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13 June, 2024

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Meet UK world water speed record attempt team at SM&E Week

03 June, 2024

The team behind a planned British attempt to break the world water speed record will be at this week’s Smart Manufacturing & Engineering (SM&E) Week to talk about the project and to launch a survey aimed at identifying recruitment challenges faced by UK manufacturers.

UK manufacturing expands at fastest rate for two years

03 June, 2024

The UK manufacturing sector returned to growth in May, as output expanded at the fastest pace in more than two years, off the back of improved intakes of new work. Manufacturers’ sentiment also rose to its highest level since early 2022, with 63% of companies expecting output to expand over the coming year, according to the latest seasonally-adjusted S&P Global UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The index rose to 51.2 in May, up from 49.1 in April – its highest since July 2022, and the second time it has been above 50, indicating expansion, in the past three months.

UK manufacturers worry about energy – but don’t do much

31 May, 2024

A new survey of British manufacturers reveals that they are concerned about issues such as energy prices and net-zero, but are not doing much to tackle these topics.

UK ‘could be a leader’ in motor design and production

22 May, 2024

The UK could establish itself as a leader in motor design and production, according to a new report from the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC). It argues that, with the European market for electric motors expected to expand three-fold to more than £27bn over the next decade, there will be “ample opportunities” for UK businesses willing to bet on shifting attitudes towards e-motor design and manufacture.

Rockwell signs agreement with UK EV battery developer

21 May, 2024

Rockwell Automation has agreed a multi-year, global partnership with a UK start-up, Ionetic, which is planning to make electric vehicle batteries more affordable for small-to-medium-sized car-makers. They will work together to begin production of Ionetic’s batteries as soon as possible.

£34m advanced manufacturing hub targets sustainability

16 May, 2024

The UK government is backing a manufacturing research hub that will use robots, smart automation and AI to create a sustainable circular manufacturing ecosystem. The £34.6m Manufacturing Research Hub in Robotics, Automation & Smart Machine Enabled Sustainable Circular Manufacturing & Materials (RESCu-M2) will be backed by £11m of funding from the UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and £23.6m (cash and in-kind) from partner organisations over a seven-year period. These organisations include five other universities, local authorities and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

BMW uses robot dog to gather data for digital twin at UK site

07 May, 2024

BMW is using a four-legged robotic dog to gather data for a digital twin at its Hams Hall engine production plant in UK. The robot – a Boston Dynamics Spot model, which BMW has renamed Spotto – will also act as a watchdog and oversee maintenance of the site’s facilities.

Belfast will host the UK’s £37.6m Digital Twin Centre

01 May, 2024

The UK is creating a £37.6m digital twin centre of excellence, aimed at revolutionising how UK industries develop products, services and systems. The UK Digital Twin Centre, located in Belfast and led by the Digital Catapult, is being backed by Innovate UK, Belfast Region City Deal and three industrial partners: Thales UK, Spirit AeroSystems and Artemis Technologies. The centre is due to open later this year.

Low-cost VR technology controls robots remotely

30 April, 2024

Mitsubishi Electric has partnered with the UK robotic software specialist Extend Robotics to allow robots to be controlled remotely using off-the-shelf consumer virtual reality (VR) hardware, thus slashing set-up and training costs compared to bespoke systems. Extend’s Advanced Mechanics Assistance System (Amas) platform is now compatible with Mitsubishi’s Melfa industrial robots.

Automation is biggest challenge for 81% of UK industrial users

25 April, 2024

More than four in five industrial technology users in the UK (81%) regard adopting automation successfully as their biggest challenge, according to a new survey published by Automate UK – the automation and packaging trade organisation formerly known as PPMA. Particular factors that they cite include: the challenge of automating bespoke products; the level of skilled labour needed to support automation; and the difficulty of keeping abreast of developments such as AI and cobots.

Online hub ‘could save manufacturers £20,000’

25 April, 2024

A new AI-powered digital marketplace could save UK manufacturers up to £20,000 in just 20 minutes, according to its founders. The Manufacturing Connections Hub is an online platform that connects manufacturers to suppliers, customers, investors, partners, academics and the government.

Rotamec buys Nottingham Electrical Transmissions

17 April, 2024

The Somerset-based electromechanical services provider, Rotamec Engineering Solutions, has acquired the gearbox repairs specialist Nottingham Electrical Transmissions (NET), for an undisclosed sum. Rotamec describes this as “a pivotal moment” in its strategy to extend its reach and refine it service offerings.

UK’s three largest robots will be used in aerospace projects

15 April, 2024

Three of the largest industrial robots ever ordered in the UK are to be used in a £80m aerospace manufacturing R&D project which includes a facility at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) that will help solve composites manufacturing challenges to meet future demand for lighter commercial aircraft and to help the aviation industry reach net-zero.

Invertek builds three millionth VSD and raises sales by 27%

10 April, 2024

The Welsh drives-maker Invertek Drives has produced its three millionth VSD (variable-speed drive) just three years after hitting the two-million mark. The company, part of Sumitomo Heavy Industries, recorded a record turnover of £96.5m in 2023 – a 27% increase on the £76.3m it achieved the previous year.

UK GaN motor drive pioneer doubles crowdfunding target

02 April, 2024

Quantum Power Transformation (QPT), the UK power semiconductor specialist developing a high-efficiency motor control technology based on gallium nitride (GaN), has raised more than £1.2m in a crowdfunding drive – more than twice its target of £600,000. The funds will be used to scale up production and staff and to file 12 global patents to protect the company’s technologies.

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