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Despite 19% US spurt, EU still takes 46% of UK's goods exports

The US was the biggest single export market for UK manufacturers in 2019 – with sales expanding by 19% to reach £54.4bn – but almost half of the UK’s exports (46%) went to Europe, with the top six EU markets accounting for around a third of total exports, worth £169bn. The figures come from UK Manufacturing Facts, 2020/21, just published by the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK and Santander UK.

UK manufacturers call for job support to be extended

Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the Government to extend its Job Retention Scheme (JRS) or risk losing key skills that will leave the UK in the slow lane behind its major competitors as industries recover from the pandemic.

CP Automation acquires Magnetek’s UK elevator business

Scunthorpe-based CP Automation has acquired Bedford-based Magnetek Elevator UK, which supplies AC and DC drives for geared and gearless lift applications. CP says that the deal will establish it as a leading supplier of drives to the vertical transportation industry. 

UK EV motor-maker expands, creating up to 250 jobs

A UK company that manufactures lightweight axial-flux motors for electric vehicles, is expanding its production facilities, creating 150-250 jobs over the next three to five years. Saietta’s plant, at Upper Heyford near Bicester in Oxfordshire, will be powered by solar panels and will be funded by a new investment round.

UK manufacturing output rises at fastest pace since 2014

During August, UK manufacturing output expanded at its fastest rate for more than six years, as manufacturers and their customers restarted operations following Covid-19 lockdowns, according to the latest monthly IHS Markit/CIPS PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index). New order intakes strengthened, but the sector also recorded its seventh month of job losses, with employment declining at one of the steepest rates for 11 years.

Routeco reshapes, and signs up Yamaha and Honeywell

The automation and controls distributor Routeco has restructured its branch network to create four customer service centres in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Milton Keynes. It says it has been planning the changes for 18 months and they are not a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It adds that it has retained some of its staff in a “remote working capacity” and has thus “minimised several redundancies”.

Rochdale advanced machinery institute wins £50k funding

Plans to create an Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, have been brought a step closer after securing £50,000 early-stage funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF). The aim of the institute is to drive innovation among advanced machinery manufacturers, and it is predicted to generate around 660 direct and 530 indirect jobs.

UK’s SME manufacturers report record falls in output

In the three months to July, output volumes from SME manufacturers in the UK fell at the fastest rate on record, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s latest quarterly SME Trends Survey. The survey of 331 SME manufacturers found that new orders – both domestic and export – also declined at the quickest pace since the CBI started the surveys in October 1988.

UK manufacturing output hit a 32-month high in July

Output from the UK manufacturing sector hit a 32-month high during July, supported by the sharpest rise in new order volumes since the end of 2018, according to the latest IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). Business sentiment also recovered to its highest level in 28 months.

Foresight Williams doubles investment in UK cobot start-up

The Foresight Williams Technology EIS fund is investing a further £1.45m in the UK collaborative robotics start-up Inovo Robotics to accelerate its growth and help it expand internationally. The fund initially invested £1.5m in Inovo in 2018 to help get its first product to market.

Move to greener manufacturing, ‘could create up to 1m jobs’

If the UK transitions to “green” manufacturing, it could add £8–20bn to GDP and create up to 1 million jobs, according to a new report from the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) that examines decarbonisation as a growth strategy for UK manufacturing.

Government gives the go-ahead for UK trade shows to restart

The UK government has given the green light for trade exhibitions to start again from October this year. One of the first events to be held will be the cluster of nine manufacturing exhibitions, including the Drives & Controls Show and Smart Industry Expo, taking at place at the Birmingham NEC next January.

UK manufacturers say six-month furlough extension is vital

Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the Government to extend the Job Retention Scheme for strategic industry sectors by six months to avoid losing highly skilled job losses in manufacturing on a scale not seen since the 1980s. It argues that these sectors are of critical importance to the long-term health of the UK economy and their protection is an investment in the country’s industrial future.

Bonfiglioli merges two UK businesses at new Warrington site

Bonfiglioli Group has merged its UK operations previously located in Warrington and Redditch to create a new 26,000ft2 (2,416m2) facility in Calver Quay, Warrington. The company says that the move will give it more space, improved logistics, upgraded IT systems with enhanced security, and improved customer service.

Competitions offer up to £1.5m of funding for supply-chain ideas

The UK government has launched two funding competitions to help British businesses develop world-leading digital technologies to improve manufacturing supply chain productivity and resilience, thus boosting the recovery from Covid-19. Business-led consortia will be able to apply for up to £1.5m of funding for projects designed to transform supply chains, and to help make the UK’s manufacturing sector more efficient, flexible and resilient.