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Work starts on £1.5m engineering lab for Welsh drives-maker

The drives-maker Control Techniques has started work on a new £1.5m engineering laboratory at its headquarters in Newtown, Wales. The company will use the 900m2 building to develop new products and technologies.

Motovario aims to double turnover with £650,000 expansion

The Italian gearbox and motors manufacturer Motovario has invested more than £650,000 to expand its UK facilities in Droitwich, Worcestershire. The main aim of the investment – the largest in the history of the company's UK operation – is to create a centre for assembling gearboxes from component parts, thus cutting lead times.

Ritchie takes control of ABB’s automation and motion division

Neil Ritchie has been appointed head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division in the UK, following the retirement of Chris Withey. The division encompasses ABB’s motors, generators, variable-speed drives, motion control, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), solar inverters, power electronics and robotics businesses.

£1m investment will help Leeds plant to build geared motors

Siemens is investing £1m in its UK mechanical drives factory in Leeds, expanding its capabilities to assemble a new range of geared motors and to service rail components. The company says that the investment could lead to the creation of 50 new jobs.

Austrian automation manufacturer sets up shop in the UK

The Austrian automation manufacturer Sigmatek has set up a UK subsidiary to supply and support machine automation systems, mainly to the OEM sector. Russ Kemp, who has more than 25 years experience of the automation sector, has been appointed managing director of the new Sigmatek Automation UK business, located in Nottingham.

UK start-up will produce soft-starts for Hitachi

A British start-up company specialising in energy-saving technologies has signed a deal to produce a range of soft-starters for Hitachi Power Solutions in Japan. Under an initial five-year agreement, Cornwall-based Suresense Technologies will manufacture the soft-starts for Hitachi, which will market them globally under its Prohestar brand.

UK 'could become a leader' in niche robot technologies

A group of experts charged with drawing up a national strategy for robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) in the UK has produced a report arguing that, through a co-ordinated approach and targeted investment, the UK could become a global leader in this area.

UK pledges £72m to support high-value manufacturing

The UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has earmarked £72m to support initiatives in high-value manufacturing as part of its recently-published 2014-15 Delivery Plan, which aims to nurture and develop British entrepreneurial talent.

Deritend sells Preformed Windings to Clyde Blowers

Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC), headquartered in East Kilbride, is buying Sheffield-based Preformed Windings from Deritend Industries for an undisclosed sum. Preformed Windings, which produces coils for traction motors and high-voltage motors and generators, will join CBC’s expanding electric machines group, which also includes the generator and motor manufacturer, Parsons Peebles.

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.