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Salford University wins EU funding for £13m robotics centre

The University of Salford has secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the creation of a £13m centre that will house robotics and manufacturing labs, teaching space and an automotive laboratory.

UK manufacturers call for stimulus package to save jobs

Britain’s manufacturers are calling for a national recovery plan, including an immediate stimulus package, to boost investment and help save jobs, on the back of a survey that reveals how output in the sector has plunged to a record low as the full impact of the Coronavirus crisis hit home.

Gambica members are back to working at 75% of full capacity

Members of the Gambica, the trade association which represents companies in the UK’s automation and instrumentation sectors, are now running their operations at about 75% of their full capacity, according to the organisation’s chief executive, Steve Brambley.

UK manufacturers call for equipment scrappage scheme

Make UK, the body that represents UK manufacturers, is calling on the government to introduce a scrappage scheme for old plant, machinery and IT equipment to incentivise cash-strapped firms to invest in automation and digitisation, and to help manufacturers recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Manufacturing is main target for cyber-attackers in the UK

Manufacturing is the sector of the UK economy most commonly attacked by cyber-criminals, according to a new analysis by the global technology services provider, NTT. Last year, almost a third (29%) of all cyber-attacks in the UK were targeted at manufacturers, followed by the technology sector (19%) and business and professional services (17%). Government and finance are the other two sectors in the top five.

Manufacturers welcome PM’s back-to-work message

Make UK, the body that represents UK manufacturers, has “cautiously” welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that the government wants manufacturers which stopped production during the Coronavirus lockdown to return to work - provided their workplaces are safe.

UK manufacturers propose three-point plan for recovery

The British manufacturers’ body, Make UK, has published a three-point plan calling on the Government to give manufacturers time to scale up their operations and recover by extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) in a more flexible form, using part- or short-time working patterns, during the critical rebuilding phase.

Drives & Controls pulls further ahead of its rivals

Drives & Controls has pulled further ahead of other magazines in the sector in the latest analysis by the independent circulation auditing organisation, ABC. For the first time, ABC has audited Drives & Controls’ digital edition, adding 3,515 copies to the 18,028 printed copies for the audited month in 2019, and taking the magazine’s total circulation for that issue to 21,543 .

Lockdown length will determine future of UK machine tools

The latest economic forecast from the MTA (Manufacturing Technologies Association) predicts that the UK market for machine tools will fall by 21% in 2020 before recovering by 23% in 2021. But the MTA warns that its Spring update forecast – produced for it by Oxford Economics (OE) – makes assumptions about the length of the lockdown period and the shape of the subsequent recovery.

CT revamps drives factory to ensure social distancing

The Welsh drives-maker Nidec Control Techniques has reopened its main factory in Newtown after a three-week shutdown during which time the site was reconfigured to comply with social distancing rules. CT president Tony Pickering reports that the plant is now back to around 90% of its pre-shutdown production capacity.

Two UK motor-makers win Queens Innovation Awards

A Surrey-based servomotor manufacturer has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for a range of direct-drive integrated servomotors that combine brushless DC motors, drive electronics, position encoding and software in a compact package, capable of precise, smooth and silent motion. Woking-located Overview’s Servotorq motors are aimed at applications such as surveillance platforms, precision cameras, lasers and military sensor systems.

ECA tax relief scheme for efficient motors and VSDs has ended

The Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) tax scheme designed to encourage the use of energy-efficient technologies, including high-efficiency motors and VSDs (variable-speed drives), has ended, almost 20 years after it was launched.

Magnet-flipping clock wins Young Engineer of the Year award

A first-year student at Imperial College in London has won the 2020 GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year award for his design of a minimalist electromechanical clock in which tells the time using small disc-shaped magnetic “hands” that flip over on a wooden face. Chris Kalogroulis, 18, who is studying design engineering, wanted to create a product which has an aesthetic appeal, but would allow him to apply his mechanical, electronics and programming skills.

70% of Drives & Controls readers are working from home

More than 70% of Drives & Controls’ readers are currently working from home, with almost half of them reporting that they feel they can be 100% productive working this way, according to an online survey conducted by the magazine.

Postponed machine vision conference goes online

Following the postponement of this year’s UKIVA Machine Vision Conference & Exhibition (MVC) until the spring of 2021, the UK Industrial Vision Association is launching a Web site where people registered for the 2020 event will have free access to presentations by speakers who had been due to speak at the event.