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Manufacturing growth slows slightly in the UK

The seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) for UK manufacturing eased to an eight-month low of 55.3 in March, signalling a further cooling of growth from the peaks achieved towards the end of last year. However, the PMI remains well above its long-term average of 51.4, recording an improvement in operating conditions in each of the past 12 months.

Exhibitors are still signing up for the Drives Show

With less than two weeks to go to the 2014 Drives & Controls Show, exhibitors are still signing up to appear at the event. The latest manufacturers to join the line-up include the sensor-maker ifm electronic, and the small motors specialist Delta Line, whose brands include Portescap and Nanotec.

New team will focus on large drives packages

ABB in the UK has created a team that will offer engineered and medium voltage drives systems based on its machines, transformers, VSDs and lifecycle services. It says that the Drives Solutions Team will provide customers with a single point of contact for optimised and integrated products, cut their project costs, and offer them a single warranty.

Newall may move to Mexico if Schneider sells CST

The activities of Newall, the Leicester, UK-based manufacturer of linear encoders and digital readout systems, could be transferred to Tijuana, Mexico, if Schneider Electric’s planned sale of most of its Custom Sensors and Technologies (CST) business goes ahead.

UK manufacturers think robots are only for large factories

A survey of UK manufacturers has revealed that many believe that robotic automation is not suitable for low-volume or bespoke production processes.

Schoolgirls charge to the front of electric racing

Visitors to the Lafert Electric Motors stand at the Drives & Controls Show in April will be able to see an electric racing car built by girls from Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College. The company is sponsoring teams at the school who are taking part in the IET (Institution of Engineering & Technology) Formula 24 and 24+ battery-powered racing car competitions.

Online calculator shows SMEs how much robots can save

ABB Robotics UK has launched an online calculator to help smaller manufacturers (SMEs) to discover the cost and productivity benefits that can be achieved by using industrial robots. The calculator demonstrates how companies can often recoup their outlay on robots within two years through enhanced levels of performance and competitiveness.

Expert Group buys Tracoinsa to expand beyond £50m

The Coventry–based automation systems specialist Expert Group, has acquired Widnes-based Tracoinsa Systems UK, which produces conveyor systems for the automotive sector. Tracoinsa is the fifth company in the Expert group and is expected to boost the group’s revenues to more than £50m in 2014.

UK manufacturers plan record investment

UK manufacturers are enjoying increasingly strong growth thanks to a combination of strong domestic sales and a boost in overseas trade, according to the latest quarterly survey by EEF, the UK manufacturers’ organisation and BDO, the business adviser and accountancy firm.

Electric dragster that hits 60mph in 1.5s heads for NEC

A world-record-beating electric dragster, that can accelerate from 0–60mph (96.5km/h) in 1.5 seconds, will be a star of the upcoming Drives & Controls Show, taking place in Birmingham, UK, in April. The dragster, called Black Current, will be on display on the Amtecs stand, whose engineers designed, built and race the vehicle.

MTA DG Graham Dewhurst announces his retirement

Graham Dewhurst, director general of the Manufacturing Technologies Association, is to retire in the summer, after running the organisation for seven years. During his tenure, the number of members has grown by a third and the range of industries and type of company that the MTA represents has increased dramatically.

CBI calls for Government action on skills shortage

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) is calling for action to make careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) more attractive and easier to access. In a new report, Engineering our Future, the CBI urges the Government to consider: financing a cut in tuition fees for some Stem courses; developing new training routes for existing workers; and creating a one-year crossover qualification.

Motor-Driven Systems joins D&C Show seminar line-up

A talk describing the technology behind Drayson Racing Technologies’ world-record-breaking electric sportscar is part of a wide-ranging programme of free presentations, seminars and discussion forums that will take place across all three days of next month’s Drives & Controls Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre.

World-record electric sportscar makes tracks for the NEC

A British-built electric sportscar that last year broke the world land speed record for sub-999kg electric vehicles, will be a crowd-puller at the Drives & Controls Show in April. The Drayson Racing Technologies (DRT) EV will be on show on the Carter Bearings stand and the technologies that helped to break the record will be described in a talk at the exhibition’s seminar theatre on Tuesday, 8 April.

Cable announces £129m for nine reshoring projects

The UK business secretary Vince Cable has announced the latest steps the government is taking to help manufacturers to “reshore” – bring production and jobs back to the UK from low-cost countries in the East.