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MTC sets up production support base in Liverpool

The UK's Manufacturing Technology Centre is setting up an operation in Liverpool to support manufacturing growth and innovation in the area. The new facility, with a staff of more than 60, will be located at Liverpool Science Park (LSP) in Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool). It will be one of the biggest lettings for the science park in more than five years.

Tea company brews up a packing machinery business

A UK company that sells tea on a subscription basis has entered the packaging equipment market after it had to develop its own machinery because it couldn’t find any affordable systems on the market.

‘Ground-breaking’ programme will help UK businesses to adopt industry 4.0

Siemens Digital Industries has joined forces with the analytics specialist Atos and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre, to launch a “ground-breaking” Industrial Digitalisation Accelerator (IDA) programme that will offer UK businesses of all sizes a practical, collaborative space in which to explore Industry 4.0 technologies. They claim it is the first time that experts in the fields of IoT, analytics and computing have come together to help industry to discover new pathways to growth.

£35m facility will focus on safety of robotic systems

The University of York in the UK is to establish a £35m research facility aimed at ensuring the safety of robotics and other systems that use artificial intelligence. The York Global Initiative for Safe Autonomy will house specialist laboratories and testing facilities – bringing together industrial partners and experts in the field. The UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) will provide £10.5m of the funding, with the rest coming through match funding from industrial and philanthropic partners.

Equistone buys UK connector-maker Bulgin for £105m

The private equity investor, Equistone Partners Europe, is buying a majority stake in Bulgin, the Cambridge-based manufacturer of rugged electrical components, from its current owner, Elektron Technology, in a deal that values the company at £105m. Bulgin will continue to be led by John Wilson, who will move from the role of executive chairman to CEO, and will keep its existing management team, who will acquire a minority shareholding. Peter Williamson will join as non-executive chairman.

UK manufacturers are among the keenest to adopt 5G

UK manufacturers are among the keenest to adopt 5G technologies, according to a survey of 800 industrial company executives and 150 telecoms executives in 12 leading countries, performed by Cap Gemini. It found that 75% of UK companies (and a similar proportion in Italy) want to implement 5G within two years of it becoming available. This puts them ahead of the global average of 65% and Germany, where the figure is just 49%.

Engineer of The Year is a German drives developer

A German engineer, Juan Carlos González Villar, was named Engineer of the Year at the Motion Control Industry (MCI) Awards ceremony, held last month in Solihull, UK. Villar, who is proprietor of Kabel.Consult.Ing, won the award for his patented “Energy Light” drive system and networked, continuously-variable transmission system, which he says, improves the energy efficiency of drive applications using a combination of a patented motor technology, advanced controls, and a lightweight construction using composite fibre materials. It is designed to minimise drive output during continuous operation, acceleration, delays, and braking, and to standardise the drive system.

UK children get their own engineering institutions

The UK’s latest engineering institutions will also have the youngest members. Primary Engineer, the organisation that has spent the past 15 bringing engineering into primary classrooms, has taken its most ambitious step yet by launching the Institutions of Primary and Secondary Engineers which. It says they “are set to change the way skills are taught and nurtured in schools”.

Variohm buys UK displacement sensor specialist, Positek

The Variohm Group has acquired the Gloucester-based sensor-maker, Positek, for an undisclosed sum. Positek, which produces linear, rotary, tilt and intrinsically safe position sensors, becomes the fifth member of the Variohm Group, alongside Variohm EuroSensor, Herga, Ixthus Instrumentation and Heason Technology.

UK robot sales fell by 3% in 2018 – while the EU grew by 12%

The number of industrial robots installed in the UK fell by 3% during 2018 to 2,306, according to the latest figures issued by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). This compares to a 31% spurt in growth recorded during 2017.

Scots contractor RSE takes a majority stake in Saftronics

The Scottish engineering and manufacturing contractor RSE (known until April this year as Ross-shire Engineering) has acquired a majority shareholding in the Leeds-based controls and switchboard manufacturer, Saftronics. The acquisition marks a further expansion for RSE as it develops its offering as a mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, controls and automation contractor serving municipal and utilitiy customers across the UK. The financial terms of the deal have not been revealed.

Scottish firm wins €5,000 prize for pipe inspection system

A Scottish company has beaten off competition from 445 entries from 32 countries to win this year’s €5,000 manus award for innovative uses for high-performance plastic bearings. Aberdeen-based ToolTec received the award from igus at the recent Hannover Fair.

Schaeffler sale saves UK bearings-maker Barden from closure

The Schaeffler Group has agreed to sell The Barden Corporation (UK), located in Plymouth, UK, to another German bearings manufacturer, HQW, for an undisclosed sum. The Plymouth plant will continue to operate without significant changes for employees or customers, and Barden will remain a supplier to Schaeffler as well as to third-party customers.

Hadfield succeeds Bottomley as Rockwell UK leader

Phil Hadfield has been appointed sales director of Rockwell Automation in the UK, succeeding Mark Bottomley, who has been promoted to the role of regional sales director, North, for Rockwell’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. Hadfield, who was previously Rockwell’s UK utilities and transport sales manager, has been with the company since 2005 and brings 20 years of automation sales experience to the job.

Event will look at digitalisation in the food & bev sector

Leading experts on the food and beverage industry have been lined up for a one-day conference next month that will examine the issues involved in bringing digitalisation to the sector. Called Demystifying the jargon: How to make the digitalisation transition, the conference will take place on 22 May at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham.