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Event will look at digitalisation in the food & bev sector

Leading experts on the food and beverage industry have been lined up for a one-day conference next month that will examine the issues involved in bringing digitalisation to the sector. Called Demystifying the jargon: How to make the digitalisation transition, the conference will take place on 22 May at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham.

Wilson moves from ABB to become MD of KUKA UK

Mike Wilson, one of the highest profile advocates of industrial robots in the UK, has been appointed managing director of KUKA UK. Wison was previously ABB Robotics’ business development manager for the UK and Ireland, and has been chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association (Bara) since 1994.

AMTC-Lloyds deal supports SME apprenticeships

The Coventry-based Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre has partnered with Lloyds Bank to offer financial support to recruit and train manufacturing apprentices.

Drives & Controls stays ahead of its rivals

Drives & Controls once again has the largest circulation of any UK magazine in its sector, according to the latest analysis by the independent circulation auditing organisation, ABC. And, for the first time, every one of Drives & Controls’ 18,019 copies are going to readers who have asked individually to receive them.

UK start-up attracts $7.4m to back £4,990 industrial robot

A British robot developer has attracted $7.4m in funding to back the launch of what it describes as the first desktop robot for industrial use. London-based Automata has been working on its six-axis Eva robot since it was founded in 2015, and is now offering the lightweight, user-friendly robotic arms for £4,990 ($6,535) ­– about a quarter of what some mainstream robot manufacturers charge for a similar machine.

UK and Ireland VSD hire fleet has ‘the widest coverage’

ABB has launched a fleet of low-voltage variable-speed drives (VSDs) that are available for hire from locations across the UK and Ireland. It claims that it is offering the widest geographical coverage of any VSD leasing scheme in the UK.

No-deal Brexit would be ‘catastrophic’ for UK manufacturing

Almost half (44%) of all UK manufacturers have taken some form of action to prepare for the UK leaving the European Union, according to a survey of 429 senior decision-makers in UK manufacturing firms conducted by YouGov for Make UK, the new name for EEF. Among larger companies (with more than 250 employees), the figure rises to 70%, and with 47% of them either having adjusted their supply chains or considered doing so.

UK manufacturers' body EEF rebrands itself as Make UK

After representing UK manufacturers for more than 120 years, the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) has relaunched itself under the new name, Make UK. It says that at a time when the country and the industrial sector face an “unparalleled” set of challenges and opportunities ­– including Brexit, digitalisation, automation, artificial intelligence and the emergence of new markets – “it was time for us to adopt a modern name designed to reflect the world-class innovation undertaken by our member companies across the whole of the country.”

First trial of 5G communications in a UK factory goes live

Trials of the first live installation of 5G technologies in a UK factory have begun at Worcester Bosch’s boiler production plant in Worcester. The company will test the ability of the high-speed wireless transmission technology to improve output, and to provide preventative maintenance using IoT sensors and data analytics to predict potential breakdowns.

Midlands company offers robots for hire from £2.70 per hour

A West Midlands company believes it is the first in the UK to offer robots for hire, with prices starting at £2.70 per hour. Halesowen-based Bots Automation has secured an investment of £1m to back its business model which, it says, is already popular in the US.

Scheme offers £4m to help solve productivity problems

Innovate UK has announced that £4m is available for UK companies that want to work with scientists and research organisations to help solve productivity problems and improve industry competitiveness. Businesses are being asked to suggest analysis and measurement problems – for example, why a certain defect rate is occurring in one of their production processes – and the value that solving the problems would bring.

UK axial-flux motor developer signs deal with global OEM

Yasa, the British developer and manufacturer of axial-flux electric motors and controllers, has signed a long-term innovation agreement with an unnamed global automotive OEM. The partnership will focus on developing custom electric motor and controller systems for high-performance hybrid and pure electric vehicles.

Industrial robot sales plunged by 15% in the UK during 2018

The number of new industrial robots sold in the UK plummeted by 15% last year compared to 2017, according to figures released by Bara, the British Automation and Robot Association. The fall follows two years of steady growth. If automotive applications are excluded, 856 industrial robots were sold in the UK last year – 13% fewer than in 2017, when 988 were sold.

Factory in a Box demonstrates smart manufacturing

The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) has developed an industrial-scale demonstrator to show manufacturers how they can benefit by adopting smart production technologies and processes. Called the “Factory in a Box”, the demonstrator has been developed in collaboration with the Universities of Birmingham and Loughborough, and several industrial partners.

Maxon acquires UK geared motor maker Parvalux

The Swiss precision motor and drive specialist maxon motor has acquired the British geared motor manufacturer Parvalux Electric Motors for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition expands maxon’s portfolio into drives for applications including medical technology and industrial automation, among other fields.