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Invertek launches recruitment drive as sales hit a record

The Welsh drives-maker Invertek has launched a recruitment drive following a double-digit increase in sales during 2020, and record figures for the first quarter of 2021. The company – which was acquired by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in 2019 – is planning to expand its innovation and manufacturing departments.

Super-deduction tax spurs manufacturers’ spending plans

Almost a quarter (22.6%) of UK manufacturers are planning to boost their investments as a direct response to the “super-deduction” tax that chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his recent Budget, with more than a quarter (28.1%) more saying they will bring forward their investment plans. But, according to a new survey by the manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK, just under half of companies (48.6%) do not expect to make any changes to their investment plans as a result of the new tax, or say that their plans are too rigid to change.

UK-developed EV motors are ‘world’s most sustainable’

A British start-up motor developer has announced what it claims are the world’s most sustainable motors for electric vehicles (EVs). Advanced Electric Machines’ motors contain no rare-earth magnets or copper windings. It says they offer all of the performance and efficiency benefits and permanent magnet motors, without their environmental drawbacks.

UK manufacturing index hits a ten-year high in March

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for UK manufacturing hit 58.9 in March – its highest level since February 2011. The month was also marked by improved growth of output, new orders and employment – and by longer supplier lead times. Manufacturing output increased for the tenth month in a row and at the fastest rate since November 2020.

Work starts on robot centres in Edinburgh and Salford

Construction has started on a research facility for robotics and artificial intelligence in Edinburgh that will be the largest and most advanced of its type in the UK.

£28.5m initiative aims to keep UK ahead in drive tech

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is investing £28.5m in nine facilities across the UK aimed at building a competitive drive and motor supply chain across sectors including industrial, transport and energy. The programme, part of the Driving the Electric Revolution initiative, will build on existing capabilities and fill gaps in the UK’s current capabilities in PEMD (power electronics, machines and drives) technologies. The facilities are due to start operating later this year.

HVM Catapult leads project to tackle the UK’s skills gap

The UK Department for Education has appointed the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult) to lead a project to develop high-quality modular courses aimed at upskilling employees to help address skills gaps in sectors such as manufacturing and engineering.

Make UK raises growth forecast from 2.7% to 3.9%

Make UK, the organisation that represents UK manufacturers, has upgraded its 2021 growth forecast for the sector from 2.7% to 3.9%, following a survey that shows output increased in the past quarter following three quarters of shrinkage.

Brexit has raised costs for more than half of UK manufacturers

Brexit has increased costs for 51% of UK manufacturers, with 35% saying they have lost revenue and one in five that they have lost potential business due to Brexit, according to a new survey by the manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK. The study reveals that 74% of the companies quizzed have experienced delays since the UK ended its transition period for leaving the European Union on 1 January, with 28% experiencing hold-ups of 1–2 weeks because of goods stuck in transit and other delays.

Williams upgrades wind tunnel controls in new partnership

B&R Industrial Automation is supplying the Formula 1 competitor Williams Racing with improved controls for its wind tunnel facility under a new technology and innovation partnership signed by the two companies.

Government’s £8m will help up to 1,000 SMEs to go digital

The UK Government has earmarked £8m in funding to expand the Made Smarter manufacturing technology support programme, rolling it out from the pilot project in North West England, to help up to 1,000 SME manufacturers in the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, and the West Midlands to adopt digital technologies such as robotics and automation.

Robots slash magnet placing times from one hour to 55s

UK engineers have used robots to cut the time it takes to place powerful magnets in electrical generators from one hour to just 55 seconds. The development work was done by automation experts at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) as part of a project called Robomag.

MTC trial will allow manufacturers to explore benefits of 5G

The Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre is to trial a private 5G network aimed at helping manufacturers to boost their productivity. The network will be installed at the MTC's Ansty Park site and will allow manufacturers of all sizes to explore the potential benefits of multi-edge computing and wireless connections for digital manufacturing and robotics. A live 5G-connected robotics demonstrator is planned for later this year.

Sales fall for a third of UK manufacturers in the latest lockdown

More than a third of UK manufacturers have seen sales and orders drop since the start of the latest lockdown, according to a new survey by the manufacturers’ association, Make UK. A similar proportion (36.7%) think it will take between 6–12 months for normal trading to return, while 28.9% believe it will take a year or longer. A quarter of the 186 companies surveyed (25.4%) report that they are currently operating at full capacity, while half expect to have recovered to that position by the start of 2022.

Cheshire plant builds conveyor drives for the global market

Siemens’ UK drives factory in Congleton, Cheshire, has started to produce a new distributed drive system targeting the global conveyor market. The G115D inverter, announced late last year, is being produced in wall- and motor-mounting versions which users can specify via an online configurator, along with matching motors and gearboxes, to tailor the drives for their applications.