CBI Survey reveals manufacturing growth, but businesses missing investment opportunity

According to the latest Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) Industrial Trends Survey, the UK manufacturing industry is experiencing sustained growth, with 21 percent of firms reporting a quarterly increase. Uncertainty around Brexit is affecting the UK manufacturing sector, as businesses invested £7.7bn less on new factories and equipment in the year following the referendum – according to analysis by the Bank of England.[1] Despite this, the manufacturing sector must become a priority area for digital innovations that will help UK businesses to boost productivity and fuel economic growth, says systems integrator World Wide Technology (WWT). Barclays Corporate Banking’s research found 27% of businesses investing in innovations such as the internet of things (IoT), machine learning and big data found return on their investment.[2] But many manufacturers are still reluctant to invest in smart technology for their factories, despite 51 % reporting a positive impact on productivity. This reticence could cost manufacturers £102bn a year in lost revenue.[3] Don Rogers, Head of Manufacturing Industry Practice at WWT, says: “The UK manufacturing sector is slowly waking up to the untapped potential which technologies bring to provide sustainable growth for UK businesses and the wider UK economy. Conditions are ripe for industry to drive investments to enhance capacity, meet customer demand and boost efficient workflow processes using productivity-enhancing technology. Manufacturers are ready to reinvent operational strategies by adopting IoT technologies to trigger a productivity boost and cut costs. “However, this is easier said than done. Businesses need to redirect their focus to their existing IT architecture and whether it is fit for purpose to accommodate IoT technologies. Without setting out defined business outcomes, identifying the current factory operating conditions,...
Weir Valves receive top government award for university KTP collaboration

Weir Valves receive top government award for university KTP collaboration

Weir have been working with University of Huddersfield for a number of years THE latest research collaboration between a University of Huddersfield professor and a world-leading engineering firm has been hailed by a Government body. Professor Rakesh Mishra, an expert in fluid dynamics, has formed a sequence of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) with Weir Valves & Controls UK, part of the UK-based multi-national Weir Group.  The projects have led to massive sales increases and cost savings. KTPs are part-funded by the Government-backed body Innovate UK and every project is assessed by an independent grading panel.  The recently-completed collaboration between Weir Valves and Professor Mishra has now been given the highest grade of ‘Outstanding’ and joins a shortlist that is used to prepare case studies illustrating Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at their best. The latest University of Huddersfield-Weir Valves KTP began in October 2014 and concluded in October 2017. Its official remit was “to design, develop and launch a new range of products for multiphase, multicomponent flow applications”. Professor Mishra supervised the research and postgraduate student Antonio Carlos Oliveira who was embedded within Weir Valves as the KTP Associate at the firm’s manufacturing and design centre of origin in Elland. The latest fluid dynamics knowledge was used to help the company improve the design accuracy of valves that are heavily used by the oil and gas industry around the world.   “We found that we can have the same performance with a smaller valve following the research findings, meaning economies of scale and reduced manufacturing costs,” said Professor Mishra. The “astonishing improvement in sizing calculations” – as the company describes it...
Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said about Theresa May’s proposal

Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said about Theresa May’s proposal

Peter Finegold, Head of Education Policy at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said about Theresa May’s proposal to cut charges for humanities degree courses as part of the Government’s view of the cost of tuition fees: “Charging higher fees for STEM subjects will have a detrimental impact on the skills shortage in engineering industries and will further undermine social mobility for young people from poorer backgrounds. At a time when the UK needs to produce more graduates of these subjects, charging more for an engineering degree will act as a disincentive for students. “Engineering is one of the most expensive degree courses, but also amongst the most valuable for our economy – in 2016 the sector contributed £486 billion (over 25%) of the UK’s GDP.  “Talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds will feel particularly reluctant to pursue engineering as a career. They will, no doubt, feel that they ought to study a cheaper course, rather than pursuing an engineering degree that will lead to a fulfilling and interesting career. “It appears that universities don’t behave like a free market, so suggestions around varying fees alone to meet the costs of different degrees will not work. The Government must carefully plan its next move and ensure alignment with its planned Industrial...

Engineers rely on colleagues for personal and professional support

Encouraging staff friendships is beneficial for employers Friendships are important to our overall happiness, and the companions we make at work are a big part of this. In fact, two thirds (67.1%) of engineering professionals consider their colleagues to be their friends. That’s according to CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board. The survey of 1,200 professionals explored how much UK workers value their friendships in the workplace and whether they rely on their colleagues for support. The findings reveal that a staggering 90% of engineering professionals believe it’s important to get on with your co-workers, with the research outlining several benefits of doing so: They help me with my workload – 69.1% They make work more fun – 48.5% They make me laugh – 47.1% They support me through bad times – 32.4% They complement me on my work – 30.9%   Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments on the findings: “It’s great to see that engineering professionals value their co-workers, with many considering them to be their good friends. We spend a lot of time at work, and as such, a friendly working environment is important. As an employer, it’s vital that you create a good company culture and this should sit at the top of your priority list. Doing so is beneficial for both your staff and your business and can have a number of positive effects on your workplace; from increasing productivity to ensuring staff work well as a team.” What’s more, engineering professionals were asked to explain why they believe work friendships are so important, with nearly half (44.9%) stating that...

Over half of engineering professionals are unhappy in their current job

As CV-Library reveals the top reasons for job dissatisfaction amongst professionals in the sector While some may be feeling the love this Valentine’s Day, recent research from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job site, has found that the majority of engineering professionals have fallen out of love with their jobs. In fact, over half (58.2%) confessed that they aren’t happy in their current roles, despite 88.8% believing that it’s important to love what you do.   The survey of over 1,200 workers sought to reveal how professionals felt about their current jobs.  Despite many being unhappy in their roles, over half (57.5%) of those in engineering agreed that quitting isn’t always the best solution. When asked to identify why they dislike their position, respondents cited the following: Poor company culture – 51.1% No room for progression – 35.6% Poor work-life balance – 26.7% Not being paid enough – 23% Boring daily routine – 22.2% Having a long commute – 21.9% Disliking the boss – 17.8% Issues in private life affecting work life – 11.1% Disliking the working hours – 8.9% Disliking colleagues – 6.7% Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments: “It’s worrying to learn that so many engineering professionals are unhappy in their current roles. Job satisfaction plays an important part of keeping staff motivated and productive. As an employer, it’s vital that you are able to spot the signs of dissatisfaction or low morale and combat these issues right away. Tackling these early on can help to get staff back on track and start enjoying their work again. “It’s clear that company culture, pay and...

Institution calls for nominations for exceptional engineers

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is calling for nominations for this year’s Prestige Awards with prizes on offer worth about £20,000. The Prestige Awards champion engineers who have improved the world, or advanced the discipline of engineering both through professional and volunteering efforts. Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The Prestige Awards are open to people working in academia, industry as well as in volunteer roles, and are a fantastic opportunity to honour engineers working to improve the world we live in.”   This year’s awards are: The James Clayton Prize Prize: Up to £10,000 plus certificate Awarded to a member(s) of the Institution who contributes most in that year (or over recent years) to modern engineering science – by way of research, invention, experimental work, a paper on a modern engineering subject, originality in engineering design or by service to engineering. The James Watt International Gold Medal The premier international award of the Institution is awarded biennially to an eminent engineer who has attained world-wide recognition in mechanical engineering in any direction – science and research, invention or production. The Alastair Graham-Bryce Award Prize: £5,000 and trophy Prize(s) awarded to an individual or group making a significant contribution to the encouragement of young people towards a career in engineering. The Verena Winifred Holmes Award Prize: £1,500 cash prize plus certificate The Verena Winifred Holmes Award (previously the Equality and Diversity Award) is intended to recognise those individuals who have achieved by undertaking a unique challenge or experience, perhaps to benefit people from groups with different needs, or with a past record...

Institution of Mechanical Engineers appoints new head of NDT and Corrosion Inspection training

Chris Kirby has been appointed as the new General Manager of the Institution’s Engineering Training Solutions The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has appointed experienced Chief Executive and General Manager Chris Kirby as the new General Manager for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ NDT and Corrosion Inspection Training business ETS. ETS is a Sheffield based Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and corrosions & coatings inspection training business. The Institution bought Argyle-Ruane Ltd in 2012, and subsequently added the IMechE ETS corporate branding. The business has been enjoying a period of rejuvenation and resurgent growth in the last 6 months and is now showing 25% year on year growth in the UK. It has also opened a training centre in the Gulf region and invested in customer service, state of the art NDT equipment and online learning. Chris has a background in NDT. He founded his first business, NDT Solutions Ltd, and built it into a world leader in advanced ultrasonic test equipment with clients including Airbus, Boeing, Ford and Volvo, before selling it in 2005. He has subsequently been involved in spin-outs from the University of Sheffield, including Magnomatics Ltd which now has 30 employees. He has a BSc (Hons) degree in Electronics and Computer Science from Keele University, and is a Chartered Electrical Engineer. He is also a Guest Lecturer in Entrepreneurism at the University of Sheffield. Chris Kirby, said in response to his appointment: “I am looking forward to starting at IMechE ETS at such an exciting time for the business, with growth in both the UK and the Gulf region.” Stephen Tetlow MBE, Chief Executive of the Institution said:...

January rush sees application rates soar across the engineering industry

As both candidates and businesses in the sector make a confident start to the year Engineering workers have started the year with a bang, with application rates in the sector soaring by a staggering 86.2% in January 2018, when comparing findings with December 2017. This is according to the latest job market data from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job site. The findings indicate that despite engineering professionals remaining cautious about moving jobs in recent months, many are now ready to make their move in the labour market. In fact, most of the UK’s major industries witnessed stand out growth in applications, with the sectors that saw the biggest increases including: Marketing – 93.1% growth in applications IT – 93% growth in applications Manufacturing – 90.1% growth in applications Accounting – 88.4% growth in applications Construction – 87.1% growth in applications Engineering – 86.2% growth in applications Catering– 80.3% growth in applications Automotive – 78.9% growth in applications Retail – 78.4%  growth in applications Social Care – 74.8% growth in applications Not only this, but some of the nation’s key cities also saw application rates soar in January, with Manchester (92%), Birmingham (90.4%), Edinburgh (90.2%), Southampton (85.9%) and Bristol (873.7%) all seeing impressive growth month-on-month. Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments: “It’s true that in recent months application rates have remained stagnant, with the ONS reporting that the unemployment rate was at the joint lowest since comparable records began back in 1971. But while the end of the year is traditionally a quieter time for recruitment, our Q4 job market report revealed that businesses were still...

Learn to manage life-changing conversations

British Safety Council offers training to help with mental health conversations According to a Business in the Community report, 60% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work and 31% have been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue. The cost of poor mental health to the UK economy has been estimated at between £74 – £99 billion per year, according to the report Thriving at Work. Published in October 2017, the report contains the recommendations of the review into workplace mental health, commissioned by the Prime Minister. Recognising the magnitude of the problem and its human cost, the British Safety Council has launched a range of mental health training courses which are designed to start conversations about mental health and support employees who are experiencing mental ill-health. One of the main challenges of dealing with mental ill-health in the workplace is the stigma associated with it, which makes it difficult for people to admit that they are affected. Talking about mental health is one of the ways of addressing this stigma. The British Safety Council’s ‘Start the Conversation’ is 45-minute session which aims to get employees thinking about mental wellbeing and talking about it. The next stage is a three-hour ‘Manage the Conversation’ workshop to give line managers the skills and confidence to listen to and talk with someone who needs to share a problem regarding their mental wellbeing. The British Safety Council also offers the two-day Mental Health First Aid course, developed by Mental Health First Aid England, which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental...

Drone competition off to a flying start

Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Challenge sees record 25 teams for 2018 A selection of leading young engineers from the UK and overseas will be challenged to design, build and operate an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in a humanitarian aid mission as part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ annual challenge. The competition, which is now in its fourth year, has been growing steadily since its launch, when twelve teams took part. This year, twenty-five teams will compete, including 4 international teams and a team from the University of Bath, which was crowned winner of the UAS Challenge 2017. The Challenge is a year-long project with phased stages of completion that require strict adherence to certain standards in order to qualify. The UAS must complete a series of tasks, such as way-point navigation (following a route towards a specific mark), location search and accurate delivery of an aid package. A steering group, comprising of specialist professionals in aerospace engineering and flight safety at leading aerospace and defence organisations, supports the teams throughout the project. The expert advice helps develop the teams’ technical understanding and focus on safety. The commercial viability of the projects are also tested with a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch to a panel of judges. Qinetiq and GKN Aerospace will continue to support the UAS Challenge 2018. Peter Finegold, Head of Education at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “Taking part in the UAS challenge provides students with an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap between education and industry. Students are involved in an engineering project which brings theoretical knowledge to life and encourages...
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons

The one leading voice for the Fluid & Power Transmission Industry - Friday, October 19th 2018