Drives and Controls Magazine
UK automation sector shrinks by 4.9%, after five years of growth

The UK industrial automation sector shrank by 4.9% in 2015, ending five years of continuous growth, according to figures released by Gambica, the trade body that represents the UK’s control, automation and instrumentation industries. The process instrumentation and control sector suffered an even steeper decline of around 12% in 2015, largely due to the collapse in the price of oil which resulted in many projects being put on hold.

UK engineers unite to offer advice for Brexit negotiators

A group of 38 organisations representing the UK engineering sector have joined forces to offer advice to the Government to help secure the best possible outcome in the negotiations to withdraw the UK from the European Union. They have asked the Royal Academy of Engineering, as a convener of UK engineering with close links to the government, to lead the work.

UK manufacturing hit a five-month high before the Brexit vote

The UK manufacturing sector started to pick up in the first half of 2016 with the PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) reaching a five-month high in June, according to the latest figures from Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). But the survey was conducted before the recent referendum in which the UK decided to leave the European Union.

Rawlings returns to Festo as general manager for the UK

Eliza Rawlings has been appointed general manager of Festo in the UK. The appointment marks a return to Festo for Rawlings who was the company’s national sales manager from 2002 to 2010, after which she was appointed managing director of the cloud services provider, Cloud Direct.

Just 8% of UK manufacturers understand I 4.0

Only 8% of UK manufacturers have a significant understanding of Industry 4.0, despite 59% recognising that it will have a big impact on the sector, according to a new report published by the accountancy and business advisory firm BDO in association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

New HQ doubles size of Plymouth automation firm

Applied Automation (UK) has officially opened its new headquarters in Plymouth, UK, which it moved into last year. The 13,000m2 (140,000ft2) site is more than twice the size of the two factories that it occupied before. The company now employs more than 130 people in Plymouth and at a second site in Cardiff, Wales.

UK manufacturers are not investing to tackle rise in cyber-attacks

Only about half of UK manufacturers have increased their spending on cyber-security in the past two years, despite Government figures showing that 90% of large businesses and 74% of small businesses reported a cyber-security breach last year – an increase on 2014. The average cost of these breaches was £1.46m–£3.14m for large firms, and £75,000–£311,000 for smaller businesses.

New digital factory exhibition will join Drives & Controls Show in 2018

A new exhibition dedicated to digital manufacturing will make its debut alongside the next Drives & Controls Show in 2018. The new event, called Smart Machines and Factories (SM&F), will reflect the changing face of manufacturing and the growing importance of concepts such as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things.

2016 Drives & Controls Show was a record-breaker

Visitor numbers at the cluster of exhibitions, including the Drives & Controls Show, held last month at the NEC set a new record, with a total of 13,115 visitors attending the three-day event. The number who registered to attend the Drives Show was up nearly 30% on the figure for the previous show in 2014.

First motion industry awards attracts an audience of 250

The inaugural UK Motion Control Industry Awards, held in Birmingham during the same week as the Drives & Controls Show, attracted an audience of about 250 people to the National Conference Centre, near the NEC. The awards were produced by Touchwave Media in association with the UK Motion Control Alliance, which consists of the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), the British Fluid Power Distributors Association (BFPDA) and the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS).

Manchester drives repairer wins a Queens Award

The Manchester-based repairer of variable-speed drives (VSDs), Northern Drives & Controls (NDC), has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its growth and commercial success in international trade.

Parsons Peebles adds Taylor & Goodman to its portfolio

The Parsons Peebles Group (PPG) has acquired the Reading-based electromechanical services provider Taylor & Goodman for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition provides PPG with expanded product and service capabilities and a combined network of 13 UK locations.

Germany’s Lammers group buys UK motors firm, Exico

The German motors and drives group Clemens Lammers has acquired the Wellingborough-based motors specialist Exico Electric Motors for an undisclosed sum. Following the acquisition, the Exico name will continue to be used. No changes to personnel, customer or supplier relationships, or computer systems are planned.

German power transmission firm sets up shop in the UK

The German mechanical power transmission specialist Ringfeder has set up a UK operation, located in Warrington, including a warehouse for time-sensitive spare parts. Adrian Birkin has been appointed area manager for the UK – Ringfeder’s second-largest market in Europe. Birkin has more than 20 years of experience, most recently with the belts and hose manufacturer, Pix.

Free consultancy could lead to €150,000 for robots

The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is offering 16 British companies free consultancy in robot technologies, and a chance to win funding worth up to €150,000 for automation projects, under a new EU-funded project called Robott-Net (Robot Technology Transfer Network).