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£9m grant will help to convert planes for hybrid-electric flight

A consortium of British business has received a £9m grant from the government to help design, manufacture and integrate a hybrid-electric propulsion system into a nine-seater Britten-Norman (B-N) Islander aircraft, which is typically used on short flights such as island-hopping.

High-efficiency motor pioneer honoured in AEMT awards

Professor David Walters, who pioneered technologies for high-efficiency electric motors when he was technical director at Brook Crompton, has received a lifetime contribution award from the AEMT – the Association of Electric and Mechanical trades – at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony, held recently in Coventry, UK. Walters, now retired, was the driving force behind Brook Crompton’s ground-breaking W series of high-efficiency motors.

UK’s strongest robot flexes its muscles at the MTC

What is thought to be the UK’s most powerful industrial robot has been installed at Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. The six-axis Fanuc M-2000iA/2300 machine can handle heavy loads, such as automotive chassis and foundry workpieces, weighing up to 2.3 tonnes. It has a reach of 3.7m and vertical lifting stroke of 6.2m.

Automation slashes drive cable lead times from weeks to 24h

igus has commissioned an automated assembly line for its readycable drives cables at its UK headquarters in Northampton. The line uses automated machines and lean manufacturing methods to streamline its manufacturing processes, and can produce fully-harnessed drive cables ready for shipping within 24 hours of an order being placed.

Sewtec will double in size as it moves to Wakefield

The British industrial automation specialist Sewtec is relocating to a 75,000ft2 (7,000m2) facility in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, as part of a transformation strategy. The new building is more than twice the size of its current site in Dewsbury, also in West Yorkshire.

Japanese drive-maker sets its sights on the UK market

The Japanese drives-maker Fuji Electric has announced a pair of multi-purpose variable-speed drives as part of a concerted effort to boost its presence in the UK market. After being represented in the UK by distributors for many years, Fuji set up its own UK office three years ago, headed by industry veteran, Stuart Cardall, who was previously UK sales manager for B&R and earlier in his career worked for IMO.

Mistry succeeds Montag as Gambica’s automation head

Nikesh Mistry has been appointed to succeed Victoria Montag as head of industrial automation activities at Gambica, the trade organisation that represents the sector in the UK.

Motion control firm rescues Jena Tec from administration

A new Mansfield-based business, Motion Control Engineering, has acquired the business and assets of Jena Tec Precision, the Nottingham-based manufacturer of linear and rotary motion products that was placed in administration last month, following financial difficulties.

Stainless-steel servo gearboxes come with 5-year warranties

At the PPMA show earlier this month, Uttoxeter-based Apex Dynamics UK made its public debut with a range of servo gearboxes that it claims are the first in the world to come with a five-year warranty. The portfolio includes a series of stainless-steel, planetary servo gearboxes that it describes as “a game-changer for the food, pharmaceutical, packaging and automation sectors,” partly because they do not cost much more than standard steel boxes.

Nord aims to double the size of its UK business

The geared motors and drives specialist Nord Gear is aiming to almost double the size of its UK business to around £30m in the five years to 2023. The company, which is celebrating its 25th year in the UK this year, currently employs almost 50 people and assembles up to 30 geared motors every day. Together with ready-built assemblies delivered from its parent company in Germany, these account for about 80% of Nord’s UK business.

Free BSI guide will help manufacturers to go digital

BSI has issued a free guide to help UK businesses to plan for digital transformation. Called PAS 1040:2019 Digital readiness – Adopting digital technologies in manufacturing – Guide, it will help them to assess and improve their readiness to adopt technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), robotics, and the Internet of Things.

Siemens CEO Maier retires early, Ennis is his successor

Siemens UK CEO, Juergen Maier, is taking early retirement at the age of 55, after 33 years with the company. He will be succeeded on 1 January, 2020, by Carl Ennis, currently UK & Ireland head of Products & Systems Sales for Siemens Smart Infrastructure.

Control Techniques extends drives warranties to 5 years

The drives-maker Control Techniques has announced a free five-year warranty on its Commander range of general-purpose drives. Anyone who buys one of these drives will be able to register to extend its warranty from two years to five, at no extra cost. The offer relates to the C200 and C300 general-purpose drives that CT launched last year when it reintroduced the Commander name.

Ballscrew-maker Jena Tec Precision enters administration

Jena Tec Precision, the Nottingham, UK, based manufacturer of linear and rotary motion products, including ballscrews, spindles and actuators, has been placed in administration. The joint administrators – Mike Solomons of restructuring, recovery and insolvency firm, BM Advisory, and James Robinson of Finn Associates – are hoping to sell the business and its assets as a going concern.

UK electrical manufacturers make net-zero pledge

Two dozen electrotechnical manufacturers with UK operations – including ABB, Eaton, GE, Mitsubishi Electric, Schneider Electric and Siemens – have pledged to reduce their emissions to net-zero by 2050. The announcement was made at the London launch of a new report from Beama, the trade body for the sector, which warns that setting targets in legislation alone will not be enough to achieve net-zero emissions.