Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to join our community
Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site, connect with other members through your own private inbox and will receive smaller adverts!

Manufacturing in the UK

Alexander Dennis unveils next-generation electric buses offering more choice, more flexibility and more value with industry-leading energy throughput and warranties

Alexander Dennis, a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., one of the world’s leading independent global bus manufacturers, today launched its next generation of battery-electric buses for the UK and Ireland with the unveiling of the new Enviro100EV small bus and Enviro400EV double decker. They provide a step change in performance and are part of a wider family of next-generation zero-emission buses.

The new buses have been engineered fully in house as zero-emission vehicles from the ground up. They introduce a stunning new design language that emphasises their zero-emission credentials and allows local authorities and bus operators to make a landmark statement of their investment in a cleaner fleet.

The 11.1m-length Enviro400EV double decker is designed to shift the crowds on busy urban and interurban routes, advancing electrification options for core services across the UK and Ireland with a range of up to 260 miles.

The Enviro100EV is a highly manoeuvrable small bus just 8.5m long and 2.35m wide, while feeling like a larger vehicle and covering up to class-leading 285 miles on a single charge...
Unfortunately there is bad news as well:

UK Manufacturing PMI: Industry downturn continues as Q4 unfolds - The Manufacturer

In October, the seasonally adjusted UK Manufacturing PMI rose slightly to 44.8, up on September’s reading of 44.3 but below the earlier flash estimate of 45.2. A reading below 50 suggests contraction in the sector and we have now been in this territory for 15 months.

All five PMI sub-components dipped in October. Alongside contractions in new orders, output and employment, stocks of purchases also declined. Meanwhile, suppliers’ delivery times improved, another traditional sign that demand is weak.

The fact October saw production levels fall for the eighth successive month now means we are in the most sustained sequence of unbroken contraction since 2008/09. Furthermore, the rate of decline remained solid and was slightly sharper than in the previous PMI survey month.

Weaker inflows of new work from Europe, mainland China and Brazil were the main factors behind a twenty-first successive month-on-month decline in new export business.

Manufacturing job losses continued for the thirteenth consecutive month, with spare capacity contributing to the latest round of job cuts and a reduction in work backlogs.

Despite retaining their overall positive outlook, manufacturers’ optimism faltered to a 10-month low in October. While 54% said they expect to see output rise over the coming year, 36% forecast broad stagnation. The remaining 10% said they anticipate further contractions...
Plans for new aerospace research and manufacturing facility at Waverley - The Star

The development will provide a new headquarters for Sheffield-based firm Technicut, which provides solid rotary cutting tools for the aerospace industry.

Planning documents state that the scheme will provide a dedicated building comprising a production, lab, office and meeting room adjacent to the McLaren building.

A report adds that Technicut “provide an unrivalled pedigree in aerospace rotary tooling and have a highly skilled engineering team who provide unique and innovative tooling solutions that are needed by their global aerospace customers”.
Vertiv invests in manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland, creates 200 jobs - The Manufacturer

Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, today announced that it is making a significant investment in a manufacturing facility in Campsie, Derry / Londonderry, creating approximately 200 skilled jobs and contributing to the Northern Ireland economy.

Supported by Invest Northern Ireland, Vertiv’s investment will further strengthen Northern Ireland’s highly developed and advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.

Speaking about the investment, Karsten Winther, president of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Vertiv, said: “We are delighted to be making this investment which will support our EMEA and global business growth and help us to meet strong market demand for our infrastructure solutions, mainly driven by digitalisation and AI adoption. Vertiv’s focus is on solving the most important challenges facing today’s data centres, communication networks and commercial and industrial facilities with a portfolio of power, cooling and IT infrastructure solutions. This new investment will support our goal.”

Philip O’Doherty, managing director for the E+I business at Vertiv, added: “Derry was not the only location we considered for this facility, but it came out on top when we realised the quality of the local workforce, the cost-competitive business environment and the ease with which we can establish links and work with colleges and universities to support our research and development plans. The support from Invest NI was also crucial to our decision to choose Northern Ireland.”

The Department for the Economy’s Assured Skills Academies will assist in filling 72 of the jobs by providing training across skills areas in electrical and mechanical installation...
Gripple Automation announces commercial partnership with OMRON - Process and Control Today

Gripple Automation, which designs and builds innovative manufacturing automation solutions for industry, has announced a strategic commercial partnership with OMRON, a leading technology provider in the industrial automation space.

This unique partnership provides customers with end-to-end robotic and automation solutions that encompass concept design and proof of principle, technical design specification, build and machine installation, plus aftercare service.

With technology playing an increasingly critical role in every aspect of business, Gripple Automation and OMRON recognised that by joining forces they could help customers to accelerate the development of robotic and automated solutions for manufacturers around the world.

Darren Beardsmore, Managing Director of Gripple Automation, said: “We’re hugely excited to announce our strategic commercial partnership with OMRON. The partnership will bring together a powerful combination of knowledge, expertise and skills from both businesses in collaborating to make the best use of new and emerging technology to develop the next generation of robotic and automation solutions for our customers.”

He adds: “Our team have been extensively trained on OMRON’s solutions and we receive ongoing technical support, which will enhance our service to customers.”

Country General Manager (UK & Ireland) at OMRON Sam Tilley said: “Diversifying consumer needs, labour shortage, and other challenges to the manufacturing industry are intensifying by the day. Darren and his highly skilled team are passionate about using technology to improve productivity in UK manufacturing.”

He adds: “This exciting new partnership with Gripple Automation means both companies working closely together will be able to bring innovation and market leading solutions to production sites across the UK and Europe, adding real value to OMRON technology.”

The partnership will combine Gripple Automation’s extensive engineering expertise and innovative track record of developing robotic and automated solutions for its own and other manufacturing facilities around the world, with OMRON’s technological leadership within advanced industrial automation and specific application expertise. OMRON offers a wide variety of solutions to some of industry’s most pressing challenges. From robotics to control components, integration into existing lines and communication with factory networks is seamless, reducing deployment time, simplifying modifications and optimising asset performance.

Formalisation of the partnership will see both companies working together to develop automated and robotic assembly machines that offer guaranteed, precision accuracy and fast through-put, whilst increasing production capacity...
Element increases Digital Engineering and Aerospace capabilities with the acquisition of Filton Systems Engineering - The Manufacturer

Element Materials Technology (Element), a global leader in testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) services has taken a significant step in advancing its capabilities in the digital engineering and aerospace sectors through the acquisition of Filton Systems Engineering (FSE), a distinguished aerospace engineering and testing services firm with notable hydrogen capability. FSE combined with Element’s existing Aerospace and Digital Engineering businesses significantly bolsters Element’s offering.

The acquisition of FSE adds to Element’s Digital Engineering Business Unit. Formed in 2022, Element Digital Engineering is an engineering and technology service provider supporting customers globally, across a diverse range of markets through the complete engineering life cycle. FSE’s expertise in systems engineering, safety and reliability, design along with simulation and modelling complement and strengthen Element’s offering across the complete product development cycle.

Headquartered in Bristol, UK, FSE, specializes in designing fuel, air, hydraulic, inerting and engine systems. The business delivers solutions from concept to manufacture and provides a single source for system mechanical design, simulation, analysis, prototyping, technical writing, and testing. The company, with its team of 50 experts, has extensive expertise including gaseous and liquid hydrogen. Notably, FSE boasts a dedicated facility in Kemble, UK, featuring an in-house-designed and constructed hydrogen liquefaction plant.

This extensive knowledge, technical depth, and specialist intellectual property will bolster Element’s Aerospace and Digital Engineering capabilities. The addition of FSE to Element will expand the company’s presence in the UK defence sector. FSE has established relationships with several UK defence prime contractors complementing Element’s existing experience in the sector ensuring equipment is safe to operate in the harshest of environments...
I am posting this as it proves thee are companies in Britain that cast metals - something the naysayers seem to tell us can never be done here.

Cast Iron success for foundry workers on new training programme - UK Manufacturing

An innovative new training programme, which improves the competitiveness of the foundry sector, has been completed and is looking to recruit its next cohort.

The Certificate in Cast Iron Production, Metallurgy and Quality Control – delivered as a joint venture by ICME and The Cast Metals Federation (CMF) – has helped increase the knowledge and progression of nine staff at four different companies.

Delivered over an 18-month period, the course has combined focused learning through a mix of classroom delivery, practical sessions, and workplace projects.

The results have been fantastic with many of the shopfloor improvement exercises delivering cost savings and efficiency gains, whilst several new processes have been introduced to rectify material failures and reduce defects.

Pam Murrell, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation said: “The value of this course for our industry speaks for itself in the positive responses from all those involved and the fact that the costs of putting employees through it has already been recouped from bottom-line benefits.

“It’s been a real team effort, with input from the CMF, ICME, companies on their specific training needs, then from our tutors and some industry suppliers who have helped with technical content and delivering the programme.”

She went on to add: “The key to success has been the ‘in-company’ projects, which have ensured that the business get additional value from the course.

“Clearly the professional development of their teams and their ability to ‘problem solve’ and deal with process and quality improvements though their improved understanding of cast iron is important, and the face-to-face teaching and practical hands-on learning in the ECMS National Foundry Training Centre will have contributed hugely.”

A special celebration event was held to mark the culmination of the learning, with ICME Junior Vice President Antony Evans (CEng FICME) presenting students with their certificates.

He praised the quality of presentations from all candidates and reinforced the importance of staff receiving a sound understanding of metallurgical best practices and how it is fundamental to the success of cast metal companies going forward.

Dorset-based Eurac Poole, which specialises in high volume iron castings and grey cast iron brake discs, enrolled 3 students on the programme.

They gave a presentation showcasing how the learning from the course had allowed them to complete a project on ‘investigating a suitable replacement for wire inoculation’, helping to reduce casting defects and identifying processes that will cut scrap and has already led to cost savings.

The company was joined by Thomas Dudley, who used it as a key progression tool for two of its employees involved in technical and quality positions.

Results from the project have been implemented by the Dudley-based company, with additional staff trained in best practice leading to productivity gains and a host of financial savings secured.

WM Lee is are an iron foundry based in Dronfield, specialising in parts for truck manufacturing...
Birmingham launches AI-powered design for industrial processing equipment - UK Manufacturing

University of Birmingham Enterprise announces the launch of EvoPhase, which delivers services to optimise existing and new process equipment that mixes, blends, stores, or stirs granular materials.

EvoPhase will use evolutionary AI algorithms, coupled with simulations of particulates in systems such as industrial mixers, to evolve an optimised design for the mixing blade, and the shape or size of the blending vessel.

This AI-led ‘evolutionary design’ approach is applicable to a diverse range of process equipment, including mills, dryers, roasters, coaters, fluidised beds, stirred tanks and is expected to produce huge cost and energy savings for industry.

EvoPhase has been set up using a unique model of commercialisation known as an Operating Division, which allows industry rapid access to flexible, cutting-edge services from Birmingham’s academic innovators.

Founders Chief Executive Officer Dominik Werner, Chief Technology Officer Leonard Nicusan, Chief Operating Officer Jack Sykes, and Chief Scientific Officer Dr Kit Windows-Yule, are from Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering. All four are highly experienced in digital models and simulations of industrial processes, and their combined expertise will enable EvoPhase to address challenges that traditional R&D methods struggle to resolve...
Battery-electric Tevva truck set to drive skills at Mira Technology Institute (MTI) - The Manufacturer

Students and apprentices at the MIRA Technology Institute (MTI) have welcomed the delivery of a brand-new electric truck to help them get to grips with the latest electric vehicle technology.

The 7.5 tonne Tevva battery electric truck is based at the MTI’s state-of-the-art workshops and will be instantly accessible for every student enabling them to see how the technology works in practice.

With a course series developed to deliver vital skills to the automotive sector as part of the electric revolution, the MTI enables students to gain an awareness and understanding of electric and hybrid vehicles, so that they can learn how to inspect, diagnose, and rectify systems and components.

Lisa Bingley, Operations Director for the MTI said, “It was fantastic to watch our new Tevva truck roll into the workshop today. We chose to invest in a Tevva vehicle because the brand is spearheading the rapid shift to decarbonisation and cleaner greener freight. The Tevva truck is driven by two electric traction motors that use no rare earth materials and is equipped with a regenerative braking system that harnesses kinetic energy to boost vehicle range. It also boasts an innovative high voltage power distribution system and proprietary embedded software, so the presence of the truck in our workshop will really help to contextualise students’ knowledge and enhance their learning experience and understanding of EV technology.”

Ken Scott, Managing Director of Tevva said, “The decarbonisation of trucking and wider transportation not only relies on new technology, but people. We need people with the skills and knowledge of how battery-electric and hydrogen-electric powertrains work. The MTI is doing an excellent job of addressing the skills gap and training a new generation of engineers and technicians. Tevva is delighted to be part of this vital endeavour.”

The MTI was developed to support the automotive sector by focusing on emerging technology areas including connected and autonomous vehicles and electric cars. Its unique Skills Escalator is the first of its kind in the UK where students and delegates can progress naturally through the levels within the same institution.

Since it first opened its doors, the MTI has welcomed over 42,500 students and delegates. This includes over 3,100 studying for accredited qualifications from a Level 1 Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) certificate up to Masters’ degrees, and over 850 apprenticeships at all levels. More than 17,100 automotive professionals have taken part in professional development activities...
100,000 and counting: Amazon Filters passes production milestone - The Manufacturer

A UK process filter manufacturer has fabricated and shipped its 100,000th stainless steel cartridge housing after production capacity was boosted through an extensive, ongoing investment programme.

Surrey-based Amazon Filters hit the milestone figure as the latest practical output of its ‘quick and able’ manufacturing ethos.

The 100,000th unit, a metal fabricated housing like the others in the count, was produced and shipped in response to an order from a global water treatment company.

As with all Amazon Filters’ housings, standard or bespoke, the unit is serialised and fully traceable down to its materials, welder and testing data.

Neil Pizzey, Amazon Filters Managing Director, said: “Completing our 100,000th unit is a significant milestone for us and one that our whole team can be proud of.

“We have specifically focused on strengthening our capacity for housing component manufacturing as a key part of our investment strategy.

“Last year we introduced two semi-automated CNC mills to enable us to do more fabrication in-house and rely less on third parties or sub-contractors.

“Greater in-house capacity supports our ‘quick and able’ methodology centred on fast, accurate turnround of customer orders, including complex and bespoke projects, whatever their size and wherever they originate in the world.”

As well as new equipment under its £1m capital investment spend, Amazon Filters has more than doubled the number of staff working on housing component manufacture from six operatives four years ago to 13 now...
TT Electronics opens Manchester power factory - ee News

TT Electronics has formally opened its latest power systems manufacturing plant in Manchester UK.

The 45,000 sq ft plant sees TT Electronics making AC-DC and DC-DC units for customers such as BAe Systems for the Typhoon and F35 aircraft, Airbus for the A400M transporter and Rolls Royce for submarines.

The plant is part of a strategic shift in production and also product development to high voltage avionics systems to reduce the weight of the wiring harnesses. This also opens up the market for electric air taxis.

“Our future product roadmaps are about leveraging the developments rather than an individual focus,” said Matt Yeates, Vice president and general manager of power solutions for Europe and the rest of the world at TT Electronics (above, far right at the opening with Rear Admiral Donald J.M. Doull). “Our technology will be modular to make us much more agile. We are not trying to sell components but solve problems and the primes are pushing out the problems to experts like us,” he tells
eeNews Europe.

UK-based electronics conglomerate TT bought the existing power product lines from Ferranti Power and Control Bus back in January 2022 when Israeli defence firm Elbit bought the wider business. “We carved out an acquisition of 60 people focussed on power electronics, while Elbit kept the simulation business,” said Yeates.

The business then moved to a nearby factory site with room for expansion. “We have built with extra capacity,” says Yeates. “We have room to grow from 70 people today and over the next five years we will be doubling that.”

The factory currently runs one shift and could increase the number of shifts as well as add new commercial and secure assembly lines, by future business wins. “The way that TT operates is that the business earns its right to grow and that makes the investment available,” says Yeates...
Shepherd Neame embraces industrial technology solutions to increase asset reliability - The Manufacturer

RS, a global provider of product and service solutions for industrial customers, including maintenance and safety solutions, has helped a leading brewer avoid downtime that could have cost the firm £60,000, as well as a potential £4,000 bill for asset replacement.

RS Industria, an innovative cloud service and part of the RS Group, was utilised by the UK’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame, to help the company gain valuable insight into a key asset: a bottle filler which lies at the heart of the brewery operation on the bottling line.

With a capacity to fill 27,000 bottles per hour – which contributes to the firms output of 50 million pints every year – the asset is critical but ageing. Shepherd Neame’s engineers needed to develop a greater understanding of its performance so they could implement steps to increase the reliability of the machine to avoid costly downtime.

Michael Unsworth, Director of Brewing at Shepherd Neame, explained: “Stoppage on production with the scale of output we work to on our bottling line can cost around £1,000 per hour. If unplanned downtime lasts for days, which can be the case when there are long lead times for spare parts, it can be very costly.

“For this reason, we needed to get the right insight on the machine and its components to use the data to develop a robust maintenance strategy. Not only does this save us the aforementioned downtime cost, but measures to prevent failures also saves us the component and labour costs,” he added.

Working closely with Shepherd Neame, RS Industria engineers installed condition monitoring on the asset’s main drive and vibration sensors on its gearboxes, before connecting these to a local hub. RS Industria monitors machines in real-time, alerting engineers to potential small issues before they escalate. This real-time data is fed into a cloud-based analytics system that can spot indicators of potential failure to improve asset reliability through preventative and predictive maintenance.

Within hours of the RS Industrial solution being in place to monitor the bottling machine, issues with two critical components were flagged: the gearbox was showing a high-frequency vibration – indicating a lubrication issue – and an oil leak was discovered, caused by a faulty seal. Had these issues not been identified, the gearbox may have failed and needed to be replaced, at a cost of around £4,000.

High vibration on the motor was also detected, leading to timely investigation of the issue and component replacement scheduled to tie in with planned maintenance programmes. This avoided potential downtime and potential cost arising from secondary damage to the machine...
Neogen safeguarding diagnostic test kits with ICS Cool Energy’s cold store containers - UK Manufacturing

Neogen EMEA, a subsidiary of Neogen Corporation provides the most comprehensive range of solutions for the food processing, animal protein and agriculture industries. Their Food Safety business offers products covering culture media and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, hygiene indicators and much more.

Neogen’s recent business project necessitated a swift increase in refrigerated storage capacity at their Auchincruive, Ayr Neogen site to accommodate a higher level of stock at short notice, particularly diagnostic test kits for distribution in various global markets. With a pressing need for enhancing their temperature-controlled space, Neogen sought a partner that could offer them a dependable solution.

”We had limited space in our existing facility and a mounting urgency. We needed to hold a higher level of stock at short term to accommodate more areas than what we currently service,” shared Andy Keirs, warehouse and logistics manager at Neogen EMEA...
Avon Protection announces Artis rebrand to Avon Protection - UK Manufacturing

Avon Protection is pleased to announce the rebranding of its Artis material research and development lab to Avon Protection. The rebrand aligns our materials innovation capabilities with the Avon Protection name, renowned for quality, and its commitments to its people, supply chain and the environment.

Our materials innovation scientists will continue their work providing rubber and polymer research and development capabilities to our customers worldwide across a broad range of industry sectors, including the defence, transport and oil and gas industries.

The materials innovation laboratory and test facilities, located at Avon Protection’s Hampton Park West site in Melksham, UK, are fully equipped to conduct rubber compound development; physical and mechanical testing; assessment of temperature and environmental effects; chemical analysis; defect investigations; and the characterisation of the properties and in-rubber performance of novel filler materials and other ingredients.

In line with Avon Protection’s stated aims to reduce the global impact of its operations on the environment, the work conducted by the materials innovation group supports customers at all stages of the product life cycle, from concept through to responsible disposal and/or recycling. Our team has established a globally recognised position at the forefront of understanding the properties and performance of recovered carbon black and silica from end-of-life tyres, and is currently undertaking the characterisation of devulcanized material from waste rubber. Along with research into the use of polymer fillers from sustainable sources, our expertise supports the increased sustainability of the global rubber supply chain...