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January News in Brief

01 January, 2009

♦  RS Components has announced plans to cut around 280 full-time jobs and 90 agency jobs at its Corby headquarters. The cuts are part of a reorganisation aimed at cutting RS’ operating costs by £15m. Managers are forgoing their bonuses and salaries have been frozen. However, RS plans to create 140 new posts at its Nuneaton distribution centre.

♦  The Rockwell Automation distributor Routeco has signed an agreement with Newtown-based Olsen Engineering to supply its Exlar rollerscrew linear actuators in the UK. The servo-electric actuators are more efficient than pneumatic or hydraulic actuators. They are supplied with Rockwell encoders and seen as extra axes by Rockwell motion systems.

♦  B&R Automation has opened a second UK office, in Andover, Hampshire, as part of its expansion program. The office, managed by Chris Hansford, will serve machine-builders in the South of England. B&R’s UK headquarters are in Peterborough.

♦  Stober Drives, the UK subsidiary of the German drives and power transmission supplier Stober Antriebstechnik, has appointed Martin Preece as sales director. Preece, formerly sales director at Berger Lahr, will be in charge of the Stober’s Essex facility. Stober employs about 650 people worldwide and has a turnover of €85m. Its products include planetary and helical gearboxes, servodrives, and variable speed drives integrated with motors. “We are growing worldwide and want to develop and expand our presence in the UK Market,” explains CEO, Patrick Stober.

♦  Siemens Automation & Drive Technologies’ Flender mechanical drives division has developed a test rig that compares the efficiency of geared motors to show the potential savings that can be made by using helical bevel gears (with efficiencies of up to 96%) rather than worm gears (typically efficiencies 70–80%). The rig can be seen in action at Siemens’ Automation Experience 2009 event at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on 25 and 26 March.

♦  The Technology Strategy Board has announced that it is investing a further £24m in research and development projects involving high-value manufacturing. Preference will be given to projects that could improve the UK’s international competiveness. Initial expressions of interest are due by 26 February, with the final closing date for applications being 30 April.

♦  The British Fluid Power Association is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It began life in 1959 as the Association of Hydraulic Equipment Manufacturers and changed to the BFPA in 1985 when a group of pneumatics companies joined. The BFPA now has more than 200 members.

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