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Official figures reveal a 1.3% drop in UK factory output

Output from British factories fell by 1.3% in May – its biggest drop since January 2013 – according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Output for the year to May 2014 was up by 3.7%, compared to 4.3% in April.

Fixed-price service will repair VSDs, whatever their state

Schneider Electric has introduced a fixed-price repair service for variable speed drives (VSDs) in the UK, offering users a choice of standard, express or “no fault found” services. The fixed-price services mean that VSD users will know all of the costs involved before sending their products for repair, rather than having to wait for a quote. The prices will be fixed regardless of the condition of the failed drive – something that Schneider claims is unique in the industry.

Many UK managers are still below pre-recession pay levels

Despite the upswing in the economy, pay levels for a fifth of senior managers in the UK manufacturing sector still haven’t returned to pre-recession levels.

New MDs take the helm at DC drives-maker, Sprint

The British DC drives manufacturer, Sprint Electric, has appointed two new joint managing directors, Dr Mark Gardiner and Gary Keen, to succeed the former MDs, Edwin Prescott and Dr Aris Potamianos, who will continue to act as technical advisors on a part-time basis.

VSD recycling scheme passes the 100-tonne mark

ABB reports that it has recycled 100 tonnes of old variable-speed drives, since it started a recycling scheme in the UK in 2003. The proportion of materials that it recycles has risen from 90% of the weight of the drive at the start of the scheme, to 97% today.

£30m fund aims to boost the supply of UK engineers

The UK government has announced a £30m fund to boost the supply of engineers, to encourage more women into engineering, and to address engineering skills shortages in smaller companies. The fund is intended to help engineering companies to establish training programmes to develop future engineers, as well as raising the number of women in the profession.

Siemens appoints Jürgen Maier as its new UK CEO

Jürgen Maier has been appointed chief executive officer of Siemens in the UK with effect from July 1, 2014, succeeding Roland Aurich who is retiring from Siemens after working for the company for more than 28 years. Maier is currently a member of the Siemens UK executive management board, and managing director of Siemens Industry in the UK.

UK manufacturers raise their growth forecasts

Britain’s manufacturers have raised their forecast for growth during 2014 from 2.7% to 3.6% on the back of continued buoyant conditions, according to the latest quarterly survey published by the manufacturers’ organisation, EEF, and the accountancy firm, BDO. This is significantly ahead of the rest of the economy, despite GDP growth being upgraded from 2.6% to 3%.

MTA appoints James Selka as its new CEO to succeed Dewhurst

The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) has appointed James Selka to be its new chief executive officer, succeeding Graham Dewhurst who is retiring after seven years in the post.

IET members can now become Chartered Managers

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has formed a partnership with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) enabling it to award Chartered Manager status to its members.

Siemens appoints Peters to be MD of UK drives plant

Siemens has appointed Andrew Peters to be the new managing director of its drives manufacturing plant in Congleton, Cheshire, succeeding Finbarr Dowling, who is going to be the project director for Siemens’ new wind turbine manufacturing facilities at Green Port in Hull, and Paull in Yorkshire.

Drives and motion training is centred in Bristol

ABB has moved its UK variable-speed drive training activities to its Bristol site where a new training and conference centre will combine drives training for UK customers with motion control courses for global customers. ABB staff will also be trained at the site.

Chinese drives-maker funds r&d centre at UK university

A Chinese manufacturer of drives and power converters is funding the creation of a new technology centre at the University of Nottingham in the UK, which will develop a new generation of industrial drives. The Chinese company, Shen Zhen Nowforever Technology (SNF), has pledged initial funding of around £1.2m over the next five years.

PPMA names Andrew Stark as its new chief operating officer

The PPMA Group, which represents the UK’s processing and packaging industry, has appointed Andrew Stark as its new chief operating officer. Stark has a sales and marketing background and has spent the past nine years in the processing and packaging industry working for Multivac in several different roles. Earlier, he worked in IT and outsourced professional services in London’s Docklands.

Drives & Controls Show sets a new attendance record

The Drives & Controls Show and the cluster of allied events held at the Birmingham NEC last week, set new attendance records – despite a major accident closing the nearby M6 motorway for the whole of the first day of the show and preventing many potential visitors from reaching the NEC.