Drives and Controls Magazine
Raspberry Pi is at the heart of open, all-in-one controller

An Italian IIoT specialist, Sfera Labs, has developed an all-in-one industrial controller that is based on a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and combines the functions of a PLC, industrial server and power management system. Sfera describes the Iono Pi Max as being “disruptive and competitive – offering all of the features of a proprietary and more expensive industrial PLC, but at a much lower price point”.

EU investigates $3.3bn sale of Eaton Hydraulics to Danfoss

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into Eaton’s planned $3.3bn sale of its hydraulics business to Danfoss. The Commission is concerned that the proposed sale, announced earlier this year, may reduce competition in the supply of hydraulic components for mobile machinery.

UK industry cuts spending with no sign of V-shaped recovery

Britain’s manufacturers have slashed investment in a battle to stay afloat, despite improvements in output and orders, according to a survey by the manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK, and business advisory firm BDO.

Cloud-based laser system can align almost any machine

Prüftechnik, a division of Fluke Reliability, has announced a laser alignment system that, it says, exceeds the capabilities of conventional tools, delivering better speed and accuracy. The ShaftAlign Touch system supports adaptive alignment and cloud access to help cut maintenance costs and downtime.

Pneumatic valve system is the first to support wireless

Emerson claims to be offering the first pneumatic valve system that supports wireless commissioning and configuration. A new wireless module for its Aventics G3 electronic fieldbus platform allows users to perform commissioning and diagnostics from a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

Digital twins will speed development of CNC machine tools

The CNC (computer numerical control) specialist NUM has announced a digital twin technology that will allow machine tool manufacturers to cut their time-to-market dramatically, by using powerful simulation techniques.

‘Class-leading’ heavy-lifting robot makes its debut in China

ABB has announced a new industrial robot which, it claims, offers “class-leading lifting ability and reach and path accuracy, in a faster, more compact package”. It unveiled the IRB 1300 robot at the 2020 China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in Shanghai, where it also announced several other automation developments including an inkjet technology that, it says, will paint cars 50% faster than previous techniques, and its vision for the hospital of the future, which includes a robotic pharmacy and a collaborative cell for medical laboratories.

Mitsubishi wins court case against Chinese counterfeiters

A court in China has upheld an earlier ruling that a group of Chinese companies infringed Mitsubishi Electric trademarks by manufacturing and selling “a large quantity” of factory automation equipment including PLCs, AC servodrives and inverters, that carried counterfeit Mitsubishi markings.

Benshaw-AuCom soft-start business will offer more choice

Following the acquisition of the New Zealand soft-start pioneer Aucom by the US motor control specialist Benshaw earlier this year, more details have emerged about how the merged business – described as “the world's largest owner-managed supplier of soft-starters” – will operate.

SiC modules will cut losses by 70% over silicon IGBTs

Mitsubishi Electric has announced a second generation of silicon carbide (SiC) power modules, based on a newly developed SiC chip, that, it predicts, will lead to the development of smaller, lighter, more efficient power electronic equipment in various industrial fields, including variable-speed drives.

Compact VSDs have 180% overload capacities

The Austrian automation manufacturer Sigmatek has announced a family of variable-speed drives for controlling low-voltage asynchronous motors, with ratings from 0.37–132kW in nine sizes. The single-phase (200/240V) or three-phase 380/480V) FDD 3000 drives have overload capacities up to 180%, making them suitable for applications that require a high levels of torque for short periods.

Phoenix licences PLCnext to Yaskawa for next-gen controls

UPDATED: The drives, robotics and mechatronics manufacturer Yaskawa has announced that it plans to use Phoenix Contact’s PLCnext runtime control environment as the basis for its next-generation machine controller and PLC platform. The two companies say they have a shared goal moving away from proprietary systems to offer an open and future-proof ecosystem for industrial automation.

£300m programme aims to transform UK manufacturing

The UK Government is investing £147m in the Manufacturing Made Smarter programme over the coming five years with the aim of boosting productivity by 30%, accelerating the move to net-zero emissions, creating thousands of skilled jobs, and reshaping the future of manufacturing. The government is hoping that a similar investment by industry will achieve a total expenditure of around £300m.

Government injects £65m into robots, batteries and health

The UK government has announced a £65m cash boost for three key technologies that could transform people’s lives – robots, high-tech batteries and advanced healthcare treatments. The funding will come from its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, managed by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).

Autonomous high-bay forklifts are ‘the industry’s first’

US-based AutoGuide Mobile Robots claims to be offering the world's first autonomous mobile robots designed to automate racking and picking operations in high-bay warehouses. The AutoGuide Max-N High Bay counterbalanced forklifts can lift 1,100kg payloads to and from racks up to 11m high, and travel at speeds of up to 1.8m/s.

Free AR smartphone app visualises robotic installations

ABB has announced an AR (augmented reality) app for smartphones and tablets that offers a quick and easy way of visualising where and how robotic automation can fit into production processes. The RobotStudio AR viewer can be used to test models created in ABB’s PC-based RobotStudio programming suite, enabling users to get an idea of the size and scale of a robot or robot cell and how it could be deployed on a factory floor to fit around existing production equipment.

OS transforms cobots into ‘intelligent collaborators’

A Californian start-up has announced an AI-based robotics OS (operating system) that, it claims, will transform collaborative robots (cobots) into intelligent co-workers on manufacturing floors. After two years of r&d – including installations at major automotive manufacturers – Qobotix has unveiled its technology designed to make robots smarter and self-learning.

Despite 19% US spurt, EU still takes 46% of UK's goods exports

The US was the biggest single export market for UK manufacturers in 2019 – with sales expanding by 19% to reach £54.4bn – but almost half of the UK’s exports (46%) went to Europe, with the top six EU markets accounting for around a third of total exports, worth £169bn. The figures come from UK Manufacturing Facts, 2020/21, just published by the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK and Santander UK.

ABB invests $43.5m to upgrade motion and automation r&d

ABB is investing about CHF40m ($43.5m) in new research and development facilities and office space for its Motion and Industrial Automation Business in Turgi, Switzerland. The investment will enable ABB to strengthen its position several high-growth areas and to expand its innovation capabilities.

UK manufacturers call for job support to be extended

Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the Government to extend its Job Retention Scheme (JRS) or risk losing key skills that will leave the UK in the slow lane behind its major competitors as industries recover from the pandemic.

CP Automation acquires Magnetek’s UK elevator business

Scunthorpe-based CP Automation has acquired Bedford-based Magnetek Elevator UK, which supplies AC and DC drives for geared and gearless lift applications. CP says that the deal will establish it as a leading supplier of drives to the vertical transportation industry. 

UK EV motor-maker expands, creating up to 250 jobs

A UK company that manufactures lightweight axial-flux motors for electric vehicles, is expanding its production facilities, creating 150-250 jobs over the next three to five years. Saietta’s plant, at Upper Heyford near Bicester in Oxfordshire, will be powered by solar panels and will be funded by a new investment round.

Oversampling brings greater accuracy to multi-axis servos

Beckhoff has upgraded the firmware in its AX8000 multi-axis servodrives to support oversampling, allowing multiple sampling of process data within one communication cycle, with the data being transferred via EtherCat. With an oversampling factor of up to 128, this allows higher-level controllers to transmit several setpoint positions or speeds to the drive within one cycle, which the drive then follows. In addition, measured variables can be recorded several times in the drive, and the buffered values can be made available to the controller within a single cycle.

Anti-viral coating protects equipment against Covid-19

The Brazilian industrial equipment manufacturer, WEG, has developed an anti-viral coating which, it claims, makes 99.9% of Coronavirus inactive within minutes of the virus making contact with the coated surface. The polyurethane-based coating is designed to protect industrial equipment used in high-risk environments, such as hospitals and laboratories, as well as for use on other types of machinery and on public transport systems.

UK manufacturing output rises at fastest pace since 2014

During August, UK manufacturing output expanded at its fastest rate for more than six years, as manufacturers and their customers restarted operations following Covid-19 lockdowns, according to the latest monthly IHS Markit/CIPS PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index). New order intakes strengthened, but the sector also recorded its seventh month of job losses, with employment declining at one of the steepest rates for 11 years.

Safe servodrives offer ‘the most advanced functions’

Elmo Motion Control has announced a series of miniature servodrives which, it claims, offer “the most advanced servo functionality and functional safety available today”. The Platinum drives are an evolution of Elmo’s Gold line, and the company says they will allow OEMs to manufacture smaller and safer machines, with lower costs and shorter time to market.

Relay monitors power systems remotely for earth faults

Bender has launched an earth leakage relay that can monitor earthed power systems (TN and TT) remotely for earth faults. The RCM410R relay identifies deteriorating insulation resistance, thus identifying developing earth faults at an early stage, allowing planned intervention that maximises safety and system availability for operators and maintenance teams.

Manufacturing recovery will vary by sector and region

A new analysis of how long it will take for global manufacturing to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, suggests that there will be big variations in recovery rates in different sectors of industry and in different regional markets. The study, by Interact Analysis, shows, for example, that the commercial vehicle market and the electrical and electronic equipment sector will both recover much faster than previously thought, while other sectors will suffer longer-term effects.

Routeco reshapes, and signs up Yamaha and Honeywell

The automation and controls distributor Routeco has restructured its branch network to create four customer service centres in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Milton Keynes. It says it has been planning the changes for 18 months and they are not a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It adds that it has retained some of its staff in a “remote working capacity” and has thus “minimised several redundancies”.

SPS automation show will be a virtual event this year

The organisers of the huge German automation show SPS have announced that it will become an virtual, online-only event this year “due to the ongoing travel restrictions and other fundamental changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic”. The show had been due to take place in Nuremberg in the last week of November.

M.2 card is tiniest way to add comms to PC-based systems

Hilscher has launched a PCI Express card that it claims is the smallest way to add real-time communications to industrial PC systems. The new M.2 format card can connect PC-based devices – such industrial PCs, HMIs and robots – to real-time Ethernet and fieldbus networks within a few minutes.

UK industrial software giant Aveva buys OSIsoft for $5bn

The UK industrial software supplier Aveva is buying OSIsoft, the US-based real-time industrial data software and services developer, for $5bn. The two companies will combine their products, bringing together industrial software and data management to help customers accelerate their digital transformation. The merged business will have revenues of around £1.2bn.

'Robotic integrated controller’ eliminates the need for humans

The Japanese automation manufacturer Omron has announced what it describes as “the world’s first robotics integrated controller”, which synchronises various technologies to provide highly automated manufacturing operations that do not rely on humans. It says that the controller will: improve the speed and accuracy of production; simulate production lines without needing to deploy physical equipment; simplify maintenance; and save time in design, planning, commissioning and changeover processes.

AC drives sales will fall by 10% in 2020 and rebound in 2021

The global market for low-voltage AC drives market will fall by more than 10% this year, according to a new report from Interact Analysis. It points out that the drop is not as severe as it was in 2009, adding that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” with strong prospects for a return to growth in 2021.

Cybersecurity firm warns of new automation dangers

The cybersecurity research firm Trend Micro has issued a pair of reports highlighting potential dangers to industrial automation systems posed by vulnerabilities in protocol gateways and programming languages. It says that these flaws could expose automation system to critical attacks that could enable attackers to hijack industrial robots and automation systems to disrupt production or steal intellectual property.

Contour-based navigation needs no markers

The German sensor-maker Sick has announced a contour-based navigation technology for mobile platforms such as AGVs (automated guided vehicles), carts, forklifts and service robots, that allows them to move freely around a factory and warehouse without needing reflectors or other physical markers. The Lidar-Loc (localisation on contour) system guides the vehicles using pre-mapped contours.

Compact robots have 40% larger working envelopes

Kuka has announced a compact industrial robot aimed at production environments with limited space. The KR 4 Agilus arm has a 4kg load capacity and a reach of 600mm – resulting in a work envelope that is almost 40% larger than the previous generation.

IP67 motor controller simplifies roller conveyor installations

The German automation manufacturer Beckhoff has announced a compact motor controller for roller conveyor systems that, it says, will reduce cabling and improve diagnostics. The IP67-protected EP7402 EtherCAT Box can control BLDC (brushless DC) roller motors from any conveyor or motor manufacturer, simplifying control architectures and cabling. It can be used for roller conveyors in intralogistic and assembly applications, as well as in the packaging, food and beverage industries.

Rochdale advanced machinery institute wins £50k funding

Plans to create an Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, have been brought a step closer after securing £50,000 early-stage funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF). The aim of the institute is to drive innovation among advanced machinery manufacturers, and it is predicted to generate around 660 direct and 530 indirect jobs.

SPE sparks initiative to link OT networking expertise

The Ethernet Alliance, a global consortium dedicated to advancing Ethernet technologies, has launched an initiative to bring together people involved in OT (operational technology) networks used in industrial and building automation. The initiative is a response to the development of the Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE) cabling technology.

SIL overspeed protection system is 'game-changing'

A Dutch specialist in speed-sensing technologies has announced a “game-changing” overspeed protection system that, it says, will broaden the range of rotating machinery that is suitable for high-integrity overspeed protection, as well as satisfying the growing demand for SIL-certified systems. Istec, which has 50 years’ experience of this market, adds that its SpeedSys 200 system takes scalability “to a new level” to bridge the gap between what can and cannot be protected.

Acquisition leads to a new generation of box PCs and thin clients

Rockwell Automation has announced a new generation of box PCs and thin clients incorporating designs and technologies from the Italian manufacturer Asem, that it bought earlier this year. The Allen-Bradley VersaView 6300 PCs include palm-sized industrial computers – Rockwell’s smallest to date – allowing users to save panel space and cut costs.

Next-generation cycloidal gearboxes ‘open a new chapter’

The Japanese-headquartered precision gearbox manufacturer Nabtesco has announced a new generation of enclosed, modular servo gearboxes which, it says, open “a new chapter in the field of cycloidal gears”. The Neco gears, available only in Europe, have a hysteresis loss of just 0.5 arc-min, and are attached to a motor shaft using a radial clamping ring that reduces inertia by up to 39%, resulting in highly dynamic performance.

AGV is the ‘first’ to use vision-based navigation

Nidec-Shimpo has announced what it claims is the first AGV (automatic guided vehicle) to use vision-based navigation. It says that its S-Cart-V AGV can be used not only in factories and warehouses, but also in changing environments such as commercial facilities or the service industry where there are people walking around and obstacles may appear or disappear suddenly.

UK’s SME manufacturers report record falls in output

In the three months to July, output volumes from SME manufacturers in the UK fell at the fastest rate on record, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s latest quarterly SME Trends Survey. The survey of 331 SME manufacturers found that new orders – both domestic and export – also declined at the quickest pace since the CBI started the surveys in October 1988.

EU manufacturing expands for the first time in 17 months

The Eurozone manufacturing economy recorded its first growth in 17 months during July with output and demand recovering as Covid-19 restrictions eased further. After accounting for seasonality, the IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) registered 51.8, up from 47.4 in the previous month – a figure higher than 50 indicates a move into positive territory.

UK manufacturing output hit a 32-month high in July

Output from the UK manufacturing sector hit a 32-month high during July, supported by the sharpest rise in new order volumes since the end of 2018, according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Business sentiment also recovered to its highest level in 28 months.

3D tool allows machine-builders to test controls virtually

The Canadian software developer Maplesoft has released a tool that connects directly in real time to most common automation platforms, giving machine-builders simulation-based debugging and 3D visualisation capabilities, and allowing them to perform simulated testing of their controllers. MapleSim Insight shows them how different control strategies will affect their machines, allowing them to adjust and fine-tune their designs virtually, and cutting the number of costly physical prototypes they will need.

Precision 3D robotic inspection makes QC ten times faster

ABB has developed a 3D quality inspection robot cell that can spot defects that are less than half as wide as a human hair and imperceptible to the naked eye. It says that 3DQI cell will accelerate production dramatically by providing fast, accurate testing that simplifies metrology and saves time.

Compact VSD cuts CO2 refrigeration costs by up to 25%

The Welsh drives-maker Invertek Drives has announced a high-performance variable-speed drive (VSD) which, it claims, can cut the energy used by CO2 refrigerant condensing systems by up to 25%. The Optidrive Coolvert drive allows OEMs to optimise the performance and lower the energy costs of brushless DC compressors used in heat pumps and condensers.

Rockwell restructures to simplify operations and boost growth

Rockwell Automation is restructuring its business to simplify its operations and accelerate profitable growth. Announcing this as part of the company’s third-quarter results – which revealed a 16.3% drop in sales compared to 2019 – chairman and CEO Blake Moret said that the new structure “better aligns us with the evolving needs of our customers”.

Foresight Williams doubles investment in UK cobot start-up

The Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund is investing a further £1.45m in the UK collaborative robotics start-up Inovo Robotics to accelerate its growth and help it expand internationally. The fund initially invested £1.5m in Inovo in 2018 to help get its first product to market.

Move to greener manufacturing, ‘could create up to 1m jobs’

If the UK transitions to “green” manufacturing, it could add £8–20bn to GDP and create up to 1 million jobs, according to a new report from the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) that examines decarbonisation as a growth strategy for UK manufacturing.

Covid-19 accelerates launch of ‘robotic employees’

A Japanese-Israeli robotics joint venture that was created late last year before the Coronavirus pandemic had taken hold globally, has announced its first commercial products, claiming that the Covid-19 has made its concept of “robotic workforces” even more relevant in the age of social distancing.

1,500kg capacity mobile robots can replace forklifts

Omron has announced a mobile robot with a payload capacity of up to 1,500kg, capable of carrying large components such as car bodies and pallets that would traditionally have needed forklifts to move. The HD-1500 robot’s on-board battery can recharge in 36 minutes and can handle a full shift on a full load, thus reducing downtime.

App will help 100,000 Siemens employees to return safely to work

100,000 Siemens employees working at 600 locations in 30 countries are getting access to an app that combines location, usage and smart building data with their own personal requirements to ensure that they can return safely to their workplaces following the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Most efficient’ motor maker aims to end energy waste

A Californian company which claims to have developed “the world's most efficient and intelligent electric motor system”, has renamed itself as part of its aim to eliminate the 25% of global electricity consumption that is wasted by legacy motors, thus accelerating the world’s transition from fossil fuels.

EU project doubles reading range of any magnetic encoder

The German magnetic measurements specialist Bogen Electronic has announced a technology that, it says, will double the reading distance of any magnetic encoder.

20 years on, gateways reach their second generation

HMS Networks has announced a second generation of its Anybus Communicator gateway family for connecting devices and machines to industrial networks, almost 20 years after the first generation was released. Millions of devices and machines now rely on Communicators for network connections in a wide range of industrial applications. The two generations will co-exist with separate lifecycle plans.

5G private wireless networking will transform industry

Nokia has launched what it claims are the first commercial standalone (SA) 5G private wireless networking systems for industrial and manufacturing applications. It says the systems represent “the most comprehensive end-to-end portfolio of high-performance 4.9G/LTE and 5G private wireless networking solutions” available.

Government gives the go-ahead for UK trade shows to restart

The UK government has given the green light for trade exhibitions to start again from October this year. One of the first events to be held will be the cluster of nine manufacturing exhibitions, including the Drives & Controls Show and Smart Industry Expo, taking at place at the Birmingham NEC next January.

SIL 3 safety controller will cut costs and boost productivity

Rockwell Automation has expanded its family of safety controllers by adding a new device that brings the performance and cost-saving benefits of its Allen-Bradley Compact GuardLogix 5380 controllers to safety applications. Engineers can now scale applications up to and including SIL 3/PLe with 1oo2 architecture.

Platform-independent measurement software is ‘the first’

A German measurement technology specialist Delphin Technology has come up with a software product that, it claims, for the first time combines measurement technology functions with platform independence. The ProfiSignal 20 software allows data analyses and process visualisations to be viewed on smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs.

AGVs move Porsche’s Taycan EVs through multi-level plant

The German car-maker Porsche has commissioned a new line to produce its first fully-electric car, the Taycan, at its space-constrained site in Stuttgart, in just 4½ months, without disrupting the production of sportscars at the same site. Instead of traditional conveyor systems, the multilevel production line uses AGVs (automated guided vehicles) to move the vehicles from one assembly station to the next.

AI-based defect detection works like human inspectors

Omron has announced a “defect detection” machine vision system which, it claims, is the first that can identify defects without learning samples. The system uses AI (artificial intelligence) technology to replicate the techniques of skilled inspectors to detect defects that were previously difficult to spot, thus automating visual inspections.

UK manufacturers say six-month furlough extension is vital

Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the Government to extend the Job Retention Scheme for strategic industry sectors by six months to avoid losing highly skilled job losses in manufacturing on a scale not seen since the 1980s. It argues that these sectors are of critical importance to the long-term health of the UK economy and their protection is an investment in the country’s industrial future.

Bonfiglioli merges two UK businesses at new Warrington site

Bonfiglioli Group has merged its UK operations previously located in Warrington and Redditch to create a new 26,000ft2 (2,416m2) facility in Calver Quay, Warrington. The company says that the move will give it more space, improved logistics, upgraded IT systems with enhanced security, and improved customer service.

Ultracapacitors save braking energy to fend off power cuts

Siemens has announced a range of ultracapacitor modules designed to recover and store braking energy from machines to avoid peak loads and ensure that the machines continue to operate during power outages. The DLC UltraCap modules can store energy for machinery such as handling systems, robotics, machine tools, metal-forming technologies, and wood, glass and plastic processing systems.

Outdoor plastics enclosures ‘redefine’ the technology

The German enclosure-maker Rittal claims that it is “completely redefining” plastic enclosure technology with a new family of enclosures designed to protect electrical components even in harsh outdoor environments. The new AX enclosures – which replace the previous KS series – incorporate new mounting functions said to make rapid expansion possible and to provide more scope for installations using smart technologies. For the first time, says Rittal, they will transform plastic housings into enclosure systems, with enhanced scope for interior installation.

Real-time location system helps ensure safe plant distancing

Siemens has developed a combination of hardware and software that can monitor where people and items are located in a plant, thus helping to ensure social distancing as well as improving productivity. The Simatic Real-time Locating Systems (RTLS) uses a built-in digital twin to simulate the safety of employees, to test and optimise the set-up of work areas, and to validate safety measures.

Competitions offer up to £1.5m of funding for supply-chain ideas

The UK government has launched two funding competitions to help British businesses develop world-leading digital technologies to improve manufacturing supply chain productivity and resilience, thus boosting the recovery from Covid-19. Business-led consortia will be able to apply for up to £1.5m of funding for projects designed to transform supply chains, and to help make the UK’s manufacturing sector more efficient, flexible and resilient.

Ford installs first private 5G network at a UK automotive site

The car-maker Ford is installing what is thought to be first private 5G network at an automotive site in the UK. The installation, partly funded by the UK Government, will replace older WiFi networks at Ford’s new E:PriME (Electrified Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering) facility in Dunton, Essex. The 5G technology will be used to improve the connectivity of welding processes used to manufacture batteries and motors for electric vehicles.

PPMA packaging exhibition is postponed to 2021

One of the few industrial trade shows still scheduled to be held in 2020, the PPMA packaging and processing event, has been postponed for a year until September 2021. The exhibition, which had been due to take place at the Birmingham NEC from 29 September to 1 October this year, will now take place from 28-30 September, 2021, at the same venue.

Ball-balancing mobile robot carries flexible pneumatic ‘hand’

The German pneumatics and automation technology manufacturer Festo has unveiled a mobile robot that moves by balancing on a ball, and carries a human-like pneumatic “hand” that can identify items and handle them delicately.

SME manufacturers urge Boris Johnson to avoid no-deal Brexit

More than 100 UK SME manufacturers and organisations representing them have written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, warning him that a no-deal or bad-deal Brexit would be “hugely damaging” to the UK economy, especially at a time when businesses are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. They are calling on him to secure the best possible trading arrangements to fight the pandemic and secure an economic recovery.

UK manufacturing stabilises in June and output edges higher

The UK manufacturing sector showed signs of stabilising in June, following the recent steep downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index. The seasonally adjusted PMI rose to 50.1 in June, up from 40.7 in May, indicating a stabilisation (not a marked improvement) in operating conditions, while output edged back into growth as factories restarted, lockdown restrictions were loosened and staff returned to work.