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Chinese firm buys UK’s Trio Motion for £15.5m

The Chinese automation and robotics manufacturer Estun Automation has bought the long-established British motion control specialist Trio Motion Technology for £15.5m in cash.

UK automation firms see no benefits from moving to WTO rules

A survey of 83 member companies of the UK automation trade body Gambica and the electrical trade body Beama, has revealed that they have an almost entirely negative view of the prospects of adopting WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules for future trading between the UK and the European Union.

ABB picks Melling to run UK drives and controls business

ABB has appointed Stuart Melling to lead its variable-speed drives and controls business in the UK following the promotion of Neil Ritchie to a role in global service management.

Mclennan takes on stepper drives after SmartDrive enters liquidation

The Cambridgeshire motion control specialist SmartDrive has gone into liquidation after more than 30 years of business. The rights to its stepper drive designs have been acquired by Surrey-based Mclennan.

Invertek sells its millionth VSD and prepares to expand

The Welsh drives-maker Invertek Drives has achieved the milestone of selling more than one million variable-frequency drives worldwide since its was founded in 1998 by a group of former Control Techniques employees. The company is currently producing more than 160,000 drives per year at its headquarters in Welshpool, with output growing by more than 20% each year.

VSD service will predict future maintenance needs

ABB has announced a new service which will analyse the operating conditions of its installed drives to predict their future maintenance needs and to optimise their operation. Engineers will analyse the performance and condition of drives on-site and provide detailed diagnostics and maintenance recommendations for the user.

Plymouth machine-builder expands after move to new site

Plymouth-based Applied Automation is expanding its machine-building division, creating ten new posts, including two managers and eight mechanical and controls fitters, taking its total number of employees to 160.

UK to invest £147m in six advanced manufacturing hubs

Six UK universities are to receive £60m of government funding to help establish research hubs aimed at improving manufacturing processes. A further £87.5m will be contributed by partners, academia and industry.

UK manufacturers ‘aren't ready for new industrial revolution’

More than four in ten UK manufacturers (42%) say they have a good handle on what the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) will entail. But according to a new report from the manufacturers’ organisation, EEF, and Oracle, just one in ten (11%) believe that the UK is geared up for this crucial next industrial age. This suggests that in terms of being ‘4IR ready’, there is still some way to go.

Private equity firm buys troubled Brammer for £221.5m

The industrial distributor Brammer has been bought by the private equity firm Advent International for £221.5m. The deal follows a turbulent period for the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) distributor, whose share value halved after it issued a profit warning in October. Brammer’s shares have plummeted in value by 80% since hitting a 16-year high in June 2014. 

Engineers warn that Brexit must not limit access to EU skills

An alliance of engineering organisations representing more than 450,000 UK engineers, has published a report warning that Brexit must not restrict access to the engineering skills from across Europe.

Dyson will pay students while they study for BEng degree

Sir James Dyson is investing £15m to set up a Dyson Institute of Technology in Wiltshire, which will train engineers to help double his engineering workforce to 6,000 by 2020. He has joined forces with the Warwick Manufacturing Group, at the University of Warwick, to develop a bespoke four-year Bachelor of Engineering degree. Students will spend part of their time working alongside Dyson engineers and will be paid. They will not pany any tuition fees.

UK engineering firms: graduates don't have the right skills

Engineering graduates don’t have the right skills for today’s workplace, according to 62% of the 400 engineering employers across the UK quizzed by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for its 2016 Skills and Demand in Industry report.

Bottomley succeeds Nicholl as Rockwell’s UK sales director

Rockwell Automation has appointed Mark Bottomley as its new UK sales director, succeeding Dave Nicholl, who has become CEO of Philips Lighting for the UK and Ireland. Bottomley will be responsible for overseeing the continued growth of Rockwell Automation products, solutions and services in the UK, and for leading the expansion of Connected Enterprise principles and solutions.

Midlands controls manufacturer invests £1m to expand

The West Midlands industrial controls and sub-contracting manufacturer, PP Control & Automation, is investing more than £1m in a new extension that will add 1,000m2 of production space to its Cheslyn Hay site, including a new logistics department and a clean assembly area.