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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.

PM announces electrotechnical apprentice standard

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced an electrotechnical apprenticeship standard as one of 11 sector-based standards that will act as blueprints for new apprenticeships, guided by companies from each sector.

UK manufacturing jobs grow at their fastest for 33 months

Last month, the UK manufacturing sector added jobs at the fastest rate since May 2011. The sector maintained a strong upswing during February, with levels of production and new business continuing to rise at above-trend rates, according to the latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) survey.

Apprenticeships are twice as popular as degrees

More than twice as many young people in the UK are choosing engineering apprenticeships compared to those doing degree courses, an analysis by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has revealed.

‘Spend to save’ scheme will back efficiency projects

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has joined forces with Societe Generale Equipment Finance (SGEF) to provide £50m of finance for energy efficiency projects, with each institution committing £25m to the scheme. The funding will help public and private sector organisations to cut their energy costs and emissions without having to fund the finance upfront.

86% of SMEs in England are planning to invest

A new survey has revealed that 86% of small-to-medium sized manufacturers in England are planning to invest in capital equipment over the coming 12 months, and are planning to spend an average of £121,000. The survey of 864 SMEs ­– the largest number to take part in the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer survey since its launch in 2012 – confirms the findings of a recent CBI survey.

UK robot-maker claims six-month paybacks

A Shrewsbury-based industrial robot manufacturer has launched two models – a turnkey gantry-style robot and an articulated robotic arm – which, it believes, will end the need for manufacturers to use second-hand robots. The launch of the robots follows several years of development by Armstrong UEN, which was founded in 2009.