Public vote of confidence for UK manufacturing
The UK public stands firmly behind the manufacturing sector to support the UK and protect the NHS through coronavirus and into the future.
Almost three in four (74 percent) of the UK public believe that the manufacturing sector stepped up to meet the challenge of supporting the UK as coronavirus took a grip on the nation in March 2020. The same number of respondents believe that a strategic long-term plan for helping UK manufacturing to be more productive and competitive will help insulate us from future pandemics and go some way to protect UK GDP, of which manufacturing contributes over 17 percent. Furthermore, 75 percent of the UK public believe more strongly in the importance of the UK manufacturing as a result of coronavirus.
The research, conducted among 2,000 adults by Populus* for industrial communications firm Cadence Innovation Marketing, also found that nearly eight in ten people (76 percent) are concerned about cheap imported goods in the wake of coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and resulted in many UK factories switching production to medical devices and products in a bid to help the NHS cope. Manufacturing has taken a central role in the unfolding drama and rarely in recent times has it been the subject of so much media and public attention.
Tom Spencer, MD at Cadence says: “Our snapshot poll sought to delve deeper into what’s behind the media commentary by asking a representative sample of over 2000 UK adults for their opinion on a range of topics raised by coronavirus. The results offer an insight into changing public opinion about the importance and relevance of UK manufacturing”.
More than two in three of those questioned believe that the UK manufacturing sector has risen to the challenge of coronavirus, with just 6 percent disagreeing with them. “This huge public vote of confidence in our often beleaguered and under-supported sector is just one of several remarkable statistics thrown up by our research” adds Tom Spencer.
The study, which was carried out in early May 2020, clearly shows that the UK public has swung behind UK industry at a time when many manufacturers have stepped up to support the nation and its much-loved health service.
Steve Brambley, CEO, GAMBICA says: “The result shows that there is a genuine opportunity for the UK to open a new page in its history as it embarks on the era of digital transformation that will define it for generations to come. It remains to be seen if the pandemic itself, resultant global economic turmoil, and Brexit will distract or divert resources away from an environment that will support the regeneration of UK industry, but this poll makes one thing abundantly clear: the people of the UK stand firmly behind our industry and believe strongly in its future.”
The Annual Attitudes to UK Industry study is a series of snapshot polls and in-depth research culminating in an annual report to be presented to the media. Cadence Innovation Marketing works with leading organisations across industry and has sponsored the study’s launch to help keep communications surrounding the sector’s importance and contribution to the economy front of mind. More information is available at www.attitudestoukindustry.co.uk
Cadence Innovation Marketing
Tel: 020 7043 8847
Erie Press Systems Merges with Ajax-CECO
Acquisition creates the largest forging equipment supplier in North America
North American manufacturers now have a one-stop, expedited domestic source for forging equipment as a result of the June 2019 acquisition of Erie Press Systems with Ajax-CECO under parent company Park Ohio.
Park Ohio’s acquisition of Erie Press Systems adds hydraulic press and stretch forming equipment to its already impressive selection of mechanical and hammer forging presses offered under the Ajax-CECO brand. By manufacturing and supporting all three brands, Park Ohio effectively becomes the largest forging equipment manufacturer in North America.
“By acquiring Erie Press Systems, we have expanded our engineering, manufacturing and service capabilities, can control costs more effectively and benefit from economies of scale when working with our core suppliers,” says Ken Copeland, president of Ajax-CECO. “The goal is to become a one-stop provider of new, rebuilt and remanufactured equipment for a variety of traditional and advanced forging applications, along with providing full service and timely support.”
According to Ken Copeland, part of the appeal of the acquisition is that Erie Press Systems’ extensive hydraulic press capabilities perfectly complement the equipment offered by Ajax-CECO.
Erie Press Systems has a long history, dating back to 1895, when the company originally began as the Erie Foundry Company. Today the company offers a line of standard mechanical forge presses as well as hydraulic presses for a variety of applications including forging (closed die, open die, and ring preforming), metal forming, carbon extrusion, composite presses and stretch forming machines, as well as support for a legacy line of forging hammers.
“Combined, the three companies have been in existence for more than 350 years,” explains Ken Copeland. “That means we can make equipment, parts, support and service for all three brands more readily available from a single source here in North America, while also increasing our ability to compete with overseas providers.”
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Lantek’s revenues continue to grow
Lantek, a world leader in software and solutions for the sheet metal and fabrication industries, maintained its strength as an international benchmark and pioneer in the digital transformation of the sector after reaching a turnover of 19.25 million euros in fiscal year 2018, which was a 10 percent increase when compared to the previous fiscal year. Its client base continued to grow, with 1,886 new clients increasing its total client portfolio to 21,884, in over 100 countries on five continents. In Spain, the number of customers was around 2,000 and turnover was 2.72 million euros.
The company presented its results at the International Meeting 2019, which the company holds with its employees and distributors every year and where the previous year is assessed and the guidelines and business objectives that will mark the organisation’s strategy for the next few years are presented. The strategy is geared to consolidate Lantek as a benchmark in the metalworking market.
The 2018 results reflect the consolidation of its international business, which represents 86 percent of the company’s revenue. The markets that progressed best last year were Germany, with 32 percent growth, followed by China with +30.7 percent, where the company is number one for laser machine manufacturers and the US with 11.3 percent growth. Other countries such as Spain +10.6 percent, France, and Italy also showed significant growth compared to last year.
“For another year running, Lantek demonstrated its international calling with very positive results in markets as competitive and digitalised as Germany, China, and the US. International projection and continuous growth in the number of clients and its product portfolio allowed the company to have sustained development, resulting in a solid financial position that allows it to take on the growth necessary to face the new challenges of Industry 4.0,” states Alberto López de Biñaspre, Lantek CEO.
The results demonstrate that the company, which employs 244 people around the world, is on the right track. Last year the company grew by over 30 people, 16 percent more than the previous fiscal year. The significant increase in personnel over the course of the last year was mainly due to the company’s strong commitment to strengthening leadership and supporting the digital transformation of the sector, as well as its expectation of greater growth in coming years.
Evolution of the product portfolio and digital transformation of the sector
There was a notable 40 percent increase in the Digital Transformation (Solutions) division, where Lantek accompanies its clients on the road to Industry 4.0. Its advanced manufacturing solutions offer comprehensive management of the plant and the company as a whole in a connected environment. This strong progress shows that the change is real in many markets and confirms the company’s commitment to digitalisation. In this regard, countries with governmental support for initiatives associated with the fourth industrial revolution are notable. These include, once again, Germany with an increase of 94 percent, countries like South Korea, Poland and France with growth of 50 percent and the US with 25 percent growth.
Overall growth for the business line dedicated to machinery manufacturers (Channel) was 12 percent.
Cooperation between machinery manufacturers and Lantek consolidated and reinforced the provision of CAM-generated data for use in management systems (MES, quoting, traceability) and analytics. This drove the development of this product line so that it would be ready for an increasingly open environment which can be easily integrated, enabling Lantek to reach more partners.
The new applications offered in the digital realm included Lantek’s launch last year of several systems developed on a cloud storage and data management platform using the most modern security techniques for data protection. The Cloud-based Lantek 360 suite incorporates four new solutions into Lantek’s current portfolio of products: Lantek Analytics (data analysis for in-plant decision making), Lantek iQuoting (tool for preparing quotes), Lantek MetalShop (an online metal part shop), and Lantek Control Panel (data viewing and analysis in real time). With Lantek software, sheet metal manufacturers and metalworking companies can improve the customer experience and establish a closer relationship with their customers, maximising production performance and profitability.
“The industrial sector is taking on the challenge of the digital transformation. Lantek, one of the driving forces behind Industry 4.0, wants to help companies in the sheet metal and fabrication sector with digitalisation, adapting to their needs and different levels of digital maturity, offering solutions to make Smart Factories a reality,” continues Alberto López de Biñaspre. “Our offer of a cloud platform responds to the challenges posed by the digital transformation, making production processes much more efficient.”
Last year 2.56 million euros were allocated to R&D+i investment, a figure well above the sector average and 38 percent higher than the previous year. This innovative power has been focused on the launch of new advanced manufacturing solutions to support sectors such as auto, aeronautics, energy, shipbuilding, agriculture, boiler making, metal construction, steelmaking, air conditioning, metal furniture, and distribution, amongst others.
“The Lantek team will be key to maintaining our organization’s leadership position. In order to achieve this, we’ll need to develop a corporate culture that sets the team at the heart of its strategy, one that is able to draw potential from legacy and experience and combine it with new talent and new ways of thinking. This will allow us to achieve our mission for the next few years: to assist companies in the sheet metal sector with digitalisation, making us their ideal partner in the new challenges posed by advanced manufacturing and the processes involved in converting their plants into Smart Factories,” explains Alberto López de Biñaspre. “Innovation is part of our DNA. Without it we wouldn’t be what we are today, a multinational company united by a fundamental principle of customer orientation. This principle affords us the degree of independence and autonomy necessary to ensure that our customers are offered the most appropriate solutions, regardless of the moment in time or the level of maturity of their business,” he concludes.
SMEs predict best sales in three years
Small to medium-sized manufacturers (SMEs) must improve productivity by unlocking ‘their own hidden potential’ if sales and profits growth are to meet expectations, according to the latest National Manufacturing Barometer.
The quarterly survey, which is conducted by SWMAS (part of Exelin Group) in partnership with Economic Growth Solutions (EGS), invited 320 manufacturing industry leaders to discuss performance, with a special focus on productivity and the extent to which it is engrained in manufacturing business culture.
An overwhelming majority of respondents (72 percent) said they anticipate an increase in sales in the next six months – the highest figure recorded for nearly three years. In a further indication of confidence in the sector, 59 percent of respondents said they were expecting increased profits over the next six months.
However, as only 45 percent of manufacturers actually experienced an increase profits in the second half of 2017, the gap between anticipated sales growth and actual recent improvements in profits continues to raise questions about productivity, especially the ability of manufacturers to meet their own growth targets.
Encouragingly, more than half (56 percent) of manufacturers indicated in the Barometer that they aimed to deliver against their growth targets by investing in machinery and premises; a rise of 13 percent on the last report.
Furthermore, 48% of respondents to the latest survey said they planned to recruit new staff, which is only 2% higher than the same time last year. This suggests that improving productivity through the existing workforce and facilities remains the key focus.
The latest Manufacturing Barometer survey also explored the extent to which manufacturers have integrated productivity into their business and workplace culture.
Around 70 percent are confident that productivity is engrained at a strategic level and championed by business leaders. However, almost half indicated they would like to achieve better and sustainable productivity improvements, pointing to the need to improve engagement with staff to deliver and sustain change.
Simon Howes, CEO of Exelin Group, says: “Confidence levels are riding high in the manufacturing sector despite market uncertainties, demonstrating the strength and resilience of our SME manufacturers.
“The Barometer does, however, illustrate there is a definite gap between many manufacturers’ expectations about future performance and their ability to deliver the productivity gains required to drive sales and profit growth.
“Our special focus on productivity and culture suggests that while many firms have successfully embedded productivity good practice at a strategic, leadership and management level, there remains a stumbling block in actually delivering lasting productivity improvements. In short, manufacturers have to look harder at how they engage their workforce to unlock their own hidden potential and so achieve their sales and profit ambitions in the process.”
Dean Barnes, regional director of Economic Growth Solutions and the Manufacturing Growth Programme, adds: “This Barometer delved deeper into how manufacturers are tackling the productivity puzzle and it’s hugely positive to see that more respondents are planning to invest in machinery and premises, and around half are committed to recruiting staff. “However, with well over two thirds of manufacturers reporting expected sales growth, it’s clear that unlocking the full potential of the existing workforce remains key to sustainable productivity gains. It is of paramount importance that businesses are able to access specialist help and advice to grow and improve, and fully realise this potential.”
Michael Gibbs, managing director of Redruth-based spring manufacturer European Springs & Pressings, says: “These findings speak volumes. To have two thirds of UK SME’s forecasting continual growth in their order books, alongside increasing profits, confirms the UK’s recent rise up the rankings to the eighth largest manufacturer in the world.
“It’s encouraging to see the sector also focuses on efficiencies through management and lean manufacturing processes to counter external price rises. We’re now heavily investing in new premises, personnel, machinery and efficiency systems in a determined bid to see today’s manufacturing trend continue.”
Peter Bruch, managing director of Birmingham-based precision components manufacturer AE Aerospace, concludes: “We have focused on productivity improvements since our management buy-out four years ago. The biggest difference has been the investment in our people and systems. The team understand what work they need to do, why and how it benefits them to improve what we do.”
The Manufacturing Barometer is the largest survey conducted of SME manufacturers in the UK and asks senior decision makers for their views on factors influencing business performance and the future of the sector.
This survey covers the business operating period for winter 2017 (October, November and December 2017) with businesses surveyed in January 2018. UK SME Manufacturers wanting to add their voice can sign up to contribute to the next Manufacturing Barometer at www.swmas.co.uk/knowledge/manufacturing-barometer
To obtain a copy of the National Barometer, please email email@example.com.
or follow @swmas_ltd/@mfggrowthp on twitter.
Geo Kingsbury enters additive manufacturing sector
Emmanuel Macron visited Michelin on 25th January 2018, where the President of the Republic received from Vincent Ferreiro, CEO of AddUp, a stylised, 3D printed metal statuette of the French national symbol, Marianne
Known for selling turnkey metalcutting systems to UK and Irish manufacturing industry based on prestigious German machine tool agency ranges of CNC turning, milling and grinding centres, Geo Kingsbury has announced that, with immediate effect, it is also offering additive manufacturing solutions.
The announcement follows the company’s appointment as exclusive distributor within the same markets for AddUp Global Additive Solutions (www.addupsolutions.com/en/), created on 1st April 2016 by two giants of French industry, Michelin and the Fives industrial engineering group, which jointly own the company.
The venture was born out of Michelin’s extensive use of powder-bed additive techniques for producing sipes for moulds, which give tyres their tread patterns, and the company’s desire to commercialise its expertise. In September 2015 Michelin partnered with Fives, which brought advanced machine tool design and build experience to the business enterprise.
Richard Kingsbury, managing director of Geo Kingsbury comments: “We have created a new Additive Manufacturing division at our offices in the Midlands, headed by Richard Hughes, to operate alongside our Large Prismatic Machines (LPM) and Milling Turning Grinding (MTG) technology divisions.
“We will be looking to include further additive manufacturing processes in our portfolio in the coming months, signalling our intention to move strongly into this expanding area of manufacturing.”