EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit 2020
The new digital EuroBLECH event is looking ahead with a sharpened focus on technology updates, market outlooks and brand-new networking opportunities.
Hosted online from 27–30 October 2020, the EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit provides a much anticipated trade and networking event for the global sheet metal working community, presenting a broad programme for trade professionals including virtual product presentations, expert webinars, and plenty of matchmaking. Visitors can participate for free and register online from the beginning of October.
The organiser of EuroBLECH, Mack Brooks Exhibitions, has announced the new online event for the international sheet metal working community in order to help the industry pave and shape the way back to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit provides a dedicated virtual marketplace for innovative manufacturing solutions, knowledge transfer and worldwide business contacts in a new online format. At the same time, it conveniently bridges the big wait for the physical EuroBLECH event which has been postponed to March 2021.
“When the decision was taken to postpone EuroBLECH, the world’s largest sheet metal working technology exhibition amidst the Covid-19 crisis, we were determined to fill the gap and put all our energies into developing a powerful and focused online event that can offer a similarly high level of attraction to buyers”, explains EuroBLECH exhibition director Evelyn Warwick. “The previous EuroBLECH 2018 in Hanover attracted 56,307 international trade visitors and a total of 1,507 exhibitors from 40 countries, so our new virtual summit can build upon a very successful real-life event.
“This includes the huge EuroBLECH community of sheet metal working professionals and technology providers that have attended or exhibited at our shows over the years. As such, the EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit gives industry specialists and buyers worldwide online access to this expert community, enabling them to witness true technological innovation and product launches, hear insider views about the latest market trends and opportunities, and use amazing matchmaking and meeting facilities, all online, to get back into business again.”
DISCOVER, CONNECT and LEARN: Virtual summit offers three-in-one experience
The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit is a four-day online trading, networking and webinar event for professionals from the entire sheet metal working technology chain. Visitors can virtually meet relevant technology suppliers, watch informative product presentations, follow talks and webinars on current industry issues, and ultimately source the best technical solutions for their manufacturing processes.
DISCOVER: Virtual Presentations in the Innovation Theatre, Product Showcases and Exhibitor Directory
The Virtual Presentation Theatre, also known as the Innovation Theatre, features 15-minute exhibitor presentations on their latest product innovations and technologies, followed by a live Q&A session. Virtual Product Showcases create a virtual stand experience and allow visitors to explore new products and services in more detail. The Exhibitor Directory offers an easy starting point to browse the full EuroBLECH exhibitor list by name. A simple click leads to further exhibitor information, including product showcases, product videos, contact information, and more.
CONNECT: Networking and Virtual Meetings with Suppliers
A new matchmaking system powered by the latest AI technology helps suppliers and buyers make smart networking decisions by suggesting relevant people to meet. Participants can tailor their networking activities by requesting and pre-scheduling their meetings before the event. Arranging for a meeting is very easy and intuitive, with no third-party software required.
LEARN: Daily Webinars on the latest industry and technology trends
A daily programme of webinars by industry experts provides an opportunity to gain useful insights into the latest market developments as well as technical expertise concerning new industry applications and solutions. A special series with focus on the sheet metal working industry in key geographical areas offers an in-depth analysis on the current challenges and strategies to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. All webinars feature short presentations, followed by a live Q&A session. Further details on topics and speakers will be published soon.
How the Covid-19 crisis sparks innovation in sheet metal working
The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit comes at a crucial time when sheet metal production has to deal with the massive impact of the global pandemic and its disruption to industrial production in general. The “new normal” requires companies to adapt to new regulations and restrictions, such as social distancing rules, and to master an increasingly volatile market with sudden drops and surges in demand. All this poses a huge challenge for an industry that traditionally operates with rather long lead times and complex supply chains.
“The key for post-crisis growth is agility, and this includes the knowledge and ability to find the right balance between just-in-time, lean inventory, and resilience,” explains Evelyn Warwick. “The industry will recover, but companies who want to survive and ultimately thrive really need to use the coming months to adapt and strengthen for the future. In fact, this crisis is a big moment for innovation, as barriers that once took years to overcome will become irrelevant within a matter of weeks, opening up new opportunities for those willing to adapt and meet shifting customer needs.”
Industry experts agree that the rise of formerly disruptive forces, in particular digitalisation, robotics and automation, has been significantly accelerated by the current crisis. The survival and long-term success of manufacturers will ultimately depend on how quickly they can deploy this new technology to boost their productivity and ensure full scalability of their operations.
“Digitalisation has certainly set the tone at the previous EuroBLECH 2018,” says Evelyn Warwick. “The last couple of years have brought noticeable technological advancement, and many exhibitors have already demonstrated how well the industry is prepared for digitalisation. At the same time, this technology is changing so fast that it is better to get engaged today and businesses start moving forward. The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit is the only virtual market place that offers the scope, range and professional network opportunities of a big trade event where the global sheet metal community can meet online, discuss their current situation and challenges, learn about the latest market developments, and source the new technology it needs to survive and flourish.“
Further information will be available over the coming weeks at www.euroblech.com/digitalsummit
Key Details for Participants:
The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit takes place online from 27 – 30 October 2020. The opening times are 8am to 4pm GMT. Visitor participation is free, and online visitor registration opens on 1st October 2020.
Mack Brooks Exhibitions Ltd
Tel: 01727 814400
MACH 2021 falls victim to Covid-19
Despite the sterling efforts of organiser the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) for the MACH 2021 exhibition to go ahead in January as planned, the UK’s largest manufacturing trade event has had to be rescheduled to April 2022.
With the continued uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and local lockdowns, the MTA decided to consult with its members and exhibitors who had booked a stand at MACH 2021 and gauge their opinion on whether to continue with MACH 2021 in January or carry forward to MACH 2022.
The overwhelming sentiment was that, in order to minimise the risks to visitors and exhibitors and to provide the best possible platform for both, the event should be moved to April 2022.
The event will be held in the same Halls at the NEC from 4th to 8th April 2022.
Roger Barber Publishing fully supports this move and will work hard to keep our readers fully informed about the advantages of the 2022 show.
MTA CEO James Selka says: “We believe that this decision, which has not been taken lightly, is in the best interests of the industry and those who work in it. Our first priority is, of course, the health and safety of the 30,000+ people who will visit and work at MACH.
“In addition, we believe that by moving MACH to April 2022, we will be able to offer a better experience for our visitors, and better value for our exhibitors, rather than holding it in January 2021 with the uncertainty that could still be with us. Add to this the Government’s recent announcement of a pause to the restart of live events and it was felt that a dateline in April 2022 was a much better option.
“In the meantime, visitors who planned to attend MACH 2021 to find out about new technology, look for new suppliers and research new trends will be able to utilise the existing MTA digital platforms. In addition, later this year, we will launch a new, virtual platform which we believe will perfectly complement the live show in 2022.
“We’re grateful to the NEC for working with us to facilitate this move and we look forward to welcoming visitors to MACH 2022 where they will be able to experience the best of modern manufacturing technology under one roof.”
All exhibitors booked for MACH in January 2021 have been offered the same space at the event being held on the new dates and the MTA is already in contact with exhibitors to discuss their participation. However, should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the organisers:
Cleaning up the industry during the pandemic with ROCOL
During the Covid-19 pandemic, a significant percentage of manufacturing industry has come to a rapid, but temporary production pause. For businesses that are strategically planning for the impending ramp-up of ‘post-pandemic’ work, now is the time to bring forward scheduled and preventative maintenance programs or implementing comprehensive housekeeping practices.
For these successful and forward-thinking companies taking this opportunity to remain productive, ROCOL has the industry’s most comprehensive range of cleaning products, housekeeping and preventative maintenance aerosol, fluid, oil and grease solutions in stock for all your needs. ROCOL appreciates that circumstances during such a challenging period are different for every business, but as a UK manufacturer, it is here to support UK industry with technical advice, solutions and of course a comprehensive range of ‘off-the-shelf’ products.
From the stable of cleaning products, ROCOL has a host of aerosol cleaning products to meet all your housekeeping challenges. The ROCOL Foam Cleaner Spray is already proving extremely popular. As a universal, fast-acting cleaning aerosol that is NSF A1 registered for use in the critically regulated food industry, the Foam Cleaner carves through dirt, grease and grime that resides on industrial machinery.
The Foam Cleaner is perfect for non-porous surfaces, is safe for use on most plastics, rubbers and painted surfaces and it is also Halal and Kosher certified. With a drip-free foam that prevents contamination and long contact time with the surface, the Foam Cleaner is perfect for any industrial application.
In instances where customers require a rapid drying solution, ROCOL has the perfect product with its 300 ml aerosol Industrial Cleaner Rapid Dry Spray. This product has a specially formulated blend of solvents that are designed to remove the most challenging greases and oils and workshop grime from all surface areas. As this product dries rapidly, it leaves no residue on the surface whether it be metal, plastic or painted.
For more aggressive cleaning applications, ROCOL has an extremely powerful, fast-acting multi-purpose Remover and Degreaser product. Suitable for use in inedible product processing, this powerhouse product is ideal for removing stubborn grease, oil, grime as well as adhesives and labels.
As a UK manufacturer of solutions for for all sectors of industry, ROCOL has several more specialised aerosol products including the Electra Clean Spray and the Stainless Steel Cleaner Spray. The Electra Clean Spray is an ultra-fast drying cleaner that is ideal when cleaning electronic equipment and components that may be in and around control panels, electric motors, electrical contacts and switches as well as food processing areas. Suitable for all electrical devices, the rapid evaporation characteristics of the Electra Clean Spray leaves no residue on work surfaces, leaving the equipment in your facility as clean as the day it was installed. Electrical equipment and circuitry are susceptible to being contaminated by airborne oil mist and dust. With the Electra Clean Spray, you now have a foolproof solution.
Equally impressive at removing grease, grime, oils and other stubborn marks are the Stainless-Steel Cleaner Spray. This product cuts through every conceivable contaminant to leave a clean, smear-free, polished surface that is also suitable for use in and around food processing areas. So, when you have finished cleaning all the stainless steel surfaces at your workplace, you’ll be so impressed that you will want to take this product home and wage your very own offensive upon all the stainless steel in your kitchen and garage.
All products in this portfolio incorporate ROCOL’s unique DETEX Technology, an X-ray and metal detectable plastic aerosol cap and actuator that reduces the risk of plastic contamination. Furthermore, these cleaning sprays and foams all meet the strictest of health and safety standards with all products meeting various NSF Standards. For manufacturers less well versed on NSF Standards, the NSF Product Certification assures suppliers, retailers, auditors and consumers that products from manufacturers such as ROCOL comply with specific standards for food safety and quality.
Hurco announces Covid-compliant Open House
The Hurco Open House in October 2020 will mark the official launch of the company’s new range of turning centres with driven tooling
New range of driven tool turning centres to be launched
Ongoing restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic have reduced opportunities for firms to show their latest products and technology to prospective customers. However, one machine tool company, Hurco Europe, has decided to help keep the wheels of industry moving by staging an open house on 20th, 21st and 22nd October 2020. It will be held in its showroom located at 12 Merlin Centre, Lancaster Road, Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe, HP12 3TB. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Barbara Rozanska on 01494 442222 or email@example.com
Managing director David Waghorn comments: “We are very fortunate to have moved 12 months ago into a spacious new facility with a clean, well ventilated demonstration area covering 500 square metres. So, we feel it is safe to hold an open house subject to the strict rules stipulated below.
“All of the machine demonstrations that were originally planned for MACH 2020 will be set up on the nine vertical machining centres and three CNC lathes that are currently on show.”
The Open House will mark the official launch of a new range of Hurco driven-tool CNC lathes, represented by the TM8Mi with 12 axially-driven VDI 30 DIN1809 tool locations and a new servo-drive that offers high performance milling. Coupled with Hurco’s control with renowned conversational programming, these turning centres make production of one-offs and small volumes an attractive prospect.
The following rules will be in force to maintain compliance with the UK government’s latest safety guidelines. Attendance is strictly by appointment only and a maximum of six people per company may attend, including one sales engineer and one applications engineer. Visitors from no more than three companies will be allowed in the showroom at a time and a one-way system will be in force. Barriers will be in place two metres distant from the machines being demonstrated. There will be hand sanitising stations available for use and every visitor will be given a Hurco-branded facemask and an individually packed lunch.
All machines on show will be available for purchase at special ex-demonstration prices and will be eligible for free delivery to customers throughout the whole of Britain and Ireland. If manufacturers are unable to travel to the Open House, Hurco will organise remote demonstrations via Microsoft Teams or TeamViewer.
Clean air from just £0.26 per employee per day
There’s not much you can buy for £0.26 these days, but it can buy you a breath of fresh air!
Leading industrial air cleaning specialist Filtermist Systems Ltd’s brand-new ATLAS service programme aims to make it as hassle free as possible for UK manufacturers to ensure their employees are breathing clean, safe air.
From as little as £0.26 per employee per day, based on a facility with 25 employees, with up to 10 Filtermist units requiring four site visits per year in a Bronze contract.
Filtermist can provide a bespoke service that includes routine and reactive maintenance, and thorough examination and testing (TExT) for Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) systems, so employers can be confident they’re protecting their workforce from hazardous airborne contaminants and operating in compliance with relevant HSE regulations including COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health).
COSHH regulations require all LEV systems to be thoroughly examined and tested by a competent person at least once every 14 months, sometimes as frequently as once every month depending on the nature of the application.
“The current situation resulting from COVID-19 means cashflow is even higher on the agenda for most businesses than usual,” comments UK LEV and Service sales manager, Carl Latham. “ATLAS is designed to make it more manageable for customers to ensure they’re ticking that all important box of protecting their people and remaining compliant with HSE and Environment Agency Regulations, whilst keeping an eye on the bottom line.”
Signing up to an ATLAS contract also means customers no longer have to remember to book regular services and LEV tests. This is all handled by Filtermist’s dedicated service team.
The ATLAS programme includes packages tailored for oil mist, dust, fume and spray LEV systems across three service levels: bronze, silver and gold, enabling customers to choose the best option for their specific requirements. Each level can be paid for annually, quarterly, or monthly under contracts with periods that vary between 12 and 36 months, depending on the customer’s requirements.
All packages include service visits, an annual LEV test, a dedicated account manager and a 24hour response time for all breakdowns. Silver and gold levels offer additional benefits including weekend callouts, breakdown voucher visits, and even filter consumables in some cases.
“The name ATLAS comprises the first letter of each word that this service includes: Agreement for TExT of LEV, Aftersales and Service, meaning support/prop,” continues Carl Latham. “This is particularly fitting, as this is exactly what the ATLAS service aims to do, support our customers to ensure they provide clean air for their workforce with no admin headaches.”
Full details including a breakdown of each service level can be found at https://www.filtermist.co.uk/filter-servicing-and-spares/.
Established in Shropshire in 1969, Filtermist’s ethos is to protect people by ensuring cleaner, safer, more productive working environments. The company, part of the Swedish Absolent Group, provides an extensive range of products and services designed to ensure the air in production facilities is free from contaminants such as oil mist, oil smoke, dust, fume and VOCs. If left in the atmosphere airborne particles can be hazardous to health and can pose a fire and slip risk.
Filtermist is best known for manufacturing a range of compact, quiet and efficient oil mist filters which are trusted by world leading manufacturers in more than 60 countries.
In the UK, Filtermist offers a turnkey service that includes initial consultation and project planning, extraction system design, specification, equipment manufacture and supply, installation and commissioning.
Recent acquisitions mean the company is now responsible for a number of product brands in addition to Filtermist oil mist filters. These include Dustcheck process filters, venting filters and dust collectors, Gallito paint finishing solutions, FastClip ducting, XS Automation control panels and Ecogate energy saving technology.
Filtermist is also the UK distributor for sister company Absolent AB and offers comprehensive aftersales services including filtration consumables, COSHH compliant LEV testing, air monitoring and extraction system maintenance throughout the UK.
Hanwha sliding heads are breathing life into Ventilator Challenge
With the sudden ramp-up of the ‘VentilatorChallengeUK’ project to battle the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Dugard Machine Tools has witnessed an unprecedented surge in enquiries and sales with its Hanwha range of sliding head turning centres.
As manufacturers up and down the country switch production output to machining small turned components for the Ventilator Challenge UK, the attributes of the Hanwha range is genuinely coming to the fore. The Hanwha XE Series is the latest generation in a well-established and successful line of rigid, productive, robust and extremely flexible turning centres. The Hanwha XE35 is particularly enjoying success during this challenging period.
The compact heavy-duty machine is the largest in the XE Series, with the facility to turn bars up to 35 mm diameter within its compact 2.3 by 1.2 by 1.7 m footprint. The rigid 2,750 kg machine is the perfect platform for machining hard materials and undertaking high-volume material removal. This is demonstrated by the vibration dampening heavy cast construction and the strong and rigid tool post that all combine to create a platform for unsurpassed surface finishes and enhanced tool life.
The remarkably capable and flexible Hanwha XE35 has a powerful 2.2/5 kW main spindle motor and a 1.5/2.2 kW sub-spindle motor, both achieving a maximum spindle speed of 6,500 rpm. The high-torque spindle motors are matched by the powerful and intuitive Hanwha software, the FANUC-0i CNC Control and the gear type modular live tooling configuration.
The tooling configuration combines power, rigidity and flexibility with 18 tooling positions that provide simultaneous front and rear spindle machining through a platen of five fixed tools and four driven tools in the X1-axis with another four driven tools on the Z2-axis plane, one on the Z1-axis that is accompanied by an additional four tool stations for boring, drilling and the machining of other internal features. All live tooling positions offer a high spindle speed of 6,000 rpm with a 1 kW spindle motor. The modular gear type live tooling configuration is an innovative design that generates exceptional torque levels for heavy drilling and milling cycles.
The axes stroke of the impressive Hanwha XE35 is particularly spacious with 210 mm in the Z1-axis, 62 mm in the X1-axis, 340 mm in the Y1-axis, 205 mm in Z2 and 312 mm in X2.
The impressive Hanwha XE35 is available with the H, J, N and NE configurations to open a world of opportunities to end-users. The H and N variants have been designated as guide-bush and non-guide bush options to provide differing bar turning length, capacity and setup configurations within the work area for the end-user. In addition, the Hanwha XE35 is also offered with the J and NE variants. Unlike the H and N variants, these models offer four static tool positions in the Z2 axis as opposed to two driven and two static positions on the H and N models.
For further details on how this impressive line of productive and robust machines can transform your production output, contact:
3T and EOS 3D print 100,000+ face shields for frontline UK healthcare staff
3T-am, a leading production additive manufacturing (AM) company, is utilising EOS’ global partner ecosystem to 3D print face shield headbands for frontline health workers in the UK.
3T is now producing 20,000 headbands per week and this will exceed 100,000 within the next few weeks. The face shields are being used by frontline workers, across the NHS and UK healthcare system, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
During times of such uncertainty, manufacturers are under increasing pressure to deliver essential products and services. It has arguably never been more important for a flexible and efficient supply chain. 3D printing allows for tens of thousands of high-quality parts to be produced in a matter of weeks, for when people need them most.
3T is working directly with NHS trusts across the UK, as well as various medical distribution companies to supply face shields to UK health workers. 3T has also provided the CAD for free, available to download from its website.
Daniel France, chief commercial officer at 3T says: “We’ve already seen countless examples of how 3D printing is helping people stay protected and fight the virus globally. It was of paramount importance for us, as a business, to play a role in this and that’s why we are manufacturing these for as low a cost as we can to support.
“Working closely with our partners, we’ve been able to produce tens of thousands of parts using EOS’ powder-based 3D printing technology, which ensures frontline health workers are protected. The demand is far greater than one company can provide, but we will continue to do as much as we can to add to the supply.”
This coincides with 3D printing technology supplier EOS launching an online platform to support the fight against COVID-19, bringing together the wider-3D printing community. The aim of the 3DAgainstCorona hub and its corresponding LinkedIn group is to share knowledge, data and downloadable files that could be used to combat the virus. The site will be updated on a regular basis.
Markus Glasser, senior vice president EMEA at EOS says: “Improving lives through 3D printing has always been our aspiration. The current pandemic now calls for a joint approach, more than ever before. Today, we are asking all supporters to join us in tackling the challenges that lay ahead. Let’s continue to think differently and push the boundaries of what is possible. We are extremely proud to work alongside so many brilliant minds inside and outside of EOS who are developing and delivering critical solutions for those in need.”
Trelleborg supplies Boeing with component for 3D-printed face shields
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, an established provider of solutions to Boeing’s aircraft, is supplying a face shield component to the aerospace manufacturer as it joins the urgent effort to assist medical workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Boeing approached Trelleborg at the end of March 2020 to manufacture and supply an elastomer strap needed for the adjustable headband of 3D printed face shields. The Trelleborg Sealing Solutions dedicated aerospace facility in Northborough, Massachusetts, supported a 48-hour turnaround of prototypes using methodologies including 3D printing. The following week, the site was able to ramp up production to 5000 straps per week.
Quinn Collett, air frame manager, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Aerospace, says: “In these unprecedented times, it’s imperative everyone plays a role that might not be in line with the one they are used to. We were fortunate to receive the call from Boeing to support this effort and leverage Trelleborg’s expertise to quickly address the need.”
Boeing plans to produce face shields using its additive manufacturing machines at various sites across the US. Boeing is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on this effort. FEMA will determine where the face shields are most needed.
The elastomer straps provided are manufactured from aerospace grade silicone. After a few fit trials, Boeing and Trelleborg were able to lock in the final released design.
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is one of the world’s leading developers, manufacturers and suppliers of precision seals, bearings and custom-molded polymer components. It focuses on meeting the most demanding needs of aerospace, automotive and general industrial customers, including those from the pharmaceutical industry, with innovative solutions. Its network extends to over 25 production facilities and more than 50 marketing companies globally. The business area accelerates the progress of its customers through outstanding local support, an unrivalled product range including patented products and proprietary materials, a portfolio of established brands, unique process offerings, its ServicePLUS value chain solution and ‘Ease of Doing Business’ philosophy.
Trelleborg is a world leader in engineered polymer solutions that seal, damp and protect critical applications in demanding environments. Its innovative solutions accelerate performance for customers in a sustainable way. The Trelleborg Group has annual sales of about SEK 37 billion (EUR 3.46 billion, USD 3.87 billion) and operations in about 50 countries. The Group comprises three business areas: Trelleborg Industrial Solutions; Trelleborg Sealing Solutions; Trelleborg Wheel Systems, as well as a reporting segment Business Under Development.
Export boom lands Queen’s Award for Arrowsmith Engineering
Left to right: Jason Aldridge and Steve Jackson, CNC programmer at Arrowsmith Engineering
A Coventry-based aerospace supplier that has pivoted to supply critical parts for ventilators is celebrating after it received the Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Arrowsmith Engineering, which employs 76 people at its Bayton Road factory, secured the prestigious accolade after it recorded a 996 percent increase in export activity over the last three years, supplying precision components to global manufacturers including Rolls-Royce, GKN, ITP and Siemens.
The company’s parts are used in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frames, with recent wins seeing sales rise to £7.6 million and investment in the latest CNC robotics paving the way for 10 percent growth in 2020.
Bosses at the firm believe the Queen’s Award will play an important role in further expansion in Brazil, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.
“This is the highest honour a company can achieve and is a fitting tribute to the strides we have made to become a global aerospace supplier,” explains managing director Jason Aldridge.
“To be able to display the Queen’s Award logo on our letterhead, in marketing material and across all of our communication channels will be a massive boost to our business and will definitely generate new opportunities in overseas markets.
“Importantly, the award is a massive thank you to our staff, who continue to go above and beyond in meeting the exacting standards of the aerospace sector, and in recent weeks, the NHS ventilator push.”
Arrowsmith Engineering, which is part of the Aero Services Global Group, has been lending its manufacturing expertise to support the frontline fight against COVID-19 after being invited by Rolls-Royce Control Systems and Rolls-Royce in Derby to join their ventilator supply chains.
Despite having 25 percent of shop floor staff self-isolating, the company responded immediately to the nationwide effort by creating a dedicated team to produce prototype and production parts for the Smiths ventilator assembly line.
In total, more than 60,000 ventilator components have been delivered and a further order has now been placed to manufacture prototype parts for a new type of ventilator currently undergoing testing.
“Our team are working two, 12-hour shifts every day and night to deliver the volumes expected, with all of the initial parts now supplied and being assembled,” continues Jason Aldridge, who is also chairman of the Coventry & Warwickshire Aerospace Forum (CWAF).
“This has been a phenomenal effort by everyone involved and we have successfully been able to transfer our precision aerospace engineering knowledge to create the necessary tooling and tolerances required for life-saving parts.
“All of this has been carried out with the Government’s social distancing measures in place, hence splitting the shifts in two and ensuring that 85 percent of office staff are set up to work from home. Our staff are fantastic and we have to protect them as well as supporting the NHS.”
Arrowsmith Engineering is a specialist in precision turning, milling, thread rolling and grinding, providing components to aerospace tier 1s and primes in titanium, nimonics, stainless steel, exotic metal and engineering plastics.
The company has also recently been awarded the ADS SC21 Silver Award for delivering world class manufacturing performance, with ‘On Time in Full’ at 98.5 percent and quality running at 99.95 percent for the past twelve months.
Motivational time has united manufacturing industry
Edward James, managing director, Citizen Machinery UK Ltd
In the opinion of Citizen Machinery UK’s managing director Edward James, the Covid-19 pandemic has united the whole of the manufacturing sector to an extent never seen before in terms of the levels of selfless application by huge numbers of people to boost production of much-needed medical equipment. In this article he describes how the company he runs, a turning solution provider, is contributing in the battle to deliver more ventilators to the front line in hospitals:
Citizen became involved early on when it was contacted by the UK government’s consortium for ventilator production, which became known as Ventilator Challenge UK. The committee included representatives from the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) and Renishaw, who identified Citizen as the largest supplier of bar automatics in the UK and Ireland. This type of machine tool, especially the sliding-head variety with turn-milling capability, is critical to the rapid, efficient manufacture of components in very high volumes for making the extra ventilators needed by the NHS, 30,000 being the current target.
Accordingly, Citizen was given critical supplier status for the medical as well as the aerospace and defence sectors, although priority is being given to medical applications and is the only one being serviced at the moment.
At the outset, the government was considering building a factory to make ventilators parts and assemble them. However, we and others advising them suggested that the best route would be to enlist the help of the existing pool of first-class manufacturers and their supply chains already using our lathes and production equipment from other leading machine tool suppliers.
I gave them a list of about 50 companies that use Citizen turning centres, choosing firms that operate sufficient numbers of machines, hold ISO accreditation and have the right level of expertise and metrology capability. We knew many of them already make ventilator parts as well as similar types of medical and non-medical parts out of both normal materials and special alloys.
We had told all of our customers via social media that Citizen Machinery UK was still open for business and continuing to operate under government guidelines to support customers and prioritise any request for help in producing medical components.
Nearly all of the recommended contacts were approached by multinational firms, including Rolls-Royce, GKN and BAe, appointed by Ventilator Challenge UK to oversee supply chain management from purchasing through to ventilator assembly. The manufacturers were asked to change over their production to machining medical components and they immediately agreed to do so. As many of the firms recognised that additional capacity would be needed, it triggered multiple orders for new Citizen bar automatics from several companies and from additional manufacturers that became involved in the initiative through word-of-mouth recommendation.
In just over three weeks to mid-April 2020, 17 machines were prepared and delivered from stock, all of which are devoted to the production of medical parts. Transport is provided by Citizen’s dedicated team, J Parrish & Son, and for the rest of April sliding-head lathe deliveries are running at one per day. Extraordinarily, each is commissioned and operating on a customer’s shop floor in approximately 36 hours from receipt of the order, such is the urgency. Overlaid on this already hectic workload is a significant amount of re-purposing of existing turn-mill centres in the field to manufacture medical equipment.
There are examples of Citizen lathes having been reconfigured for making metal parts that are normally produced from stampings, forgings and castings. By far the largest proportion of resetting, however, has involved writing programs and providing tooling packages for turn-milling large quantities of plastic components from bar that are normally injection moulded, such as tubing connectors for ventilators. Often they are supplied from overseas, including China, but deliveries may have either stopped or the numbers available are insufficient.
The six-week lead-time to produce a new injection mould tool is too long; the parts are needed much faster than that. Our multi-axis sliding-head bar autos are ideal for turning such components at both ends and milling and drilling them in the same cycle so they come off complete, without the need for special fixturing and with minimal material wastage.
It needs a lot of work to identify parts that can be re-engineered in this way and then re-purpose a lathe to make them. A significant amount of CAD effort is required, plus complex CAM programming and post-processing.
Our applications department has been doing a lot of this in-house and at our customers’ factories, outsourcing what it cannot handle. One of our applications engineers has been working pro bono at a customer’s site for three weeks to help out with re-engineering medical components due to staff shortage.”
There are several reasons for Citizen fortunately finding itself in a good position to ship such a large number of lathes at short notice. One was the opening last year of a new turning centre of excellence in Brierley Hill with a showroom containing many demonstration machines. These, together with those on show at the Bushey headquarters, are available on short delivery.
The company in any case has a policy of supplying its machines and accessories from UK stock and more were available than usual, as extra had been brought in due to the possibility of a hard Brexit. Additional machines were in the UK, including some of the very latest models, ready to be shown at the now-postponed MACH exhibition.
Moreover, a bull run of sales had led to a backorder book of about eight weeks, with turning centres that were nearly ready for delivery able to be re-purposed at short notice and diverted urgently to medical component manufacturers. The original machine packages are being replaced from stock.
Naturally, these activities are only possible with healthy Citizen staff to implement them. Seeing the speed with which Covid-19 was spreading, we had pre-empted government advice by putting on hold in February all overseas travel, isolating the Bushey and Brierley Hill centres to avoid movement between them, and instigating working from home where feasible. The result is that of the 56 members of staff, 20 are furloughed but the other 36 are able to work, including all of the applications engineers, half of the service staff and many back office support personnel.
I am told that most of the turned parts have already been manufactured for the 30,000 extra ventilators, which is testament to the effort put in by us, other lathe suppliers and an army of willing and capable manufacturers in Britain and Ireland.
I would like to offer a big thank you to all our staff and suppliers who are helping to make this happen. Everyone is volunteering to work tirelessly around the clock, at weekends and even through their holidays.”
When the country finally comes through the pandemic, Citizen Machinery UK will find itself in a stronger position than previously as he predicts that demand for new machines will grow. It will be due to companies that are acquiring modern sliding-head turn-mill centres now, where in normal circumstances they would not have done so for several years, recognising earlier the benefits of the tighter tolerances and better surface finishes achievable compared with using their older lathes.
Additionally, most of the new turning centres currently being supplied have Citizen’s proprietary LFV programmable chipbreaking software built into the control’s operating system. Manufacturers are seeing the productivity benefits of this technology when machining traditionally long-chipping materials such as plastics, stainless steel and titanium.
Photo caption 1:
Photo caption 2:
Renishaw ramps up production of ventilator components
Global engineering company, Renishaw has started mass-producing critical components for medical ventilators, as part of a nationwide effort to support the NHS in the fight against Covid-19. The company has dedicated a significant part of its manufacturing sites in Gloucestershire and South Wales to produce precision-machined components for two different ventilators manufactured by the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, with production at the sites now running seven days a week. This follows a huge effort from the project, manufacturing engineering and production teams over the last two weeks.
Like many companies across the UK, Renishaw reacted to the UK government’s call to radically increase ventilator production to treat coronavirus patients suffering with respiratory complications. Tens of thousands of these complex machines are needed in just a few weeks.
Marc Saunders, director of group strategic development, who is leading Renishaw’s response, explains: “When the government called, we scrambled to respond and immediately realised the daunting scale of the challenge. Ventilators are sophisticated medical devices and we felt that our capabilities would be best applied to helping scale up the production of designs with existing technologies. We soon realised that many other industrial companies were thinking the same way and that we would need our combined capacity and capabilities to achieve this enormous endeavour.”
Within a few days, Renishaw joined with leading companies in the aerospace, automotive, medical devices and motorsport sectors to form the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, under the leadership of Dick Elsy, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. This diverse team is working non-stop to boost production of two proven ventilators, selected by the NHS and manufactured in the UK by Penlon and Smiths Medical.
Dick Elsy explains: “Penlon and Smiths ordinarily have combined capacity of between 50 and 60 ventilators per week. However, thanks to the scale and resources of the wider consortium, we are targeting production of at least 1,500 units a week of the Penlon and Smiths models combined within a matter of weeks. Ventilators are intricate and highly complex pieces of medical equipment and it is vital that we balance the twin imperatives of speed of delivery with the absolute adherence to regulatory standards that is needed to ensure patient safety.”
Within this context, Renishaw’s manufacturing activities form part of a complex network of suppliers that the consortium is coordinating, many of whom, like Renishaw, are making ventilator components for the first time. Mass-production of ventilators, each of which comprises hundreds of diverse components, requires millions of parts to come together for assembly, a huge logistical operation.
“To prepare for the important work that we are undertaking, both for the ventilator project and our global customers in critical supply chains, we temporarily closed our UK manufacturing facilities last week to introduce additional measures to protect the welfare of our employees”, explains Gareth Hankins, director of group manufacturing services at Renishaw.
“We have reorganised our factories to increase spacing, as well as zoning areas to restrict movement around the sites. Hygiene regimes have also been enhanced to minimise the potential risk of the spread of infection. Our staff have responded magnificently to this challenging situation and it is wonderful to see the factories back up and running and for us to be playing our part in the national Ventilator Challenge.”
Marc Saunders reflects: “It has been an extraordinary few weeks, with so many companies from different fields aligning on a single goal and pulling together so effectively and so quickly. The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium is working together with incredible determination and energy to scale up production of much-needed ventilators and combat a virus that is affecting people around the world.
“The consortium’s key message is that ‘Every ventilator produced is a life saved’ and Renishaw is proud to be playing its part in this vital endeavour.”
UK-based Renishaw is a world leading engineering technologies company, supplying products used for applications as diverse as jet engine and wind turbine manufacture, through to dentistry and brain surgery. It has over 4,500 employees located in the 36 countries where it has wholly owned subsidiary operations.
For the year ended June 2019 Renishaw recorded sales of £574 million of which 94 percent was due to exports. The company’s largest markets are the USA, China, Japan and Germany.
Throughout its history, Renishaw has made a significant commitment to research and development, with historically between 13 and 18 percent of annual sales invested in R&D and engineering. The majority of this R&D and manufacturing of the company’s products is carried out in the UK.
The company’s success has been recognised with numerous international awards, including eighteen Queen’s Awards recognising achievements in technology, export and innovation.
Hoffmann launches remote consultation service during COVID-19 outbreak
Hoffmann Group UK, Europe’s leading system partner for quality tools, workstations and personal protective equipment (PPE), has announced the launch of its remote consultation offering to support manufacturers keeping the UK running during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Using a suite of digital technologies, such as Microsoft Teams and Skype, manufacturers can enlist the support of a specialist consultant remotely. With the aid of these technologies, manufacturers can bring the consultant directly into their existing workspaces to make bespoke recommendations in areas such as material types and machining optimisation, driving greater levels of efficiency on the factory floor across various fields of manufacture, such as aerospace and automotive.
Tim Paddison, managing director of Hoffmann Group UK, says: “Like many organisations, we have had to assess how we can best maintain service levels to customers during this unprecedented situation. The manufacturing industry has a crucial role to play in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, assisting the emergency production of ventilators for the NHS being a prime example.
“Our industry is simultaneously among the hardest-hit by the outbreak and one being relied upon to provide the solutions needed to keep the UK both safe and working. With the challenges facing the sector, it has never been more crucial for us to come together and create new, innovative ways to share our expertise with each other and ensure our industry can overcome present disruption and not just survive, but thrive, in the months to come.”
Through this service, Hoffmann supports manufacturers in both refining their existing processes and creating new specifications and workflows that optimise both efficiency and productivity.
The remote consultation service is now open to all manufacturing businesses that are continuing to operate throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and provide additional support in areas such as pivoting to ventilator production. These businesses will be able to benefit from experienced consultants’ extensive knowledge base around how best to adapt existing machinery and equipment to produce components that will be used in medical equipment.
Feasibly, a substantial majority of manufacturers across the industry can effectively pivot to new areas such as ventilator production. However, barriers currently exist for many in the form of lack of access to the correct tools and technical expertise, as well as field-specific knowledge gaps around required material types and working methodologies.
For more information, visit https://www.hoffmann-group.com/GB/en/houk/
Hoffmann Group UK is the fully owned UK subsidiary of the Hoffmann Group. As Europe’s leading system partner for quality tools, the Hoffmann Group combines commercial expertise with both manufacturing and service competence. That combination provides the company’s 135,000+ customers with certainty of supply, assured quality and enhanced productivity in meeting their needs for tooling, workstations and storage and personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition to machining, clamping, measuring, grinding and cutting tools, Hoffmann’s portfolio also comprises hand tools, occupational safety equipment, workstations and storage, and workshop articles.
Customers include large stock market listed corporations, as well as small and medium-sized companies in more than 50 countries. The Hoffmann Group offers 85,000 quality tools from the top global manufacturers, including its own in-house GARANT premium brand. With comprehensive customer service in all regions and offering a TÜV-certified delivery quality rating of over 99 percent, the Munich-based tooling specialist is a reliable and efficient partner to its customers. With around 3,700 employees, the Hoffmann Group achieved a turnover of over 1.4 billion euros in 2018.
Tel: 0121 716 4301
Airbus to produce 3D-printed hospital visors in fight against Covid19
The majority of Airbus sites in Spain have joined forces to produce 3D printed visor frames, providing healthcare personnel with individual protection equipment in the fight against Covid-19.
More than twenty 3D printers are working day and night. Hundreds of visors have already been produced and dispatched to hospitals close to the Airbus facilities in Spain. Airbus leverages a patented design to manufacture the visor frames, using PLA plastics.
“One of the reasons I love my job is the capability we have for advanced design and quick manufacture. Overnight, we have gone from making aerospace concepts to medical equipment. This genuinely makes a difference in the fight against the pandemic and I couldn’t be prouder of our teams working day and night on this Airbus project,” said Alvaro Jara, Head of Airbus Protospace, in Getafe, Madrid.
Despite the pause of the majority of production at Airbus’ sites in Spain following the Royal Decree of 29 March, Airbus employees are allowed on site to continue with this essential activity. In addition, Airbus in Germany also joined the project. The Airbus Protospace Germany and the Airbus Composite Technology Centre (CTC) in Stade, together with the 3D-printing network named “Mobility goes Additive,” are now supporting this project in Spain, also coordinating the collection and transport of visors to the Madrid region.
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2019, it generated revenues of € 70 billion and employed a workforce of around 135,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.