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Hima buys UK’s Sella Controls and plans to expand the business

The German safety-related automation specialist, the Hima Group, has acquired the UK systems integrator Sella Controls with effect from 1 February 2023. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Government launches £6m automation funding competition

Innovate UK has launched a competition offering a total of up to £6m in funding for late-stage robotics and automation innovation projects in the UK aimed at boosting productivity, sustainability and resilience in manufacturing processes. The funding will cover up to half of the costs of successful projects costing between £200,000 and £4m, lasting 9–15 months, and starting between October 2023 and December 2024.

Infinite Electronics buys UK connector-maker Bulgin

US-based Infinite Electronics has bought Bulgin, the UK developer and manufacturer of connectors and related components for harsh environments, from the private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe, which itself acquired the business from Elektron Technology in 2019. Details of the deal have not been revealed.

Applied Automation is appointed sales partner for Danfoss Drives

Danfoss Drives has appointed Applied Automation (UK) as a sales partner for South Wales and the South West of England. The arrangement covers Danfoss’ VLT and Vacon drive ranges.

Made Smarter has supported more than 250 manufacturers

The Made Smarter initiative, launched in 2019 to help SME manufacturers to digitalise, decarbonise and drive growth, has now backed more than 250 manufacturers with investments. It has funded a total of 275 projects with £18m of backing, including £5m from government-funded and industry-led initiatives, and £13m from the businesses themselves.

RS introduces subscription charges for DesignSpark

RS Group has introduced two levels of paid subscriptions for its DesignSpark suite of design tools which have previously been free and have helped build a global online community of 1.3 million members. A “DesignSpark Explorer” level will continue to be free, but it will be joined by “Creator” and “Engineer” levels adding extra functions and costing £9.99 and £14.99 respectively per month.

ABB sells UK technical consultancy to TÜV Rheinland

ABB is selling its UK technical engineering consultancy business, part of its Energy Industries division, to TÜV Rheinland. The terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Schneider’s Leeds plant gets a smart factory upgrade

Schneider Electric has upgraded its site in Leeds where it makes low- and medium-voltage products to transform it into a smart factory. As part of the multi-million-pound upgrade, a new assembly line, test cell and wiring loom machine have been commissioned. The site now has extensive digital capabilities. Together, these have resulted in a 10% increase in output, a 15% reduction in energy consumption, and improved operating efficiencies and customer service levels.

Free event will update you on the latest automation tech

The Talking Industry series of Webinars is joining forces with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to organise a free one-day event including panel discussions, workshops and an exhibition covering topics such as robotics, automation, digital manufacturing and artificial intelligence.

New UK automation show attracts big-name backers

Automation UK, the new exhibition launched in 2022 by a group of trade groups including Bara (the British Automation & Robot Association) and Ukiva (the UK Industrial Vision Association), will make its debut at the CBS Arena in Coventry from 20–21 June 2023.

Free UK service tests robot applications before order is placed

The engineering plastics specialist igus is expanding increasingly into low-cost robotics, and has launched a service to test proposed robot applications for UK customers free of charge, before they order any equipment. The Test Before Invest service is based on one that has been running at igus’ headquarters in Germany for several years.

Celebrities back drive to tackle £1.5bn skills shortage

More than 150 engineering leaders and celebrities – including Carol Vorderman and will.i.am – have endorsed a report calling on the Government to help tackle the UK’s engineering skills shortage by embedding engineering into primary and secondary school curriculums. They have written an open letter to the Prime Minster saying that the Government needs “to invest in our children, who will be our engineering innovators of the future”.

£6m project aims for world-beating motor production processes

A group of UK engineering companies have embarked on a £6m Government-backed project to develop a process for manufacturing electric motors that, they say, will be more cost-competitive, powerful and efficient than many alternatives.

Ford invests £380m in Halewood to make EV drivetrains

Ford has announced that is investing a further £125m to produce drivetrains for electric vehicles at its Halewood plant on Merseyside. The new investment takes the total being spent to transform Halewood to an EV component plant to almost £380m and will boost its drivetrain production capacity from 250,000 to 420,000 a year. It also means that 70% of the 600,000 EVs that Ford hopes to sell in Europe annually by 2026, will be powered by the Halewood-produced technologies.

Repair of 51-tonne compressor motors wins AEMT award

A project that helped to safeguard the UK’s energy supplies by repairing two critical Ex-rated 16MW motors, each weighing 51 tonnes, has been chosen as project of the year in the annual AEMT awards, which were presented recently at a ceremony in Coventry.