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Industry 4.0 ‘is inevitable, but the UK could be left behind’

Britain is on the cusp of a technology-driven fourth industrial revolution, with eight in ten manufacturers (80%) saying it will become a business reality by 2025. However 58% fear that the UK is in danger of being left behind.

£2m EC motor plant opens for business in Swindon

Torin-Sifan, which manufactures energy-efficient fan technologies for the European air movement industry, has opened a new UK factory dedicated to producing EC (electronically commutated) motors, fans and blower products. It has invested more than £2m in the new plant in Swindon, and has created 25 new jobs at the site, which will employ a total of around 90 people.

Plan aims to boost output and cut energy bills

ABB in the UK has announced a scheme that offers step-by-step help to enhance the performance of motor-driven applications using variable-speed drives (VSDs) and high-efficiency motors. The ten-stage Energy Efficiency and Productivity Improvement Plan takes into account the often-overlooked productivity benefits that VSDs can bring.

‘Game-changing’ best-practice training opens up to SMEs

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, is launching a version of its “lean academy” that will allow mid-sized companies and SMEs to learn “game-changing” methods to boost their efficiency and growth at a relatively low cost. Until now the best-practice training system has been available only to larger organisations.

£1m investment doubles automation firm’s office space

HMK Automation & Drives, which claims to be the UK’s largest independent supplier of motion products, has completed a £1m refurbishment of its head office in Congleton, Cheshire, including a new 7,000ft2 (650m2) logistics centre that has more than doubled the company’s office space.

What does the MEPS legislation mean for IE2 motors?

ABB in the UK has issued a clarification of how the recent European minimum energy performance standard (EU MEPS) will affect users of IE2 efficiency motors.

Eaton acquires UK hazardous area technology producer

Eaton has acquired the UK-based Oxalis Group, which manufactures electrical products for the hazardous area, marine, and industrial communications markets. Details of the deal have not been disclosed.

UK engineering is ‘facing a cliff edge’

UK engineering companies need 182,000 people with engineering skills to enter the market every year until 2022 – but there is currently an annual shortfall of 55,000 – according to a new report from EngineeringUK, the independent organisation that promotes engineering in the UK. It says that if enough skilled people were available, engineering could generate an extra £27bn per year for the UK economy from 2022 –­ the equivalent of building 1,800 schools or 110 hospitals.

Okkonen succeeds Takhar as MD of Vacon UK

Timo Okkonen has been appointed managing director of Vacon UK, succeeding Stephen Takhar, who is stepping down after running the business for more than 15 years. Takhar will remain with the AC drives company, with responsibilities in sales and marketing and to help ensure a smooth transition.

Automation suppliers join forces to explain Industry 4.0

A group of leading UK-based automation companies – including B&R Automation, igus, Kiesling, Omron, Phoenix Contact, Schneider Electric and Weidmuller – are joining forces to explain Industry 4.0 and its implications at an event at Leicester’s National Space Centre on 28 January. The event has been organised by Eplan, which will also be launching a knowledge-based programme for optimising engineering efficiency, called Eplan Experience, which made its debut at the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany.

Rockwell appoints Dennison to run sales in UK and Ireland

Rockwell Automation has announced the appointment of Bill Dennison as its new sales director for UK and Ireland. He has previously held senior positions in Honeywell International (in both EMEA and global roles), as well working for several specialist software companies in the process, oil and gas markets.

Timken buys split bearing maker Revolvo from Eriks

The US bearing manufacturer Timken is buying the assets of the UK-based bearing manufacturer Revolvo from the Dutch group Eriks, which acquired the business when it bought Wyko in 2006. Revolvo, located in Dudley, West Midlands, specialises in manufacturing split roller bearings (SRBs) for applications in process and heavy industries. In 2013, it posted sales worth around $8.3m. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Linear motion specialist acquires UK automation firm

The UK-based linear motion specialist Hepcomotion has acquired the automation specialist, Severn Automation, located in Telford, Shropshire. The new business will trade as HepcoAutomation, and will keep Severn’s existing staff and premises. No details of the transaction have been revealed.

Fan technology specialist opens EC motor plant

The fan technology manufacturer Torin-Sifan has opened a centre of excellence dedicated to designing, developing and producing high-efficiency EC (electronically commutated) motors and fans. The company has created 25 new jobs at the 2,320m2 (25,000ft2) facility, mainly in advanced and applications engineering for its EC products.

Machine-builders 'need to be wary of wireless'

The product compliance specialist TÜV SÜD is warning machine-builders who use wireless modules in their products, that they may be selling non-compliant equipment.