The Manufacturer Podcast: Getting a good handle on tech

Posted on 20 May 2022 by Tom St John

Tom, Joe and Lanna return to bring you the latest episode of The Manufacturer Podcast - looking at tech adoption and the vital need for current and future climate tech innovation.

Hey there listener. In episode 4 of our Tech Series we feature interviews from two first class UK manufacturers, who have excelled in the digital space. Origin and Gripple, TMMX Award Winners from last year, tells us how they’ve achieved sensible and value-added technology adoption and why it’s been so important to the way they drive their manufacturing operations.

Also, The Manufacturer Magazine is almost out – hear our team discuss what to look out for in the May/June edition, which is packed with some wonderful features and interviews.

We also welcome Toby Gill, the CEO of Intelligent Power Generation (IPG), a British start-up working to de-risk the transition to more sustainable fuels and enable industries to end their reliance on diesel generators.

IPG has manufactured its own unique flameless generator – Toby discusses how the manufacturing industry can do more to support the production of vital climate-tech innovations.

That’s all to look forward to in this episode


Lee Mounter, Director of Business Analytics at Origin on tech adoption  

Lee Mounter, Director of Business Analytics at Origin

“One of my first conversations at Origin was when I had it explained to me the impact of not delivering on time and in full to our customers. It’s logistically very difficult for them if we don’t deliver when we say we’re going to; whether it’s early or late, it’s got to be right. Therefore, a lot of our digitalisation has been around getting that right. If we look at our ERP project, for example, I think the last five years has been all about just integration. So, when our customer says, ‘yes, I’m happy to go on this order,’ nobody has to touch it after that all the way down to transferring the data files to our CNC machines, it’s all done digitally. This means the chances of mistakes are reduced dramatically.

“Our design department is actually very tech savvy. The key is that we use technology a lot in the process of design, through to manufacturing and out into distribution to our customers. The entire process is very digital. The engineers are obviously very creative and clever, but also it’s a closed loop – they’re getting feedback from our customers all the time about what the market needs. Actually getting the idea down to manufacturing, into the nuts and bolts, is where we find all the digitalisation really does help.”

James Sallows, Operations Manager at Gripple on tech and people

ames Sallows, Operations Manager, being interviewed at Old West Gun Works site

“Having people involved at all levels is absolutely crucial. As an employee-owned business we absolutely drive that. If you look across all the factories, we have a heavy reliance on involving people from the ground up and making improvements. It’s the people on the shop floor who run those machines, drive all the improvements, and know where the data is coming from – they’re pivotal in getting the right answers. By not taking this approach, you’ll end up encountering difficulties.

“We still have a lot of hand assembly machines, which is something we want to move away from. Not from the point of view of having less for people to do, but because we can get people involved in bigger projects when they’re not stuck on machines for eight hours a day. On this site, around 25% of the machines are still hand assembly, which we need to get past and really automate what machines we can.”

Toby Gill, CEO of Intelligent Power Generation (IPG) on climate tech innovation

Toby Gill, CEO of IPG

“Funding climate tech innovation is actually quite challenging. We’re in the energy sector – I think last year, only 3 to 4% of private investments went into climate tech energy and energy tech start-ups. Despite everything you hear in the news, this is actually a relatively niche investment opportunity.

“It comes down to the fact that hardware is hard – bad pun! What you therefore need to do is bring together the technical expertise to de-risk that journey for not only investors, but for everyone involved in that value chain. I think what that means is relying on academia. There are a lot of people out there who are really getting to grips with what industry 4.0 actually means and getting to grips with understanding and defining the value that digital twins of both products and manufacturing processes can bring to early innovators, but also innovators in the manufacturing industry. That way you can show them that this is how you’re going to create this IP.”

Listen back to the previous episode in the series