precision cutting machine to profile the first aluminium panels of the near six ton Skynet 6A satellite which is based on Airbus’ Eurostar Neo telecommunications spacecraft and visited the extensive cleanroom facilities on site.

Airbus was awarded the more than £500m contract to design and build Skynet 6A in July 2020 and the programme achieved its Preliminary Design Review in December 2020. — Read more via The Manufacturer

IoT manufacturer reaching “unprecedented” demand amidst UK’s fuel shortage

An Internet of Things (IoT) hardware manufacturer has claimed they are reaching “unprecedented levels” in demand for their remote fuel tank level sensors amidst the UK’s fuel crisis.

Tekelek, based in Shannon, Ireland, believes that the surge stemmed from the shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers, leaving many areas of the UK with little or no fuel supplies.

It is believed that during such shortages, customers have increased their attention to remotely monitoring and managing fuel inventories.

The IoT company reports that it’s never witnessed such demand for their fuel tank level measurement solutions.

Across the UK retail prices have soared at the pump, whilst petrol stations run dry, increasing pressure on vital emergency services. — Read more via Deadline News

Enermech invests in £500k crane training tech to support safe lifting operations

EnerMech has invested half-a-million pounds in advanced crane simulator training systems at its Luanda (Angola), Doha (Qatar) and Great Yarmouth (UK) facilities.

The investment forms part of the company’s ongoing commitment to provide clients with the latest high quality and innovative solutions that enhance and support safe lifting operations.

Utilising the latest simulator technology, the KraneSIM models support clients across the drilling, engineering, subsea, production and construction sectors, and use the most cutting-edge, progressive graphics to create realistic training conditions. — Read more via Hoist Magazine

Lotus named “Manufacturer of the Year” at the News UK Motor Awards

Lotus has been named “Manufacturer of the Year” at the News UK Motor Awards, voted for by The Times, Sunday Times, The Sun and Driving.co.uk.

The prestigious award was presented by respected political journalist and Times Radio presenter John Pienaar at an exclusive ceremony and collected on behalf of Lotus by Design Director Russell Carr.

The judges included a number of highly respected motoring writers and commentators. Together they felt Lotus was a worthy winner as it has… “continued to up its game in the last 12 months, making impressive additions to its range and pioneering exciting new product development”. — Read more via Lotus

AWI boosts its green credentials with Carbon Neutral status

Alloy Wire International has achieved a major environmental milestone this week to mark its 75th anniversary, achieving Carbon Neutral status after committing to several internationally approved initiatives designed to offset the emissions it directly creates at its two factories.

Supported by Carbon Neutral Britain, the specialist producer of ‘High Performance’ nickel alloys will neutralise nearly 500 tonnes of carbon it produces every year by taking an active role in Certified Emission Reductions (CER) programmes that also support education, employment and clean water, as well as having a net positive impact on the local wildlife and ecology.

These could include Hydroelectric Power in the Amazon, the Burgos Wind Farm project and the African Cooking Stove programme, as well as a number of domestic initiatives. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 11/10/2021

Ford Dagenham celebrates 90 years as London’s largest manufacturing location looks to the future

Just over 90 years ago, at 1:16pm on October 1, 1931, the first Ford vehicle rolled off the production line at what was then Ford’s newest global production facility, Ford Dagenham.

Nine decades later – with nearly 11 million cars, trucks and tractors built during 71 years of vehicle production which, if placed end to end, would stretch more than 400,000km or 10 times around the world, and close to 50 million engines produced to date – Dagenham continues to play a major role in Ford’s European operations, building the advanced technology diesel engines that power many of Ford’s passenger and commercial vehicles. — Read more via Ford

Welsh manufacturer first to offer 120 min fire rated parcelboxes to the market

Based in Neath, South Wales, The Safety Letterbox Company (SLB) has designed and manufactures over 180 models of mailboxes and parcelboxes. Founded in 1986, the family-owned business has built a strong reputation among its loyal customers and has established itself as a market leader and trusted voice in mail and parcel box manufacturing.

The company prides itself on quality, value, functionality, and aesthetics. Their reputation is built on providing the very best service and solution to the market. SLB are delighted to be the first UK manufacturer to offer 2-hour fire rated parcelbox systems to accompany their comprehensive 2 hour mailbox range. — Read more via Business News Wales

Former Hull fish factory set for new lease of life with a familiar name

A former fish processing factory in Hull could be converted into a new base for wholesaler Bonus Electrical.

The company, which sponsors the Bonus Arena in the city centre, is looking to move into the former Smales factory in Witty Street in west Hull.

The long-established fish merchants shut the factory after closing its chilled seafoods division two years ago.

The move followed the loss of a major contract with supermarket chain Aldi.

The Witty Street factory was officially opened in 1992 by Princess Diana as a state-of-the-art fish processing facility.

Located off Hessle Road – once the beating heart of Hull’s fishing industry – it supplied fish and seafood to supermarket fish counters across the UK. — Read more via Hull Live

Scarborough’s Plaxton Factory building new zero-emissions fleets

Britain’s largest bus and coach builder, which operates in Scarborough, is expanding its zero-emission range while continuing to champion investment that will benefit communities across the country.

Alexander Dennis’ Plaxton factory in the town is leading the electric bus market and is poised to launch its second-generation hydrogen platform, named H2.0. Giving a range of up to 300 miles without refuelling, H2.0 has been fully developed in-house by the bus manufacturing company. Being part of NFI Group, the Canadian company that took over the business in 2019, has allowed Alexander Dennis to tap into the more than 25 years of experience that sister company New Flyer has with hydrogen fuel cell electric buses. — Read more via The Scarborough

Energy crisis could halt factory production, industry leaders warn

Industry leaders have warned the government that factories across the country could stop production due to rising energy costs.

Andrew Large, director-general at the Confederation of Paper Industries, Gareth Stace, from UK Steel, and other representatives of energy-intensive industries attended a meeting with the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, to discuss the wholesale gas crisis on Friday afternoon.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme afterwards, Large described the risk of fallout across the supply chain. — Read more via The Guardian

Friday – 08/10/2021

Jaguar Land Rover brings tool making in-house for the first time after £1.7m investment

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has brought the manufacturing of its own press tools in-house for the first time following a £1.7m investment at its Halewood plant on Merseyside.

JLR says the significant investment will not only drive efficiency and quality, but also enable its Halewood employees to learn new skills building and operating the tools.

The car-making giant had previously outsourced the production of its press tools to Asia.

Under the investment, JLR will install a new Press Die Manufacturing Centre, with a state-of-the-art five-axis milling machine, which manufactures press tools known as blanking dies from raw castings. These blanking dies are the first stage in the manufacture of car body panels, during new vehicle production. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Nicola Sturgeon announces UK’s first aviation STEM academy

Glasgow will become home to the UK’s first aviation STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) academy, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The Newton Flight Academy will be the first full academy outside of Norway when it opens at Glasgow Science Centre in the spring of 2022.

The permanent classroom will be used to teach students aviation-related STEM concepts that will include three full-motion flight simulators.

The state-of-the-art space will be used to deliver immersive, experiential learning programmes that will enable students to engage in real-world challenges by working together with industry professionals, and will include the experience of flying in flight simulators.

It is being made possible through funding from aerospace giant Boeing and is being developed in partnership with First Scandinavia. In 2018, the US company invested more than £3.5 million to set up a network of STEM-focused “Newton Rooms” around Europe. — Read more via Futurescot

Yorkshire radiator manufacturer gears up for £350m flotation ahead of winter demand

The UK’s leading manufacturer and distributor of household and commercial radiators has announced its intention to float on the stock exchange.

Stelrad, which employs 300 people at its UK manufacturing site in South Yorkshire, is a leading specialist manufacturer and distributor of steel panel radiators in the UK, Europe and Turkey.

The IPO is expected to value the business at around £350m. — Read more via The Yorkshire Post

Soaring energy costs force Gupta to delay Liberty Steel restart

Surging energy prices have forced Sanjeev Gupta to delay plans to restart UK production at Liberty Steel because the higher costs would make its products hopelessly uncompetitive. British manufacturer’s steel prices would have to rise by up to £500 a ton.

The entrepreneur’s embattled steel business had aimed to resume operations on October 15, with staff returning to work two days before.

Production has been “intermittent” for about a year after demand plummeted in the wake of coronavirus. — Read more via The Guardian

Camping vehicle specialist turns to ‘Creo’ to execute Basecamp 6 model launch

The UK’s largest maker of leisure vehicles is using the full design capabilities of PTC® to help it bring its latest model to an expectant market that is booming after lockdown eased.

Swift Group, which employs over 1000 people at its 100-acre headquarters near Hull, launches Basecamp 6 this month, a popular compact crossover camping vehicle that is fun, stylish and ideal for life’s adventurers.

Engineers at the family-run business have been using PTC’s Creo® design software to introduce several new features, making the most of simulation tools, piping and cabling and advanced assembly to deliver a truly unique product. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 07/10/2021

£450m battery manufacturing plant gets planning green light

Construction of Envision AESC’s £450m electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant moved a step closer this week after formal planning permission for the facility was granted by Sunderland City Council’s planning committee.

Meeting on Tuesday, the planning committee approved the 9GWh-capacity gigafactory at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in Sunderland.

Envision AESC’s battery manufacturing plant will form part of a £1bn partnership with Nissan to create an electric vehicle hub supporting next-generation EV production and accelerating the transition to net zero carbon mobility.

As well as safeguarding around 300 roles from Envision’s existing Sunderland plant, the new facility will create an additional 750 jobs in the area. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK showcases green dozen at Global Investment Summit

Twelve of the UK’s leading green innovators will showcase their technology to some of the world’s most high-profile investors at the Global Investment Summit on 19th October.

Hosted by the Prime Minister and supported by members of the Royal Family, the Summit will demonstrate Britain’s commitment to green industrial revolution in the UK and abroad ahead of COP26, and promote the UK as a top destination for foreign investment. — Read more via GOV.UK

Record apprenticeship intake for Willerby as holiday home order book bulges to late 2022

Holiday homes giant Willerby has welcomed its largest apprenticeship cohort in its 75-year history, as the order book bulges well into late 2022.

Training programmes have begun for the first cohort from 34 young recruits at the Hull manufacturer – with the successful candidates whittled down from a number more than 10 times that.

The company reported more than 350 applications across a broad range of trades after launching the campaign in June. — Read more via Business Live

Stockport manufacturer plans growth with £14.5 million refinancing package

Manufacturer of licensed textile products, Character World, has secured a £14.5m refinance package from Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance to fund growth plans for 2022.

The Cheadle Hulme based firm has increased its working capital facility from £8m to £10m after four years of working with the bank, to help meet increased demand for its products, which include licensed products from brands such as Fortnite, Minecraft, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, PlayStation, Lego, and Pokémon.

Secure Trust Bank has also provided an additional £4.5 million term loan to refinance an outstanding unitranche facility that was put in place when Palatine Private Equity backed the business in 2014. — Read more via Marketing Stockport

Anglesey hydrogen can bridge UK’s energy gap, says economics expert

Anglesey can become a UK leader in hydrogen energy technology, cleaning up the transport sector and creating high quality jobs across North Wales, according to a leading Welsh economic expert.

This comes as motorists across the country continue to struggle with chaos at petrol stations caused by a shortage of HGV delivery drivers.

This follows UK Government Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s claim that the fuel could provide a third of the country’s energy as it bids to reach net zero emissions.

But the UK is already playing catch-up with rivals in Europe and further afield and needs to get up to speed quickly, says economist Dr Edward Jones, of Bangor University. — Read more via Bangor University

Construction works start on quayside for GE’s UK blade facility

Construction works on the quayside at the Teesworks site, where GE Renewable Energy will build its manufacturing plant for offshore wind turbine blades, have started.

UK contractor Graham has been appointed to work on the development of the new South Bank Quay, a 1.2-kilometre heavy-lift quay along the banks of the River Tees which will support GE Renewable Energy’s wind turbine blade facility and accommodate the load-out and shipping of 107 metres long blades for the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.

The quay, which forms part of a wider manufacturing and industrial space set to be built on 450 acres of land next to the wharf, will also provide direct access to the biggest wind farms across the world and help position the site as the UK’s premier offshore wind hub, according to Teesworks. — Read more via offshoreWIND.biz

Wednesday – 06/10/2021

NMIS and Boeing officially open new R&D facility in Renfrewshire

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and the world’s largest aerospace company Boeing have officially opened a new research and development (R&D) facility in Westway Park in Renfrew within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.

Key figures, including Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee, attended the event on Tuesday, marking a significant development within the region and Scotland’s growing advanced manufacturing industry.

At over sixty thousand square feet, the new NMIS facility incorporates the Metallics Research Centre with Boeing, which will see the delivery of Boeing’s £11.8m R&D programme in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the NMIS Group. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Battery maker AMTE Power seeks location for new manufacturing plant

A maker of electric batteries expects to make a decision on where to locate a large UK manufacturing plant next year.

AMTE Power already makes products at a base in Thurso in the north of Scotland and has recently announced a joint venture to expand into Australia.

The firm, formed in 2013 by a group of engineers, listed on Aim in London this year, placing shares at 175p.

It is developing a pipeline of batteries for different markets. The first of those is a lithium ion variety focused on providing power for high-end automotive vehicles and heavy plant machinery. BMW and Arrival are among car brands it has been engaging with. — Read more via The Times

Volta Trucks expands UK Research and Development capabilities amid ambitious recruitment drive

Swedish electric truck start-up Volta Trucks is expanding its UK-based Research and Development capabilities. This comes as the company delivers a program of prototype full-electric 16-tonne commercial vehicles for customer evaluation in London and Paris by mid-2022, ahead of series production starting by the end of next year.

The expanding Research and Development team is primarily based near Reading, UK, close to where the London vehicles will operate. The scalable offices can currently accommodate over 110 engineers working on the world’s first purpose-built full electric 16-tonne commercial vehicle, as well as the forthcoming 7.5, 12 and 19-tonne variants. The team is networked to UK vehicle testing facilities where the company’s first prototype vehicles are already running, and the forthcoming manufacturing plant in Steyr, Austria. It is also connected to the company’s headquarters in Stockholm and regional offices in Paris and other European cities. — Read more via Volta Trucks

New joint venture to build multi-million pound state-of-the-art oat processing plant

Work to construct a brand new, cutting-edge oat processing plant in Northamptonshire has begun.
Navara oat

The plant will be the largest, most modern oat-processing facility in Europe. On completion in 2023, it will be poised to meet and accelerate the already growing demand for oat ingredients in the food and drink industry.

The development is the initiative of ‘Navara Oat Milling’, an exciting new joint venture between three organisations. All three bring to the party different – and complementary – fields of expertise, as well as longstanding relationships in their respective supply chains and markets.

Navara is jointly owned by Frontier Agriculture, a crop production and grain marketing company; Camgrain, a farmer-owned cooperative; and Anglia Maltings Holdings (AMH), a food and drink ingredient manufacturer. — Read more via Frontier Agriculture

Autonomous vehicle firm signs first local authority contract for its Auto-Shuttle technology

The UK’s leading authority on autonomous transport has secured a ‘local authority’ first after it sold an Auto-Shuttle to Solihull Council.

Aurrigo, which designs, develops and builds a host of autonomous vehicles at its Advanced Engineering Centre in Coventry, has supplied the £250,000 fully autonomous and electric shuttle as part of ground-breaking passenger trials currently being delivered at the NEC.

Carrying up to eight passengers, the vehicle uses a suite of sensors to understand its surroundings, allowing it to move around safely, interacting with live traffic with little or no operator input.

The testing at the NEC, backed by funds from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), sees it operate autonomously along a 1-mile pre-mapped section of Pendigo Way between Hall 5 and Resorts World and expects to cater for more than 1000 people during the four-week period. — Read more via The Manufacturer


Tuesday – 05/10/2021

Plymouth manufacturer plays key role in development of innovative wheelchair seating system

A Plymouth manufacturer is playing a key role in helping develop a new seating system for wheelchairs that improves function and corrects body posture.

Source Engineering, a specialist in pressed and machined components, has supported wheelchair seating specialist Matrix Seating with a complex stamped part that acts as a locking clamp for the unique micro modules that are shaped to deliver customised support.

A 5-strong engineering team has worked with inventor Dr Steve Cousins to come up with a 11-stage progression tool capable of producing the ‘lock’ in spring steel – vital for delivering strength and flexibility at a unit price that works.

To date, 120,000 of the components have already been manufactured and delivered, with an increase in sales from the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the US set to result in a surge in volumes. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK to manufacturer millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine

Millions of doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine will be manufactured in Britain for use across the globe.

A deal between the firm and Thermo Fisher Scientific means doses will be bottled in Swindon before being sent to Pfizer’s depot in Puurs, Belgium, and then around the world.

Thermo Fisher will reportedly take on “fill-finish” duties – the process of filling vials and packaging them – from early next year.

It will join a network of facilities aiming to churn out four billion doses in 2022. — Read more via Daily Express

Meat free manufacturer Quorn sees revenues rise after opening ‘world first’ factory

The company behind meat free food favourite Quorn totted up a rise in revenues last year as it invested in a new factory and tackled the challenges of the pandemic.

Marlow Foods Ltd manufactures, distributes and sells Quorn and Cauldron products across the globe from its bases in Billingham and Stokesley, and has seen sales leap in recent years as more customers switch to meat-free foods.

Now the firm – which works with food-on-the-go company Greggs on its vegan sausage rolls – has published accounts for last year, outlining how it continued to invest and open a new factory, while tackling the challenges of the pandemic.

The company posted a 2.9% rise in revenues in 2020 to £236.2m, continuing a long term growth period, but operating profit fell from £21.6m to £13.6m. — Read more via Business Live

Semiconductor shortage hitting smartphone manufacturers harder than first thought – research

The semiconductor chip shortage is expected to hit harder smartphone manufacturers than previously thought, new research suggests.

According to Counterpoint Research’s latest Global Smartphone Quarterly Shipment Forecasts, the number of smartphones shipped next year is expected to grow by just 6%. Counterpoint had previously forecast growth of 9%.

Counterpoint says that some smartphone manufacturers received just 80% of their ordered components in Q2, 2021. — Read more via Counterpoint

Gefco invests in UK sequencing centre to support Jaguar Land Rover

Gefco has expanded its operations in the Merseyside region of the UK with the opening of a 16,350 sq.m logistics sequencing centre next to its existing facility in Speke.

The official opening of the new facility took place on September 30, coinciding with Gefco celebrating 40 years of operations in the UK.

The sequencing centre will receive and process 400 different commodities from Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) global supply chain for onward distribution to the carmaker’s production sites in the UK. The logistics and transport provider will decant and repack parts, which will also be quality checked prior to delivery. — Read more via Automotive Logistics

Monday – 04/10/2021

UK manufacturing recovery hampered in September – ISM

Supply chain delays, a slow down in new orders and material and labour shortages hampered manufacturing growth in September, the latest Manufacturing PMI shows.

Nevertheless, the manufacturing sector did grow last month, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) latest figures, registering 61.1%. — Read more via ISM

Scottish glass factory to benefit from £500m investment windfall

A Scottish factory that manufactures whisky bottles is to benefit from part of a £500m global investment by its US owners.

O-I Glass, which is one of the world’s largest container manufacturers, said its Alloa site will see the installation of two production lines based on its new “Magma” glass melting technology.

The company said the development will “reinvent how glass containers are made” and will enable its production capacity to be more flexible and scalable. — Read more via The Scotsman

£120m refinancing brightens manufacturer’s growth prospects

Lighting manufacturer Luceco has secured a £120m financing deal which will enable the company to invest in growth opportunities.

The Telford-based company last month reported sales had risen by half, to £108m, while profits doubled to nearly £20m.

Its refinancing replaces a £50m asset-backed arrangement with an initial £80m of committed lending. There is the potential to expand by a further £40m with an accordion facility.

The deal with HSBC, NatWest, Bank of China and Bank of Ireland, is at the same price as its existing facilities and is in place until at least September 2024, with an option to extend for up to two years. — Read more via The Business Desk

Space Hub Sutherland will be a launch pad for jobs and the economy

A new report launched on Wednesday 29 September, commissioned by Caithness Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, demonstrates the economic benefits that Space Hub Sutherland will bring to the North Highland and Moray areas.

Space Hub Sutherland – a new satellite launch site – will bring huge employment and tourism benefits to the Scottish Highlands.

Jacobs, the global professional services company, estimates that a Northern Space Cluster could create 740 jobs in the Highlands and Islands and boost the regional economy by £56m per year by the end of this decade. — Read more via Caithness Chamber of Commerce

South Yorkshire manufacturer’s £29m commitment to ‘go beyond net zero’

A South Yorkshire manufacturer has committed to ‘go beyond net zero’ with £29m.

AES Engineering’s ‘£29 million by 2029’ pledge was made in the run-up to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 1. of planet-friendly investments by 2029.

And it underscores the growing recognition that businesses will have a potentially huge influence on the success of efforts to limit global warming, according to managing director, Chris Rea. — Read more via The Star

Labware manufacturer DWK Life Sciences unveils plans to double in size in the next five years

A growing labware and glass packaging manufacturer is building a huge new warehouse as part of plans to double in size in the next five years.

DWK Life Sciences is already double the size it was six years ago, now the 140-strong business is investing in a brand new warehouse as it aims to double in size again by 2026.

DWK Life Sciences is currently based across three sites in North Staffordshire – in Stoke, Stone and Trentham Lakes.

The new warehouse – which is being constructed next to its Trentham Lakes factory on Gordon Banks Drive – will see the existing head office in Campbell Road and the distribution centre in Stone brought onto one site. — Read more via Business Live

Friday – 01/10/2021

Jobs help offer from Wrightbus as furlough comes to an end

The manufacturer of the world’s first hydrogen-powered double deck bus is welcoming enquiries from anyone impacted by the end of the government’s furlough scheme.

Wrightbus, based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, is actively recruiting for up to 300 permanent jobs after winning a string of orders from the UK and Ireland.

The furlough scheme closed yesterday with around one million people still on the scheme. Many forecasters, including the Bank of England, are expecting a rise in unemployment as the scheme ends. — Read more via Belfast News Letter

Acrylic sheet manufacturer invests £30m in new facility, safeguards 250 jobs

A leading manufacturer of acrylic sheets and composites is to invest more than £30m in a cutting-edge production plant and research and development centre, safeguarding at least 250 jobs in the process.

Perspex International Ltd will create the new facility at its existing Chapels Park site in Darwen, Lancashire.

The investment by Perspex International’s Swiss owners, 3A Composites, will help make the production of the firm’s world-famous clear and coloured acrylic sheets energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. — Read more via The Manufacturer

North Wales artisan cheese business set to expand manufacturing capabilities with investment

Award winning artisan cheese-maker Jackie Whittaker of Castell Gwyn Limited is expanding her North Wales manufacturing business with a £13,000 investment in her own micro-dairy.

The micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales means that Jackie, a life-long cheese-lover and regular judge at the International Cheese Awards, will be purchasing a 500 litre cheese vat and cheese press that will allow her to scale production of her soft cheeses and also start producing hard cheeses.

Castell Gwyn supplies local delis, speciality cheese shops, farm shops and restaurants including the Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard and Bryn Williams’ bistro in Porth Eirias. Her award-winning cheeses are also available online. — Read more via Wales247

Cultivated meat worth £2bn to UK economy – study

Despite being in its infancy, cultivated meat could be worth as much as £2bn to the UK economy, new research has revealed.

According to the Oxford Economics report, The socio-economic impact of cultivated meat in the UK, the industry “presents significant opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and other commercial partners to exploit the global potential of a move away from conventional farming towards more sustainable methods.” — Read more via Oxford Economics

World first UK hydrogen trials demonstrate pathway to net zero cement

A UK cement kiln has successfully been operated using a net zero fuel as part of a world-first demonstration using hydrogen technology.

Led by the Mineral Products Association (MPA), Hanson UK and made possible by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funding, the trial used a mix of 100% net zero fuels, including hydrogen, for commercial-scale cement manufacture for the very first time.

During the demonstration at Hanson Cement’s Ribblesdale plant in Lancashire,  the proportion of fuels in the cement kiln’s main burner was gradually increased to a wholly net zero mix.

The mix consisted of tanker delivered hydrogen as well as meat and bone meal (MBM) and glycerine – by-products from the rendering and biodiesel industries respectively – demonstrating the pathway to moving away from using fossil fuels in cement and concrete production.

If fully implemented for the whole kiln system nearly 180 000 t of carbon dioxide could be saved each year at Ribblesdale alone compared to using the traditional fuel of coal at the site. — Read more via World Cement

Thursday – 30/09/2021

UK car production stalls as chip shortage continues to hamper sector’s recovery

UK car manufacturers made fewer vehicles for the second month in a row in August as the ongoing chip shortage continues to hamper production.

The number of cars made fell by 27% year-on-year, the second consecutive month of decline, to 37,246, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

As well as the global semiconductor shortage, the SMMT says the timing and length of some manufacturer’s summer factory shutdowns also contributed to the fall in output. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Sunseeker cuts carbon levels, moves away from fossil fuels, saves £2m+

Luxury boat manufacturer Sunseeker International is to use its waste timber as a source of renewable heat, saving approximately 1,200 tonnes of carbon annually.

The Poole-based business has entered into a partnership with AMP Clean Energy, a specialist developer, operator and owner of low-carbon energy projects.

Sunseeker produces around 1,360 tonnes of usable timber from its boat building operations in Poole and Portland every year.

AMP Clean Energy funded and installed a 500kW biomass boiler at the Technology Centre in Mannings Heath, Poole, and a 1MW biomass boiler and ancillary equipment at Osprey Quay in Portland.

They’ll supply heat to both sites under a 20-year energy supply agreement. — Read more via Dorset Biz News

Deal saves 200 jobs at Malvern manufacturer

Two hundred jobs have been safeguarded after administrators from Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) secured the sale of a Malvern-based tube manipulation specialist.

Mark Firmin and Mike Denny from A&M’s restructuring practice have been appointed as joint administrators of Tricorn UK Ltd (TUK).

Established more than 35 years ago, Tricorn Group specialises in tubular engineering and complicated welded fabrications, with operations in the UK, US and China. — Read more via Insider Media

Vita acquires mattress manufacturer Usleep

The Vita Group, one of Europe’s leading providers of flexible polyurethane foam, has acquired mattress manufacturer Usleep Limited from Northedge Capital LLP.

Usleep produces a portfolio of foam, spring and hybrid mattresses for a number of the UK’s leading mattress retailers and Bed in the Box (BiB) brands. Usleep’s two sites in Ashton under Lyne and Castle Donnington utilise state-of-the-art machinery to create one of the UK’s most efficient automated mattress production processes.

This will be the 3rd acquisition completed by Vita in 2021 following the acquisitions of IMPE Srl, located in Naples, Italy, in Q1 and UK based Technical Foam Services (TFS) in Q2. — Read more via The Vita Group

Battery manufacturer increases capacity 100% whilst energy sector remains in tailspin

“Despite ongoing global supply chain disruption” a battery manufacturer claims it is in a healthy position with new projects and increased capacity.

According to Invinity Energy Systems, the company has seen an expansion in projects internationally and cash receipts of £3.2m for milestone payments over the last six months.

Invinity’s projects include the Energy Superhub Oxford project – currently in commissioning phase and scheduled for completion in Q4 2021.

Invinity is also involved in the Scottish Water project and the Yadlamalka solar-plus-storage plant in Australia. — Read more via Bdaily News

Inventor-e partners with MAN to target £3m inventory management opportunity

A major inventory management disruptor is targeting a £3m sales boost after it launched two new products with the help of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN).

Inventor-e, which employs 24 people at its Solihull headquarters, leveraged MAN’s ‘s design and production capabilities to be first to market with its iVendScale and iBinScale inventory management solutions.

The solutions provide a scale-based inventory management vending system and mobile automated replenishment to help boost productivity at factories across the world. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Wednesday – 29/09/2021

UK offshore manufacturing investments exceed £900m

Analysis published by RenewableUK shows that investment announcements by the offshore wind industry in new factories exceed £900m so far this year.

This is the highest annual amount since the industry began in the UK in 2000.

The findings are being highlighted on the first day of the trade association’s Global Offshore Wind conference and exhibition in London.
Earlier this week, JDR Cables unveiled plans to build a new factory in Cambois near Blyth in Northumberland, creating 170 jobs, as part of an investment of £130m which will also safeguard 270 jobs at the cable manufacturer’s existing plant in Hartlepool.

In March, GE revealed multi-million-pound plans to transform a former steelworks site on Teesside into a high-tech plant producing turbine blades, creating 750 direct jobs. — Read more via reNEWS.biz

Ricardo wins Government funding to develop future electric trucks

Ricardo will apply its expertise in battery, power electronics and motor R&D to deliver technologies for electric trucks which will drive down the cost and increase the range of future commercial vehicles.

As part of its mission to support the decarbonisation of the global transport and energy sectors Ricardo, a world-class environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company, has announced that it has won two UK Government-backed innovation competitions to develop novel solutions for heavy duty vehicles focusing on improving efficiency and performance and reducing the cost of future electric trucks. — Read more via Ricardo

Crisp manufacturer completes £5m factory investment

The manufacturer behind Seabrook crisps has completed a £5m investment into its manufacturing facilities as it posts growth in its full-year results.

Calbee UK’s investment has added to the firm’s manufacturing capabilities at its Bradford and Deeside factories to increase capacities to ensure it can meet a rising demand for its products. — Read more via Food manufacture

Team NextGen wins Apprentice Automation Challenge 2021

A team of apprentices have retained Leonardo UK’s title at the live finals of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Apprentice Automation Challenge, held at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.

Organised by the Institution’s Manufacturing Industries Division’s Young Members Committee, the Apprentice Automation Challenge tasks teams to design, develop and build a fully working system that automates and solves a real-world problem in the house or garden.

Comprising a detailed engineering and business report, together with a final demonstration event, it is dedicated specifically to developing the skills of apprentice engineers in industry with a real-world engineering project.

Team NextGen fended off competition from fellow teams from Manufacturing Technology Centre and MarchantCain Design to secure the title with their Reflex Mirror exercise product. The Manufacturing Technology Centre’s Team PetTech received the Highly Commended and Peer awards for their work on an automated chilled wet pet food dispenser. — Read more via The Manufacturer

100 jobs up for grabs at HGV trailer manufacturer Don-Bur

HGV trailer manufacturer Don-Bur is on the look out for 100 new staff after seeing a surge in new orders over the last 12 months.

The company currently employs around 450 people across three manufacturing sites in Stoke-on-Trent.

But now the firm is looking for around 100 new recruits to help meet an “unprecedented level of new orders.”

The recruitment drive – which includes vacancies for welders, coach builders, sprayers and finishers – comes as a project to expand the Don-Bur manufacturing plant, in Adderley Green, nears completion.

Once complete, the additional land will be used as a storage area to hold stock before it gets delivered to customers. — Read more via Business Live

Tuesday – 28/09/2021

Offshore wind cabling manufacturer to build £130m state-of-the-art facility in Northumberland

An offshore wind cabling manufacturer will use £130m of public and private sector funding to build a state-of-the-art subsea cable manufacturing facility in Northumberland.

JDR Cable Systems’ plans to invest in facilities that will develop and build components for next-generation wind turbines will create and safeguard more than 440 jobs across the North-East of England. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Space nation: UK looks to make finance more accessible for space tech firms

The UK is looking to grow itself into a space nation, according to the government’s National Space Strategy published yesterday, as it looks to make finance more accessible for space tech firms.

It marks what prime minister Boris Johnson called the “start of the countdown”, as the country readies itself to begin sending its first launches into space from UK soil from 2022.

The UK is due to become the first launching-state in Europe, jumping into a global industry which the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has forecast to be worth some £490bn by 2030. — Read more via City A.M.

Rolls-Royce agrees to sell ITP Aero for approximately €1.7bn

Rolls-Royce yesterday announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to sell 100% of ITP Aero to Bain Capital Private Equity, which is leading a consortium of investors, for approximately €1.7bn. The consortium includes interests to be held by Spanish co-investors SAPA and JB Capital.

The proposed sale is a key element of Rolls-Royce’s disposal programme, announced on 27 August 2020, to raise proceeds of at least £2bn, and is consistent with the company’s strategy of reducing capital intensity while maintaining a key long-term strategic supply relationship. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

Durham electronics firm creates ‘significant’ number of new jobs

A global electronics company has announced an expansion of its North East operations which will create a ‘significant’ number of new jobs.

II-VI Compound Semiconductors Ltd, which is based at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, makes radio frequency electronics and optoelectronics for the aerospace and defence industries.

The company, which is based in Pennsylvania, US, is investing in its III-V compound semiconductor technology platform in the UK and is recruiting for materials scientists, process engineers, device engineers, manufacturing technicians and operators.

II-VI has not disclosed the number of new positions created but is actively recruiting for 25 jobs at Newton Aycliffe on its website and it is believed that more new jobs will follow. — Read more via Business Live

PTC and Volvo Group announce digital engineering collaboration

PTC and the Volvo Group yesterday announced plans to further increase their collaboration around digital engineering.

The global car manufacturer has decided to unify its CAD platforms, which positions PTC’s products to serve as the primary CAD and PLM solutions used in complete vehicle design.

This world-class solution, which will leverage the full capabilities of PTC’s Windchill® product lifecycle management (PLM) software and Creo® computer-aided design (CAD) software, is designed to promote collaboration across Volvo Group’s PLM and CAD functions and significantly increase the reuse of digital product data across the company. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 27/09/2021

UK’s first fusion technology centre provides Yorkshire jobs boost

A ground-breaking new Fusion Technology Facility, which has the capability to test components in the simulated conditions of a fusion power plant, is now open and operating in South Yorkshire.

The Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham was chosen by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as the ideal location for the new 25,000 sq. ft. fusion energy research facility, which will create 60 highly skilled jobs in the South Yorkshire area.

The facility received a £2.2m investment from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) towards equipment purchase and set-up costs. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Ford in talks to build electric transmissions at Halewood plant in boost for UK car industry

Ford Motor Company is nearing a decision to build a new generation of electric transmission systems at its Halewood plant on Merseyside, a move that would herald positive news for the British automotive industry.

Sky News has learnt that the Michigan-based car giant is expected to deliver its verdict within weeks about whether to commit substantial investment to the UK site as it shifts to all-electric vehicle production by 2030. — Read more via Sky News

Contamination control manufacturer to build second base in Ashington

Contamination control manufacturing company Contec UK is building a new purpose-built facility at Ashwood Business Park in Ashington.

The firm makes and distributes contamination control products for use in manufacturing clean rooms and healthcare environments and is expanding its business across the UK and Europe.

Contec UK’s new premises will be a 60,000 sq ft advanced manufacturing and office facility at Ashwood Business Park, offering practical layouts, larger floorplans, storage and parking.

Work on the new facility has already begun, and the construction expected to take 12-18 months. It is also expected to create new jobs. — Read more via News Post Leader

UK Government in talks for new nuclear power plant in Wales

The UK Government are in talks to build another large-scale multi-billion pound nuclear power plant in Wales.

The new plant on Anglesey in Wales is being discussed with reactor manufacturer Westinghouse, as part of efforts to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

A new nuclear power plant at the decommissioned Wylfa site could become operational in the mid-2030s and generate power for six million homes.

The new Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is said to be keen on the idea, amid concern about rising energy prices and the fact that nuclear will only provide 8% of the UK’s energy by 2024. — Read more via Nation.Cymru

Sales double at Flatfish – turnover tops £41m for Grimsby seafood firm as staff numbers follow suit

Grimsby seafood processor Flatfish saw sales more than double in 2020, as turnover topped £41m.

It also returned to profit, transforming a £352,000 loss into earnings of £1.2m as a major expansion and restructure kicked in.

Staff numbers soared from 65 to 111 in the elongated financial year that saw Japanese giant Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd (Nissui) take a majority stake in the business. — Read more via Business Live

Friday – 24/09/2021

Robotics vital to the renewables expansion needed to reach net zero

Accelerating the development of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) will be a significant enabler to reaching Net Zero, according to new research from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

ORE Catapult highlights that by 2050, the global robotics market in the energy sector will be worth £8.4bn. With its high-growth forecasts, wind energy (onshore and offshore) is expected to open up a new robotics frontier that will be valued at £1.3bn by 2030, increasing to £3.5bn by 2050. Meanwhile, declining production will see the oil and gas market’s robotics market peak at £5bn in 2030, before reducing to £3.3bn by 2050.

The UK is targeting a seven-fold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2050, and with this growth comes the need for more operations and maintenance (O&M) activity. With windfarms set to be located in deeper, more remote, often challenging waters, securing safe access for humans will be a significant industry challenge. — Read more via Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

Drax announces British supply chain plans for huge carbon capture project

Renewable energy company Drax has announced that it aims to source 80% of the construction materials and services needed to deliver its climate saving negative emissions technology bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) from the UK supply chain.

The 80% ambition includes all construction materials needed as part of the deployment of the multi-billion-pound project such as steel, pipes, heat pumps, electricals, and insulation, as well as the support services involved in delivering such a large project. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Deeside steel manufacturer secures major contracts

A leading manufacturer celebrating 10 years in business is steeling itself for further growth after securing major national contracts.

S4S (Steel 4 Structures) is planning to recruit 10 new staff and unveil a 12,500 sq ft extension to its 37,500 sq ft Buckley factory after winning a raft of clients during Covid.

The company, which already employs more than 30 people, recently won a tender to build and extend sites for a top supermarket chain and has carried out fabrication and engineering work for brands including Porsche, Coca Cola, Heineken, Costa Coffee, Greggs, and Home Bargains. — Read more via Wales 247

EU rules to force USB-C chargers for all phones

Manufacturers will be forced to create a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices, under a new rule proposed by the European Commission (EC).

The aim is to reduce waste by encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new device.

All smartphones sold in the EU must have USB-C chargers, the proposal said.

Apple has warned such a move would harm innovation.

The tech giant is the main manufacturer of smartphones using a custom charging port, as its iPhone series uses an Apple-made “Lightning” connector. — Read more via BBC News

Second major CO2 manufacturer set to be back online next week

A second major carbon dioxide producer could be back online within days to ease the UK’s national shortage, a director has said.

Teesside-based Ensus can supply around 40% of the UK’s demand for CO2 but the biofuels plant has been on an annual shutdown for routine maintenance.

The plant, at Wilton International, produces CO2 as a by-product of turning wheat into bioethanol – which can be used as a fuel or additive to petrol – and it should be back online next week. — Read more via Evening Standard

Steel manufacturer’s Uk arm remains strong despite Covid impact

The Oldbury-based UK arm of one of the largest steel manufacturers in the world has said the business remains financially strong despite posting results impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based in the West Midlands since its incorporation in 1928, Austrian-owned Voestalpine Metsec has reported pre-tax profits of £12.3m for the year to 31 March 2021, down from £15m in 2020.

Turnover dipped from £97.6m to £79m over the same period. — Read more via Insider Media

Megger and IPS Group announce strategic partnership

Megger Group and IPS Group have announced that they have reached a definitive agreement to work together as strategic partners, combining both their experience and product lines to create new value for the electrical supply industry. The agreement includes Megger taking an equity stake in IPS.

The partnership with Megger extends the reach of IPS’s technical excellence and brings improved market access as well as new opportunities in commercial and strategic innovation. Megger will benefit from IPS’s data analytics capability, cyber security and digitalization expertise. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 23/09/2021

Full Mini MOKE production to return to the UK

The revived Mini MOKE recreational vehicle will be built entirely in the UK following a new agreement with manufacturing firm Fablink.

Having acquired the MOKE trademark and global distribution rights in 2017, MOKE International began reviving the small soft-top. Since its relaunch in 2020, the MOKE has been engineered in Britain but manufactured in France. Now, that’s about to change.

Going forward, all MOKEs will be built at a state-of-the-art facility operated by Northamptonshire-based UK automotive manufacturing company Fablink Group. — Read more via The Manufacturer

INEOS announces blue hydrogen capacity at Grangemouth

INEOS Grangemouth yesterday announced planned further investment of over £1bn towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions at its site to net zero by 2045, building on the 37% reduction in net CO2 emissions already delivered since acquiring the site in 2005.

INEOS has already committed over £500m spend on projects which are approved and currently being implemented at Grangemouth. This includes investment in our New Energy Plant, which is due for completion in late 2023 and will supply energy to all our site operations and the highly efficient technology will drive down emissions by at least 150,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

Yesterday’s announcement includes in excess of a further £1bn spend to enable this next phase of the transition to net zero. — Read more via INEOS

World’s largest vaccine maker takes 3.9% stake in Oxford Biomedica for £50m

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, has snapped up a 3.9% stake in London-listed Oxford Biomedica (OXB.L).

The British biotech company said on Wednesday it will receive an investment of just over £50m ($68m) from the Institute, which will be used to fund the development of Oxbox, it’s 84,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility based in Oxford.

The Serum Institute will buy 3.4 million newly issued shares for 1,478p each, equal to Oxford Biomedica’s closing price on Tuesday.

The UK company, which spun off from Oxford University in 1995 and is one of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers for AstraZeneca (AZN), added that it expects to be able to create up to 120 jobs. — Read more via Yahoo! News

UK companies merge to create new cereal and bar entity

Private equity firm Elysian Capital III LP has acquired Deeside Cereals I Limited from Agrotech Impex PTE Ltd. The acquisition was completed through Wholebake Ltd., which Elysian acquired on July 31.

Based in North Wales, Deeside Cereals manufactures private label breakfast cereals and cereal bars for food retailers.

Wholebake, also based in North Wales, is a co-manufacturer of healthy snacking products, co-producing bars and other snack formats for customers across a range of sectors alongside its own brands Bounce, NINE and Brynmor.

Following the acquisition, Wholebake and Deeside Cereals will combine to create a new group operating in the bar and cereal categories in the United Kingdom. Peter Unsworth, non-executive chairman, and Simon Faithfull, chief executive officer, will lead the new combined group with a focus on innovating and driving growth in both the expanding snack bar category and the private label cereal market. — Read more via Baking Business

New funding boosts the UK’s future in Quantum manufacturing

Ionoptika Ltd and the University of Surrey have been awarded project grants worth a total of £425,000 from Innovate UK to expand their research into new manufacturing technologies for quantum devices.

This new Innovate grant will open up new scalable manufacturing methods to researchers in the UK and around the world. — Read more via Design Products & Applications

600 jobs at Ebbw Vale bottle plant to boost Welsh Valleys

A £350m bottle factory in Ebbw Vale will create around 600 new jobs and serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Welsh Valleys.

That is according to representatives of Ciner Glass UK, speaking to the first minister.

Mrs Didem Ciner met Welsh political and community leaders including the First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS, to discuss plans for glass container production in Blaenau Gwent.

Senior executives from CiNER Glass UK visited South Wales yesterday to hold face to face discussions with the First Minister of Wales, Blaenau Gwent Borough Council and members of the local community. — Read more via South Wales Argus

Glasgow Prestwick Airport secures launch partner for Prestwick Spaceport

Glasgow Prestwick Airport has secured a partnership deal with Astraius for the development of the Prestwick Spaceport, a milestone that will bolster Scotland’s space industry goals.

The airport, together with its partner South Ayrshire Council, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Astraius, the leading UK-based, commercially-operated horizontal ‘air launch’ company.

The agreement brings together proven horizontal launch technology, which allows the release of a rocket carrying small satellites from high altitude, with a world class spaceport development, in response to a growing demand from customers. — Read more via International Airport Review

Wednesday – 22/09/2021

CO2: UK government confirms deal to resume supply of CO2

The government has confirmed a deal with a key US firm to restart carbon dioxide production after a shutdown that had sparked a food supply crisis – but it will cover only one of its two UK sites.

A late night announcement on the agreement with CF Industries said there would be an immediate restart at its fertiliser factory in Billingham on Teesside but made no mention of a second plant at Ince in Cheshire which has also been shut down.

CF produces around 60% of the UK’s CO2 supply, which is why the closure of the sites last week, blamed on a surge in gas prices, had prompted fears that shoppers could start noticing shortages in poultry, pork and bakery products within days. — Read more via Sky News

Manufacturing orders strongest on record in September, but output struggling to keep pace – CBI monthly Industrial Trends Survey

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

The survey of 273 manufacturing firms saw total order books improve further on August’s strong results to reach a record high, while export order books also improved to their strongest since March 2019.

However, output growth in the three months for September slowed for the second month in a row, despite remaining firm by historical standards. Eleven out of 17 sectors saw output increase, with headline growth being driven largely by the food, drink & tobacco sub-sector.

Stock adequacy picked up slightly, but nonetheless remained close to last month’s record low and considerably below average.

Meanwhile, expectations for output price growth in the coming quarter remain strong. — Read more via CBI

AstraZeneca to invest $360m in Irish drug manufacturing site

AstraZeneca (AZN.L) said on Tuesday it would invest $360m to develop a manufacturing facility in Ireland to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), or the main components of medicines.

The planned investment in Dublin is expected to support late-stage development and early commercial supply, the company said, adding that the site can be developed further to add treatments such as antibody drug conjugates and oligonucleotides. — Read more via Reuters

Zelim and Chartwell Marine develop world’s first unmanned rescue vessel to save lives in offshore wind

Zelim, an Edinburgh start-up developing a complete lifesaving system for offshore energy, has partnered with Hampshire-based pioneering naval architect Chartwell Marine to deliver a first in class remotely operated rescue vessel.

The ‘Survivor Class’ vessel will be the cornerstone of Zelim’s wider offshore rescue system, incorporating search technology & remote operations. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Telford company targets £multi-million opportunity after launching ‘breakthrough’ sanitising solution

A specialist Telford hygiene firm is launching a new alternative antiviral sanitising solution that is free from alcohol and chemicals, a move that is expected to create 40 new jobs.

Room Shield has signed a joint venture agreement with North Staffordshire’s Future Developments to bring its HOCL (hypochlorous acid) products to the commercial marketplace.

The Halesfield-based company has invested over £250,000 into developing its new eco-friendly range using a similar formula and technology that has been used in hospitals for more than 30 years and is proven to be the fastest application for cleaning and disinfecting your skin and surfaces. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Tuesday – 21/09/2021

UK synthetic fuel manufacturer secures £200k funding from Damon Hill syndicate

A UK-based synthetic fuel manufacturer has secured funding from an investor syndicate of which Formula One (F1) icon and broadcaster Damon Hill is a member.

Zero Petroleum, a British technology company that produces net zero synthetic fuel by recycling carbon dioxide and water, raised the £200,000 in an oversubscribed seed financing round from investor syndicate Raising Partners Angels.

Founded by Formula One engineering star Paddy Lowe and Professor Nilay Shah OBE, Head of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, Zero Petroleum will use this investment to build a pilot synthetic fuel production plant in the UK, where its technology can be rapidly scaled. In addition, it will bolster its Board, engineering, sales and operations teams, and demonstrate the viability of synthetic fuels by securing more commercial partnerships. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Carbon dioxide shortage sparks food supply-chain fears

Meat manufacturers have less than two weeks’ supply of carbon dioxide in the system and failure to resolve this will likely lead to food shortages and more animals backed up on farms, the British Meat Processors’ Association (BMPA) has warned.

“Carbon dioxide gas plays a critical and irreplaceable role in the food and drink manufacturing process and businesses can grind to a halt if they cannot secure an adequate supply,” it explains.

“This means that, once their current stocks of the gas run out – estimated to be in less than 14 days – some companies will have to stop taking animals and close production lines, leading to a log jam of animals back to the farms.”

The crisis has been sparked by the decision of the UK’s major fertiliser manufacturer, CF Industries, to suspend production at the end of last week, due to the high cost of wholesale gas, which has gone up 250% since the start of the year. — Read more via Farmers Weekly

Cider manufacturer raises glass to record revenues

Birmingham-based Aston Manor Cider has hailed the resilience of the business as it responded to the toughest trading period in its 40 year history with record revenues.

The company posted revenue of £154m for 2020, up from £137m in 2019, during a year when the hospitality sector was closed for several months.

Aston Manor said the performance was only possible because of a significant change in the product mix across different formats and a consistent programme of investment over several years.

That investment was evident again in 2020, when despite the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business completed a £6.6m investment project to install a new packaging line and related works to reduce energy usage and transport movements at the Aston site. — Read more via The Business Desk

UK to support assembling of electric vehicles in Nigeria

Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, says the UK government, through its manufacturing Africa initiative, will support Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), a tech-enabled company, on the assembling of electric vehicles in Nigeria.

Manufacturing Africa is a UK funded initiative, which seeks to promote industrialisation in East and West Africa by attracting £1.2 billion in foreign direct investment and creating 90,000 jobs by 2026.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to MAX office on Monday, Laing said the UK government is delighted to scale up support for MAX, because of the company’s brilliant innovation and solutions. — Read more via The Cable

Ardersier Port signs floating wind manufacturing deal with BW Ideol

Ardersier Port Authority has signed a formal partnership deal with BW Ideol for manufacturing of floating offshore wind facilities.

The deal for “exclusive and long-term access” to the port will allow for manufacturing of concrete floating foundations, including the potential creation of a “serial production line” for BW Ideol’s “Damping Pool” floating barge technology.

It comes as numerous companies have made high-profile bids in the ScotWind offshore leasing round, with first awards expected in January 2022.

BW Ideol started trading earlier this year as a joint venture between Ideol and BW Offshore to supply floating foundations to the industry. — Read more via Energy Voice

Monday – 20/09/2021

The rise of the machines: how robotics and automation are creating jobs in manufacturing

SME manufacturers adopting robotics and automation, with the support of Made Smarter, are creating hundreds of new and upskilled jobs.

Since 2019 the North West Adoption Programme, a collaboration between UK government and industry designed to support the increased use of digital technologies, has supported 41 businesses with 45 technology projects focused on robotics and automation machinery.

The £2m investment, which combines £883k in grant funding and leverages £1.1m of private finance, is forecast to create 183 new jobs and upskill a further 234 existing workers.

Furthermore, the region’s GVA is expected to grow by £137.4m over the next three years. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Leonardo helicopter boss warns £1bn investment at risk if UK does not order

The Italian-owned helicopter-maker Leonardo has said it may reconsider a proposed £1bn investment into UK manufacturing if the government does not choose it to deliver a replacement for the Royal Air Force’s Puma fleet.

The Ministry of Defence announced in the spring that it wanted to replace the Puma and eventually three other models. The RAF has used the Puma since the 1970s, and upgraded versions have been used extensively to carry troops in wars including the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Leonardo is vying with Airbus, the European aerospace conglomerate, to build a new mid-sized helicopter by about 2025. The Italian company owns the UK’s only helicopter factory, at Yeovil in Somerset, employing 3,000 workers, but Airbus this week pledged to create 400 jobs in a new helicopter production line at its factory in Broughton, north Wales, if it wins the government contract. — Read more via The Guardian

Gas price rise: US boss holds crisis gas talks with UK

The boss of a US company that supplies 60% of the UK’s food-grade carbon dioxide supply has held crisis talks with the government over shortages.

Tony Will, chief executive of CF Industries, arrived in the UK earlier after the firm stopped production at its two fertiliser plants because of soaring wholesale gas prices.

Food firms are warning a shortage of CO2 is threatening produce supplies.

High global demand for gas has been blamed for the recent surge in prices.

Carbon dioxide is used to stun animals prior to slaughter and in dry ice form to keep food fresh for storage and transport. It is a by-product of fertiliser manufacturing. — Read more via BBC News

UK set for most widespread pay rises in over a decade – CBI

More British employers are planning pay rises than at any time since the global financial crisis as they struggle to recruit staff following the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit, data from the Confederation of British Industry showed on Monday.

The CBI said 44% of businesses intended to raise pay in line with inflation and 24% planned above-inflation pay rises, the highest combined percentage since it started surveying businesses about this in 2009. — Read more via Reuters

Bolton missile manufacturer secures fighter jet funding

Engineers at a Bolton missile manufacturer are set to begin work on new fighter jet enhancement.

This comes after MBDA, which maintains a base on Lea Field Way, Bridgewater Avenue, and its partners secured additional funding from the British and Italian militaries to complete the development and integration of next-generation weapons capabilities on both countries’ F-35 fleets.

Specialists will now commence the testing, simulation and integration activities in the UK and US, to achieve initial operating capability of both weapons. — Read more via The Bolton News

Friday – 17/09/2021

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft completes maiden flight in UK

Rolls-Royce’s first all-electric aircraft has completed its maiden flight in the skies above the UK ahead of a world record attempt later this year.

The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ soared for around 15 minutes, having taken off from the MOD’s Boscombe Down airfield in Wiltshire on Wednesday.

With its powerful 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain and the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, the Spirit of Innovation represents a significant step towards all-electric aircraft becoming a regular feature of our skies and on the aviation industry’s journey towards decarbonisation.

Rolls-Royce is looking to build on the Spirit of Innovation’s success and attempt to set a new world record for electric flight speed later this year. The current record stands at 210mph, but Rolls-Royce believes it will be able to surpass 300mph. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Hydrogen, nitrogen products manufacturer halts UK operations

CF Industries, a leading global manufacturer of hydrogen and nitrogen products, has announced that it is halting operations at both its Billingham and Ince manufacturing complexes in the UK due to high natural gas prices.

The move comes as Europe is facing an extreme squeeze for energy supplies, with gas and power prices breaking records day after day. The continent is running out of time to refill storage facilities before the start of the winter as flows from top suppliers Russia and Norway remain limited. There’s also a fight for shipments of liquefied natural gas, with Asia buying up cargoes to meet its own demand.

CF Industries does not have an estimate for when production will resume at the facilities. — Read more via Bloomberg

Call for universities to collaborate on £9m 5G project to transform UK manufacturing

The software company leading a £9m government-backed project designed to show the potential of 5G technology to revolutionise UK manufacturing is calling on universities to get involved.

Zeetta Networks is the lead partner on the 5G-ENCODE project, through which a 5G-powered smart factory is being built at Bristol’s National Composites Centre (NCC).

The project is part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is one of the UK government’s biggest investments in 5G for manufacturing to date.

Other project partners include O2 owner Telefonica, Siemens and Toshiba.

Zeetta, a University of Bristol spin-out, is using konfer – a free-to-use online tool developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) – to reach out to experts and innovators from UK universities and form new partnerships. — Read more via Total Telecom

Liverpool launch new partnership with global manufacturer to aid recycling effort

Liverpool FC has linked up with global manufacturing giant SC Johnson in a bid to tackle plastic waste an Anfield.

The link-up, announced on Thursday, will create a closed loop recycling model for the more than 500,00 plastic bottles that are used at Anfield each season, with fans able to place their bottles in specially designed receptacles around the ground, and the recycled plastic to be used to make new Mr Muscle trigger bottles.

The multi-year partnership, called Goals for Change, will also see a number of other initiatives used to aid sustainability, health and hygiene pathways across Liverpool’s community both in the UK and also in Asia and Latin America. — Read more via Liverpool Echo

High Value Manufacturing Catapult outlines its 2030 vision

Katherine Bennett CBE, Chief Executive of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC), reflects on an eventful summer for the organisation and looks forward to what the next 10 years look like for the manufacturing centre.

In this piece for The Manufacturer, Katherine discusses (among other things) four HVMC milestones and what they mean for the future of advanced manufacturing in the UK. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 16/09/2021

US, UK, Australia reveal defence tech-sharing pact

Australia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom have signed a new defence and technology-sharing pact.

Dubbed AUKUS, the headline item of the pact is assistance from the UK and US to help Australia build nuclear-powered submarines that are interoperable with their own fleets (but do not carry nuclear weapons). Australia’s Department of Defence Science and Technology argues [PDF] that subs “can shape or change the behaviour of other nations and their decision-making, which no other Australian Defence Force asset or combination of assets can do”.

The only credible regional threat Australia faces is China. Australia previously planned to build diesel-electric subs in conjunction with a French manufacturer – a contract that is about to be terminated without putting a boat in the water. Nuclear-powered boats can run submerged for longer and more quietly, and do not have to vent exhaust gases. — Read more via The Register

Record year for carbon reduction despite COVID stalling economic progress

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) 22nd Sustainability Report has revealed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the automotive sector’s sustainable development, with declines in vehicle production, registrations and economic performance.

Fleet average carbon emissions were reduced by a record-breaking 11.8% in a single year. The industry remains firmly focused on reducing emissions from both production-related activities and vehicles in use.

The sector has called for a supportive framework to transition the market to a sustainable, net zero future.

The past two decades have seen the UK automotive sector maintain its position as one of the country’s most important economic assets. Turnover is up 25.7% since 1999, to £60.2 billion last year, with a more than three-fold increase in R&D spending over the same period. However, the past year has seen the industry hit hard by the pandemic with automotive sector turnover down by -24.6%. — Read more via SMMT

UK, Spanish foundation manufacturers to jointly pursue new offshore wind projects

UK’s Harland & Wolff and Spanish companies Navantia and Windar Renovables have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see the new partners actively working on securing specific fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind projects, primarily within the UK, and executing them together.

Harland & Wolff said this collaboration would enable the company to take better advantage of the offshore wind opportunities set out in the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. — Read more via offshoreWIND.biz

UK and UAE to build on £1bn life sciences pact with clean energy investments

The UK and UAE governments plan to build on their £1 billion partnership to invest in Britain’s life sciences sector announced earlier this year by boosting investments in clean energy, as well as advanced manufacturing, technology and infrastructure, as they aim to be at the forefront of the “green revolution”.

Lord Gerry Grimstone, UK Minister for Investment at the Department for International Trade, told delegates attending a webinar on the future business and investment relationship between Britain and the Emirates that “exciting opportunities” in the renewables sector are being examined by both nations. — Read more via The National

UK manufacturers’ costs rise at fastest pace in a decade

UK manufacturers’ costs rose at their fastest pace in a decade last month, adding to concerns price rises in the British economy may be much stickier than expected after separate data published today shows consumer price inflation jumped at its fastest rate on record.

Input prices – typically materials used in the day-to-day running of manufacturing businesses – jumped 11 per cent in August, the fastest rate of growth since late 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). — Read more via City A.M.

Wednesday – 15/09/2021

Female learners steal the show at In-Comm Training Awards 2021

Female learners stole the show at the annual In-Comm Training Awards held last Friday, taking the two main titles and winning six of the nine honours at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham.

Tia Till, an engineering apprentice at Shiftec, beat off competition from more than 100 young people and mature workers to win both Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies and the Outstanding Learner of the Year Awards, impressing judges with her manufacturing performance and desire to be the best in her field.

She was joined on stage by Libby Hastings of UK Architectural Antiques, who was successful in the Business Support and Most Improved Learner categories. The 20-year-old has overcome anxiety and low confidence to develop all the skills she needs to run the back office, a role she feels will make her mom proud. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Leonardo Helicopters boosts UK content on AW149 for NMH bid

Leonardo Helicopters has revealed the industrial team that will form part of its bid for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement, as the manufacturer attempts to boost domestic content on the platform.

Featuring more than 70 companies from across the country, Team AW149 UK “represents a cross-section of the best in British engineering and manufacturing”, says Leonardo Helicopters UK managing director Nick Whitney.

If it wins the NMH contest, AW149s for the UK and export would be built at the airframer’s Yeovil assembly line in southwest England. — Read more via Flight Global

Cytiva to help UK pharmaceutical manufacturing

Cytiva, the former GE Healthcare Life Sciences, based in Marlborough, has entered an agreement with the pharmaceutical company Lakes BioScience, based in the United Kingdom, to help the European company optimize its manufacturing processes, Lakes BioScience announced Tuesday.

The partnership will help Cytiva further cement its presence in the U.K. market while helping Lakes BioScience manufacture antibody therapies and further onshore the country’s bioscience industry, per the announcement.

“It’s a beneficial relationship for both,” said Margret Oland, business development manager of enterprise solutions at Cytiva, in a press release. “We want to be part of Lakes BioScience’s exciting journey.”

Work done under the agreement is anticipated to produce 250 new highly-skilled jobs at a forthcoming, approximately $484 million Lakes BioScience factory in Ulverston, Cumbria, in the United Kingdom, per the announcement. — Read more via Worcester Business Journal

Revenues rocket at household product maker’s UK arm

Revenues have surged at the UK arm of a global household products manufacturer behind the likes of Arm & Hammer, Bastiste and Nair.

Church & Dwight is a multibillion-dollar group headquartered in New Jersey. It was founded in 1846 when brothers-in-law Dr Austin Church and John Dwight began preparing bicarbonate of soda for commercial distribution.

In the year to 31 December 2020, Church & Dwight UK Ltd, which is based in Kent, turned over £163.5m, up from £148.6m 12 months earlier.

Pre-tax profits also neared the £20m-mark, rising to £19.3m from £18.2m. — Read more via Insider Media

Weston Group launches light gauge steel panel system following £6m investment in new factory

House builder Weston Group has launched a factory assembled light gauge steel panel system onto the marketplace for builders and developers.

A newly-launched MMC assembly business known as British Offsite will sell the UNI System range of light gauge panels, walls, roofs and floors.

To launch the British Offsite business, Weston has invested £6m in a new factory for the light gauge steel panels to run along alongside its existing factory in Braintree, Essex.

Its new factory’s robotic production line has capacity to deliver 4,000 homes per year, radically reducing the risk and delays in construction and is claimed to be the most advanced light gauge steel panel assembly line in Europe. — Read more via Construction Enquirer

Tuesday – 14/09/2021

Defence sector to play key role in maximising success of UK economy

The UK Government is being urged to channel the innovation in the defence sector across UK manufacturing, maximising the benefits and future technological opportunities for the rest of the economy, according to a major report published today.

According to the Make UK Defence and Raytheon UK report Defence: Opportunity, resilience and prosperity, the defence sector makes a dynamic contribution to the UK economy, accounting for £12bn GVA and employing, directly or indirectly through supply chains, over 200,000 highly skilled employees. The sector is also heavily concentrated in areas which will be critical to the levelling-up agenda, as well as the wider Government agenda of increasing exports, creating good jobs and transitioning to net zero. — Read more via The Manufacturer

GE’s new blade manufacturing plant in UK approved

GE Renewable Energy has received the official planning approval from local authorities for its manufacturing plant in Teesside, UK, where LM Wind Power will operate the facility which will be dedicated to the production of its 107-metre-long blades for GE’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbines.

The construction of the blade manufacturing plant is planned to begin later this year, after all contractual documents are finalised.

Plans for the new facility were submitted to the local planning authorities this Spring. — Read more via offshoreWIND.biz

AMTE Power becomes one of UKBIC’s first commercial customers

Under a new framework agreement, lithium-ion battery cell manufacturer AMTE Power has announced it has become one of the first commercial customers to use the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry.

The center enables organizations within the UK to prove their technologies, ranging from battery modules and packs to electrodes and cell materials. These products or components are assessed to see if they can be manufactured at the required rate, volume and cost, among other requirements to be commercially successful.

The new agreement will enable AMTE Power to transition from product development that is currently carried out in Thurso, Scotland, to the UKBIC, where larger-scale manufacturing can take place. To begin with, AMTE Power will develop its Ultra High-Power cell, a product targeted at high-performance sports cars and high-power off-highway vehicles. — Read more via Engine & Powertrain Technology International

St. Johns Packaging debuts innovative bread bags

Allied Bakeries, a UK-based supplier of baked foods, has introduced new bread bags made by St. Johns Packaging, a manufacturer of flexible packaging products. The new bags feature a certified circular polyethylene (PE) resin grade from SABIC, incorporating 30% content of recycled feedstock from post-consumer waste.

The new bags will be used in the packaging of Allied Bakeries Kingsmill No Crusts 50/50.

Allied Bakeries, St. Johns Packaging and SABIC began development of the new bags back in November 2020. A trial phase was completed in May 2021 at the St. Johns Packaging production site in China, and Kingsmill introduced the bags made from PE film with certified circular polymers content to UK stores this month. — Read more via bakingbusiness.com

Recruiter places 700 engineering jobs in partnership success

A manufacturing and engineering recruitment consultancy has placed more than 700 skilled engineers with one of the UK’s major manufacturing bodies in a partnership lasting 10 years.

Stratford-upon-Avon based Consilium Recruit was appointed by the Manufacturing Technology Centre in 2011.

Since then Consilium has partnered the MTC in its drive for growth, recruiting more than 700 highly-skilled engineers and technicians for its world-class facility in Coventry plus satellite operations in Oxfordshire and Liverpool. — Read more via The Business Desk