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UK needs to ‘leapfrog’ rivals to win in the new industrial age

The UK is in pole position to benefit from the fourth industrial revolution, reversing its poor productivity, lifting living standards and resulting in a fairer society – but seizing the opportunity will need a new kind of industrial strategy, the CBI has warned.

Steve Brambley to succeed Graeme Philp as Gambica's CEO

Steve Brambley is to take over as chief executive of Gambica, the UK’s trade association for the instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology sectors, when the current CEO, Dr Graeme Philp, retires on 23 January, 2018, after seven years in the role.

Low-cost cobot resurfaces after two years of development

In 2015, a London-based start-up called Automata announced that it had developed a six-axis collaborative robot called Eva that it was planning to sell for about £3,000 – thus undercutting most of the competition substantially. Then things went quiet.

Jones leads drive to boost CT and Leroy-Somer in the UK

Gareth Jones, previously global vice-president of strategic marketing for Control Techniques, has been appointed UK and Ireland country leader of the ACIM (appliance, commercial and industrial motors) operation of CT’s new parent, Nidec. He will focus on expanding Control Techniques, Leroy-Somer and Nidec’s automation businesses in the UK and Ireland.

Digitalisation network links UK industry and universities

Siemens and the University of Sheffield have launched a partnership to accelerate digitalisation, boost digital skills, and promote technology and knowledge exchange to meet the needs of increasingly-digitalised industry. The agreement is the first collaboration in a multi-million pound, UK-wide digitalisation network that will link businesses and universities using the Internet of Things (IoT) to exploit the opportunities offered by digital technology.

US-based Atkore buys British conduit maker, Flexicon

Atkore International, the US-based manufacturer of electrical raceway systems, has acquired Flexicon, the UK-headquartered manufacturer of metallic and non-metallic, flexible cable protection systems. The terms of the transaction have not been revealed.

Hughes succeeds Randery as head of Schneider in the UK

Schneider Electric has announced that Mike Hughes is succeeding Tanuja Randery as president of its UK and Ireland business. Randery, who has been in the post since January 2015, is moving to a new role in the financial sector.

Manufacturing Advisory Service is reborn as a helpdesk

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has been relaunched as an online helpdesk and service to support Britain’s manufacturing industry and help businesses to access information.

Phipson to succeed Scouler as chief executive of EEF

EEF, the UK manufacturers’ organisation, has announced that Stephen Phipson, currently Head of the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) in the Department for International Trade, is to become its new chief executive from 1 December, succeeding Terry Scuoler who is stepping down.

Reconfigurable cell will allow SMEs to test technologies

Smaller British manufacturers will soon have access to a “reconfigurable factory” research cell where they can test machining and assembly technologies before building their own production machinery. The cell is being assembled at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) for the Centre’s Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG).

Owner’s son leads MBO at Sheffield gearbox repairs firm

A team of managers, led by managing director Lee Walkland, has acquired the Sheffield-headquartered gearbox repairs business TDR Transmissions for a seven-figure sum. Walkland is taking over from his father Ken Walkland, one of two existing owners. He will be joined by Darren Morland, Carl Smith and Jason Smith as the new owners.

Managers sew up deal to buy Yorkshire automation firm

A team of managers has bought the West Yorkshire automation and robotics specialist, Sewtec Automation, which designs and builds automated manufacturing and packaging systems for a global base of blue-chip customers.

CBI Manufacturing Council aims to guide UK industrial policy

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) is bringing together dozens of CEOs from manufacturers of all sizes across the UK to create a high-powered group that aims to ensure that manufacturing is at the heart of the Government’s industrial strategy.

UK automation sector returned to growth in 2016

The UK’s industrial automation sector returned to growth in 2016, with a 2.2% improvement on the previous year, according to the latest statistics from the sector’s trade organisation, Gambica. It attributes the growth to the low sterling exchange rate which boosted sales in the second half of the year, and to some relief from the political and economic uncertainty that was thought to be the main cause of the downturn in 2015.

Doug Devlin: the heart of Drives & Controls

It is with deep regret that we announce that Doug Devlin, Drives & Controls’ advertising sales director for more than 30 years, has passed away unexpectedly after a short illness that he contracted while he was on holiday. He was 64.