Winning: UK manufacturers thriving in a time of crisis

Posted on 20 Mar 2020 by Jonny Williamson

There is an understandable air of doom in the economy among companies affected most by the Coronavirus: non-essential retail, hospitality, events, culture. We know some of you are suffering and we urge you to pull whatever levers you can find to mitigate your difficulty. But there are UK manufacturers who continue to do well and we want to make a noise about that. So watch this spaces for stories of UK manufacturers who are #winning.

Click on the company you wish to hear or read about. 

1. CNC Robotics
2. P2i
3. Lintott Control Systems 
4. AE Aerospace
5. Domino Printing Sciences

CNC Robotics

The Liverpool-based ‘Robotics-as-a-service’ company says it is managing to work through the CoronaVirus crisis thanks to a strong management team, strategic planning and a flexible workforce, not one of whom has been furloughed, although some are working from home.

Philippa Glover, MD of CNC Robotics. Image: CNC Robotics
Philippa Glover, MD of CNC Robotics. Image: CNC Robotics

MD Philippa Glover says it will be vital for companies to work together like never before if the UK manufacturing sector is to  thrive.

“Right now, the community is working together to support each other, ” she said. “One of the interesting conversations I’ve had is around the importance of a network. Manufacturers and business leaders who are managing the situation well are finding that they’re able to draw on the support of their network, they’ve leveraged their network. Just because we are working in a virtual way doesn’t mean that we can’t network and we can’t draw on that kind of community of support to enable us to continue to thrive.”

Philippa Glover and founder Jason Barker spoke to Nick Peters about their successful response to the crisis, how they are continuing to serve their global customer base, and about the way they see UK manufacturing coping post-COVID-19.

CNC Robotics has developed a global customer base from a concept dreamt up by founder Jason Barker, who adapted robots to create stage sets for the scenery company he owned. Today, CNC deploys robots into client premises to perform machining tasks normally the preserve of purpose-built CNC milling machines, across an array of materials, as well as automating manufacturing processes.

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Last week, Oxford-based P2i announced it had signed a deal with Samsung to protect selected Galaxy smartphones with its liquid protection Barrier coating.

P2i is a British company that has become a global leader in liquid repellent nanotechnology. It was founded in 2004 – today it’s machines are installed on production lines across the world, applying liquid-proofing to sensitive electronic products.

P2i’s chief executive discussed the deal with Nick Peters, adding that the brilliant response of UK industry to the government’s call for help during the CoronaVirus crisis bodes well for a productive future relationship between industry and Whitehall.

Lintott Control Systems

A new government initiative to create greater computer expertise in the teaching profession has been given the enthusiastic backing of Norwich-based Lintott Control Systems. Lintott has donated its Industry Accelerator Training Academy for use by the Norfolk Computing Hub, based at Neatherd High School in Dereham.

The goal of the initiative is to use a network of National Centres for Computing Education to upskill 8,000 teachers in computer science so they are capable of teaching the subject to GCSE level. The lack of sufficient computing skills in schools is a serious obstacle to developing more STEM learning, and ultimately educating the kind of recruits manufacturers need.

Lintott Control Systems' Industry Accelerator Training Academy
Lintott Control Systems’ Industry Accelerator Training Academy. Image: Lintott CS

The Norfolk Computing Hub has been appointed as the county’s National Centre for Computing Education. Lintott’s contribution will allow teachers in the county to receive specialist training as part of a programme of continuous professional development, although currently courses are being delivered online. The Industry Accelerator Training Academy is kitted out with CAD-capable workstations and other manufacturing equipment, which Lintott’s COO Jamie Thums hopes will strengthen teachers’ appreciation for the sector as well as helping them achieve a greater level of computing skill.

The Manufacturer Top 100 2019 - Exemplar David Owen, MD of Lintott Systems, with colleague and business partner Jamie Thums, a 2018 Top 100 alumnus.
Jamie Thums of Lintott Systems, right, with colleague and business partner David Owen who was an Exemplar in The Manufacturer Top 100 2019. Jamie is a 2018 Top 100 alumnus.

“The backbone of our business is computing and digitisation, so it makes perfect sense for us to support the Norfolk Computing Hub in training teachers from non-specialist backgrounds who wish to improve their knowledge of computer science and teach it at GCSE level,” Jamie said.

“This in turn, can only help create a larger pool of talented young men and women who will be qualified to work in our sector.”

Multi-award winning Lintott Control Systems makes water and wastewater treatment systems for local authorities  and industry. Through root and branch adoption of digital technologies it has developing new opportunities in factory-built water & wastewater treatment systems, software systems integration, electrical control panels and asset management.

AE Aerospace 

With the airline industry in turmoil, it would be easy to leap to the conclusion that the aerospace supply chain is in trouble.

For Midlands-based AE Aerospace, that is very far from being the case. For them, the problem with Coronavirus is not the damage it’s doing to orders but how they’re going to fulfil the orders flooding into the business.

So how are they coping? And what lessons can we all learn from their story?

MD Peter Bruch told Nick Peters all about it.

Domino Printing Sciences

Domino Printing Sciences are leaders in their field of specialist printing services to manufacturers, particularly those in food and drink, and healthcare companies.

Little wonder then that the company, which is part of the global Brother printing conglomerate, is enjoying busy times right now.

Carl Haycock is Domino’s Printer Operations Director and the company’s global head of health and safety, and manufacturing excellence.

He told Nick Peters what is going on at the company today. (Audio interview.)

Domino Printer Sciences were runners up in the Manufacturer of the Year category at The Manufacturer Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2019, as well as winning the People and Skills and Supply Chain Excellence categories.
Why don’t you register for the 2020 awards? You’ll be keeping great company! Enter here. 
The Domino team at The Manufacturer MX Awards 2019. Carl Haycock at far left. Image: The Manufacturer
The Domino team at The Manufacturer MX Awards 2019. Carl Haycock at far left. Image: The Manufacturer