Assessing the Strategy

The Government has launched several important strategies to support industry in the last 18 months, targeting areas where UK plc has comparative advantage and growth potential. Malcolm Wheatley asks how can manufacturers and tax-payers measure the value for money of these strategies.

Define R&D — a taxing question

What qualifies as research and development for tax purposes? The Government has taken a bit of stick this year for its handling of R&D tax credits claims, but there is little hard evidence that it tightened its rules.

Can business expect to get more clarity on this expensive but valuable tax credit process? Will Stirling asks.

Institutional excellence

The Institute for Manufacturing was established in 1998 to provide a collaborative environment for the creation and transfer of ideas, research and holistic approaches to modern industrial realities. A decade on, TM’s Edward Machin discovers an institution at the forefront of global manufacturing practices, and with a new low carbon building to boot.

Skills for growth

In November 2009, the Government released the latest National Skills Strategy which it says will provide Britain with the talents to take advantage of global opportunities in the economic recovery. Mark Young weighs up the reactions from some key industry commentators.

The rise of the virtual factory

Costly product flow reconfigurations 0; Virtual factories 1. Manufacturing process simulation is saving companies thousands of pounds. And software vendors are integrating CAD to product simulation, to test multiple physical stress scenarios, reducing costly prototype tests. Malcolm Wheatley reports on a convincing scoreline.

The story of the steel wheel

One hundred years ago, GKN Wheels — known then as Joseph Sankey & Sons Ltd or ‘Sankeys’ — patented and produced the first pressed steel wheel. Originally manufactured for use in motor cars, this was a significant engineering breakthrough, made possible by technological advances in the production of high quality steel alloys and rolling systems.

It’s time to share

The modern factory engineer is as likely to be devising a value stream map, or filming a production process to be intranet-cast to a Chinese sister factory, as he is operating a machine tool. Steve Burgess, continuous improvement project engineer at GKN Wheels, says knowledge-sharing between sites is crucial.