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Andy Pye joins Drives & Controls as consultant editor

We are pleased to announce that Andy Pye has joined Drives & Controls in the role of consultant editor. He will also be working on two other magazines published by DFA Media: Smart Machines & Factories and Plant & Works Engineering.

Drives & Controls Show is postponed until January 2021

DFA Media, organiser of Drives & Controls Exhibition and the other shows that were due to take place at the Birmingham NEC in April, has decided to postpone the events because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

MTA moves Mach to 2021 in response to Coronavirus

The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), which owns and runs the UK’s largest manufacturing trade event, the Mach exhibition, has announced that it is rescheduling the show from April 2020 to January 2021, in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

UK's £9m 5G manufacturing project is the largest

The UK government has announced its biggest investment in using 5G for manufacturing to date – a £9m ($11.7m) project that will install a private 5G network at the National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol. The multi-partner project, called 5G-Encode, will explore new business models for private 5G networks in industrial settings and test new 5G technologies, such as network splicing and slicing, in a real working environments. It will also examine the practical application of 5G wireless technologies to improve composite design and production processes.

Reconfigurable UK robot targets SME batch applications

A British start-up company is developing a modular collaborative robot (cobot) that can be adapted, by adding or removing extension modules, to handle a variety of payloads and reaches. Guildford-based Inovo Robotics is targeting, in particular, SME (small and medium size enterprise) manufacturers with limited production runs, which may need to reconfigure their robotic systems from one production run to another.

UK government gives electrical machines a £37m boost

The UK business secretary Alok Sharma has announced a £36.7m investment programme to design, test and manufacture electric machines for future low-carbon transport applications, aimed at helping the UK to achieve its net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. The bulk of the funding (£30m) will be used to create four new centres of excellence – in Newport, Nottingham, Strathclyde and Sunderland – that will research and develop green electric machines, for applications including planes, ships and cars.

SMEs invested £5.4m in first year of Made Smarter programme

In the first year of the Made Smarter North West pilot, 300 small and medium-sized manufacturers have have invested £5.4m in new technologies, aided by £1.6m of funding. The pilot is working with SMEs in North West England, offering them impartial advice, and helping them introduce digital tools and technologies to boost their productivity and growth.

UK project aims for ‘world’s most power-dense PM motor’

A UK company is developing what it claims will be the world’s most power-dense permanent magnet electric motor. Norfolk-based Equipmake has teamed up with the Bristol-based additive manufacturing organisation HiEta Technologies to develop the next-generation motor with a target peak power density of at least 20kW/kg – more than four times that of a conventional motor. The project is being supported by a grant from the UK government’s innovation funding body, Innovate UK.

‘Multi-million pound’ MBO at Siemens partner HMK

HMK Automation Group, which last year celebrated its 40th anniversary, has undergone a “multi-million pound” management buyout (MBO), led by managing director Gary Kitchin, who has been with the company for almost two decades and took on the role of MD in 2012.

UK plant is the first to join global Industry 4.0 elite

A GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical plant in Hertfordshire has become the first UK factory to be chosen to join the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse network of frontrunners in applying Industry 4.0 technologies. The plant, located in Ware, is one of 18 sites around the world that were added to the network at the WEF’s recent meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Schneider expands two UK plants to meet renewables demand

Schneider Electric has announced plans for a multi-million pound upgrade and expansion of its Leeds and Scarborough manufacturing facilities in the UK in response to the growing demand in renewable and green technologies. It is also planning to create an innovation hub in Leeds, showcasing its sustainable energy management technologies.

Parvalux reveals plans to expand into a new factory in Poole

The Bournemouth-based motor manufacturer, Parvalux Electric Motors, has announced plans to build a new 13,000m2 (140,000ft2) factory and headquarters in nearby Poole, where it will amalgamate its operations from three existing sites. It has bought a 3.54ha (8.75-acre) site in Cabot Lane which was previously occupied by Barclays and Siemens. Construction is due to start later this year with occupation scheduled for 2021. 

Igus invests £4m in pioneering UK recycling plant

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has invested £4m in a company that is building a first-of-its-kind plant in Cheshire, UK, that will recycle plastic waste into synthetic oil that can be re-used to make new plastic products. Construction is due to start this year on the first commercial catalytic hydrothermal reactor (Cat-HTR) plant which will consist of four reactors and will be able to process more than 80,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year.

AES buys Dutch condition monitoring firm to add to AVT

AES Engineering, based in Rotherham, UK, has acquired the Dutch reliability and vibration monitoring specialist Van Geffen, for an undisclosed sum. Van Geffen, which specialises in preventing and solving of problems with machinery, foundations and structures, will join AES’ condition-monitoring subsidiary, AVT Reliability Group, located in Cheshire, UK.

Just 16% of UK’s SME manufacturers are using robots

Just 16% of the UK’s SME (small and medium enterprise) manufacturers are using robots, with another 13% saying they are planning to start using them, according to the latest national Manufacturing Barometer report. But more than 70% have no plans to introduce robots or are unsure about whether to do so.