Fanuc has brought all of its UK activities – robotics, machine tools and factory automation – together in a purpose-built headquarters in Coventry which has cost more than £19m to build and will employ more than 100 people. The three-storey, 9,940m2 (107,000ft2) facility is four times larger than the company’s previous location, and includes design, manufacturing and training facilities and offices, as well as a showroom area.
Graham Fick, technical director of the Yorkshire-based motor controls manufacturer Zikodrive, has won the “engineer of the year” award at the 2017 Motion Control Industry Awards, held in Birmingham, UK. He won the award for his work designing and developing the company’s ZDBL range of compact, custom-programmed brushless motor controllers.
A new organisation has been created to represent the interests of the UK’s electrotechnical, electronics and firmware sector. The ElecTech Council has its roots in the former Esco (Electronics Systems Community) and is backed by trade bodies including Gambica and Beama, and organisations including the IET and BSI.
UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced plans to invest £1bn over the next four years in cutting-edge technologies that the government believes will create jobs and raise living standards. The funding, from the £23bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), will be spent across six key areas, including robotics and AI (artificial intelligence), self-driving vehicles, and manufacturing and materials of the future.
The Cambridge-based sensor-maker Zettlex has won one of 57 innovation awards in this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for its range of accurate position and speed sensors for use in harsh environments. Other winners of innovation awards include Saco (the Smart Actuator Company), located in Malvern Wells, for its high-efficiency, programmable electric actuators, and Bristol-based Third Dimension, for its laser-based GapGun optical measurement device used to control production quality.
Peterborough-based Olympus Automation (OAL) and the University of Lincoln have been awarded a £448,850 grant by Innovate UK and the EPSRC’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems programme to develop robot-based materials-handling systems for food manufacturers. During the one-year project, they will focus on automating the processes of handling, weighing and transporting raw ingredients. The aim is to bring about a step-change in the adoption of robotics and automation in the food and drink industry, and thus to enhance productivity.
The Oxfordshire bearings specialist, Bowman International, has bought Midlands-based John Handley Bearings which sells products from Thomson Industries, Cooper Bearings and NSK Linear. The acquisition gives Bowman a stock-holding facility in the Midlands for its ranges of plain bearings, which include the BowMet, Oillite and Oilless brands.
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has said that the Government will embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to help transform the UK’s productivity and ensure that the country remains at the cutting edge.
The UK is “badly underprepared” for Industry 4.0, says a new report from the industrial services company, Eriks. The report, based on a survey of 200 UK engineers, reveals that 61% are not undertaking any Industry 4.0 initiatives, despite the vast majority (80%) believing it will have a positive effect on their production and maintenance practices.
A new UK company has been created to help systems integrators and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) developers to market their products faster and at a lower cost. Bristol-based Sixis has been set up by industry veterans Chris Begent and Tony Richardson and will sell technologies originally developed by Telemesis – formerly the telemetry division of AlanDick, which Begent and Richardson acquired as part of an MBO team in 2008.
Medium-sized UK manufacturers have outpaced their smaller and larger counterparts’ revenue growth over the past five years – but may be left to fend for themselves post-Brexit, according to business and accountancy firm BDO, which has released a report calling for the Government to prioritise the needs of mid-sized manufacturers.
AEMT – the Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades – has launched its own awards scheme to recognise the achievements of individuals and companies in this sector of UK industry. The first awards will be made at a dinner and ceremony to be held in Coventry, UK, on 29 November, 2017.
The UK’s departure from the European Union could have a further detrimental effect on the uptake of industrial robots in the UK, according to a new report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) and Redwood Software. The report also suggests that investment in robotics offers better long-term value-for-money than investments in financial services, property or transport.
Sulzer has announced that Dowding & Mills (UK) has changed its legal name to Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK). Its portfolio of electrical services and mechanical repairs will not change, and it will continue to repair and maintain rotating equipment, and provide specialised services for pumps and turbomachinery.
The University of Salford has joined forces with Siemens to launch a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree in control and automation, to help address the skills shortage affecting UK industry.