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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.

Axial-flux motor-maker attracts £4.2m to help it expand

An Oxfordshire-based developer of efficient, high-power motors has raised more than 70% of the £5.85m it needs to expand its activities. Saietta develops and manufactures axial-flux motors designed by its chief scientist, Cedric Lynch. The £4.2m raised so far values the company at £24m.

‘World’s smallest servodrive’ maker sets up shop in the UK

The Israeli servodrive and motion controls developer, Elmo Motion Control, has set up a UK operation in the West Midlands, with Gary Busby as managing director. Busby has previously worked for Control Techniques, Omron, ABB, PP Electrical and Applied Automation, among others.

Wood Group pushes into automation by buying CEC for $59m

The Scottish-based Wood Group has pushed further into the industrial automation and controls sector by buying CEC Controls, a US designer and builder of industrial and process control systems, mainly for the automotive industry. Wood is paying of $44m in cash, with a further deferred consideration of $15m payable over the next three years.

Fanuc’s £19m HQ brings UK activities under one roof

Fanuc has brought all of its UK activities – robotics, machine tools and factory automation – together in a purpose-built headquarters in Coventry which has cost more than £19m to build and will employ more than 100 people. The three-storey, 9,940m2 (107,000ft2) facility is four times larger than the company’s previous location, and includes design, manufacturing and training facilities and offices, as well as a showroom area.

Motor control designer chosen as ‘engineer of the year’

Graham Fick, technical director of the Yorkshire-based motor controls manufacturer Zikodrive, has won the “engineer of the year” award at the 2017 Motion Control Industry Awards, held in Birmingham, UK. He won the award for his work designing and developing the company’s ZDBL range of compact, custom-programmed brushless motor controllers.

New body champions UK electrotechnical sector

A new organisation has been created to represent the interests of the UK’s electrotechnical, electronics and firmware sector. The ElecTech Council has its roots in the former Esco (Electronics Systems Community) and is backed by trade bodies including Gambica and Beama, and organisations including the IET and BSI.

Government pledges to invest £1bn in future technologies

UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced plans to invest £1bn over the next four years in cutting-edge technologies that the government believes will create jobs and raise living standards. The funding, from the £23bn Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), will be spent across six key areas, including robotics and AI (artificial intelligence), self-driving vehicles, and manufacturing and materials of the future.

Zettlex and Saco win Queen’s innovation awards

The Cambridge-based sensor-maker Zettlex has won one of 57 innovation awards in this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for its range of accurate position and speed sensors for use in harsh environments. Other winners of innovation awards include Saco (the Smart Actuator Company), located in Malvern Wells, for its high-efficiency, programmable electric actuators, and Bristol-based Third Dimension, for its laser-based GapGun optical measurement device used to control production quality.

£450,000 project will develop robotics for the food industry

Peterborough-based Olympus Automation (OAL) and the University of Lincoln have been awarded a £448,850 grant by Innovate UK and the EPSRC’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems programme to develop robot-based materials-handling systems for food manufacturers. During the one-year project, they will focus on automating the processes of handling, weighing and transporting raw ingredients. The aim is to bring about a step-change in the adoption of robotics and automation in the food and drink industry, and thus to enhance productivity.

Bowman buys Midlands-based John Handley Bearings

The Oxfordshire bearings specialist, Bowman International, has bought Midlands-based John Handley Bearings which sells products from Thomson Industries, Cooper Bearings and NSK Linear. The acquisition gives Bowman a stock-holding facility in the Midlands for its ranges of plain bearings, which include the BowMet, Oillite and Oilless brands.