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In Brief

01 November, 2004

In Brief

• HRH The Princess Royal has presented Siemens with the 2004 UK Business Excellence Award for the performance and competitiveness of its drives factory in Congleton, Cheshire. Profits at the plant have risen five-fold over the past four years, and 98% of its production is exported.

THK, the linear motion specialist, has invested £1.3m in new purpose-built headquarters for its UK operation. The 1,670m≤ site in Milton Keynes contains offices, warehousing, and training areas, and will allow the company to improve its stockholding and response times, and to enhance its application engineering facilities. The new UK headquarters form part of long-term European and global expansion programmes which include the establishment of one of the world`s largest linear motion centres in France. THK set up its first UK office in Milton Keynes in 1989.

ABB has opened its first technology and demonstration centre in Europe, at its Daresbury offices, near Warrington. The centre displays items from ABB`s range of industrial and commercial products, ranging from small components, to drives, motors and switchgear. The products are supported by multimedia presentation and meeting facilities. ABB plans to host customer visits, industry seminars and other events at the centre. .

• The AS-Interface UK Association has relaunched itself as the AS-I Expert Alliance, with the aim of providing assistance, especially to end-users. Non-vendor-specific advice will be given via a free phone line (0800 169 2331) as well as via a Web site at

• The Tanfield Group has bought the electric vehicle and access platform manufacturer, the SEV Group - formerly Smith`s Electric Vehicles - in a cash and shares deal. SEV, established in 1920, employs 120 people and has a turnover of £10m. Stephen Fisher, who previously ran SEV`s forklift division, has been appointed managing director.

Farnell InOne has worked with the consultancy ERA Technology to produce Europe`s first guide to the RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances) Directive, which comes into force in July 2006. The Step-by-step guide to compliance with the RoHS Directive is available from

Rittal is adopting a light grey colour for all of its enclosures, case systems and accessories, following consultation with its customers. The new colour will be phased in during the first quarter of 2005. Rittal has also introduced an instant on-line quotation system for its rack products, as part of a move to full-blown e-commerce. The system can be found at

Beama, the electrotechnical trade body, has condemned Government proposals to cut financial support for export schemes. Beama director Jan Fillingham says that the change from outward investment support to inward investment is "confusing and ill-conceived". She adds that the effect will be to restrict UK companies` overseas marketing - "in particular, smaller businesses".

• The Ipswich-based industrial belts and hose supplier, Pix Europe, has announced a £2m expansion of its European distribution centre. The company, which employs 18 people, is moving to a 3,000m≤ site, more than three times larger than its previous premises. Since it was formed five years ago, Pix has been growing by about 35% a year and now has a range of 4,200 belt items, as well as pulleys, chains and couplings.

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