From the Manchester Gazette;May 21st 2013
Growth prospects amongst North West manufacturing SMEs is at a twelve-month high according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer, which reveals over two thirds (67%) of companies questioned are expecting to increase sales over the next six months.
There was equally positive news on recent performance, with 42% of the 52 firms who responded reporting a rise in sales turnover, whilst 87% of manufacturers are looking to take on staff or retain their existing workforce.
Appetite for investment has also seen an upturn, with 40% planning to boost spending on new technologies and exactly half intending to invest in new machinery and premises.
This overwhelming optimism is present despite ongoing barriers causing SME manufacturers to turn down new opportunities.
In response to the Barometer’s special focus, nearly two thirds (65%) quoted poor profit margins as the main issue, followed by an inability to meet lead times (27%) and design spec (25%)
Lorraine Holmes, Area Director for MAS in the North and West, explained: “If you compare findings with the similar period in 2012, you will see that firms are a lot more optimistic, with a number of key performance responses measured showing positive improvements.
“There appears to be a greater appetite to meet expected demand by retaining skills and creating new jobs.”
She went on to add: “The barriers to new opportunities are also interesting.Poor profit margins, lead times and an inability to meet design spec all paint a potential picture of unrealistic customer expectations and it appears that manufacturers are favouring a more pragmatic approach to taking work on.”
Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “As we are seeing through the latest MAS Barometer, business confidence is on the rise, particularly amongst SMEs, indicating that manufacturers are becoming more optimistic about their future growth plans.
“MAS works with businesses to maximise their efficiency, reduce waste and grasp new commercial opportunities – all key drivers for growth. I would encourage SMEs seeking to improve their operations and increase their bottom line to contact their local MAS.”
The second MAS Barometer of 2013 collected responses from manufacturing SMEs across the North West providing an overview of economic conditions and issues faced by the sector from January to March this year.
The quarterly special focus concentrated on identifying barriers preventing companies taking on new orders and the impact this is having on business performance.
Companies said that turnover would increase – on average – by 25% if they could overcome the three main barriers quoted, whilst over half (51%) admitted that new clients accounted for up to 25% of the missed opportunities.
Tellingly,manufacturers appear to have relatively few issues with meeting customer demand with an average score of 92% for On Time in Full Delivery (OTIF) performance.
Lorraine continued: “What we are seeing is that North West manufacturers have made massive strides forward in implementing best practice production techniques and can compete with the best in terms of quality, cost and delivery.
“They now need support on longer-term strategies and in developing new products and markets and this is being reflected in the assistance MAS is providing.”
MAS, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), works for manufacturers and through experienced advisors can help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains.
A Barnsley software company is helping to build the car that’s looking to smash the world land speed record later this year.
SolidCAM UK has devised computer technology to help manufacture precision parts for the Bloodhound SSC supersonic car which could ultimately reach a top speed of 1,000 mph.
The unique rocket and jet powered vehicle being developed in the UK is due to attempt beating the world land speed record of 763 mph in South Africa later this year, then be pushed to its limit in a bid to reach 1,000 mph in 2014.
The team behind the Bloodhound Project turned to South Yorkshire’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre led by the University of Sheffield, for expert support when developing the super car.
SolidCAM, one of the many UK companies associated with the research centre, has contributed its advanced computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software and expertise to the project.
SolidCAM managing director Gordon Drysdale said: "Our role in the project draws on our experience supplying software to high-end manufacturing industries such as motorsport, aerospace and medical instruments. Many of our customers use premium – and expensive – materials and demand absolute accuracy in production.
"The Bloodhound supersonic car needs nothing less – every specification must be 100 per cent perfect to pursue speeds up to 1,000 mph. We now follow its progress with enormous interest."
Presentations by Bob Willis are among the highlights of a full day workshop at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). The workshop will combine presentations with hands-on sessions on the Centre’s full set of SMT manufacturing equipment. Book now to take advantage of this unique training opportunity combining theory and practical hands on experience, and covering some of the industry’s hottest topics, including:
Flux & Component compatibility
Coating material and process options
Cost & Reliability of coating assemblies
Testing & evaluation of coatings
Masking options and methods
Rework & repair of board assemblies
To reserve your place, Click Here
Date: Thursday 23 May 2013 Time: 10.00- 16:00
Location: MTC, Pilot Way ,Ansty Business Park ,Coventry, CV7 9JU
About the Manufacturing Technology Centre
The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) represents a £40.5million publicly funded investment in the future of UK manufacturing. Working together with industrial members, academia and other institutions, the focus is to prove new technologies on an industrial scale. In the electronics sector the MTC’s fully automated, state-of-art printed circuit board assembly facilities are positioned to support electronics companies in driving their outputs to higher levels of quality, delivery and productivity, without compromising production schedules on their own equipment www.the-mtc.org
A computer model of the human musculoskeletal system will be mapped out by researchers at the University of Sheffield following a £6.7 million grant that will lead to personalised treatment for diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis and back pain, saving money and resulting in better outcomes and faster recovery.
The five year programme will see experts from the University of Sheffield’s INSIGNEO Institute for in silico(meaning via computer simulation) medicine, a joint initiative of the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, create a new modelling framework for the human musculoskeletal system.
The engineering-based model of an individual patient’s musculoskeletal makeup will be able to reduce soaring treatment costs for chronic bone disorders by predicting disease development and enabling better treatment. It will simultaneously capture processes at a cellular scale right up to the whole body.
The £6.7M Frontier Engineering grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – awarded to the world leading and innovative INSIGNEO Institute – will improve treatments for diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
It is one of five Frontier Engineering projects receiving £25 million in total announced by the UK’s Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts at the first Global Grand Challenges Summit in London today (Tuesday 12 March 2013).
Professor Damien Lacroix of the INSIGNEO Institute and the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering said: “Our work in building accurate computer models of the human body that are tailored to each individual’s anatomy and physiology means that every patient receives treatment personally optimised to their detailed circumstances.
“This leads to improved outcomes, faster recovery and, in almost all cases, lower costs. The new EPSRC-supported research programme is particularly ground-breaking as it integrates our modelling components across the full range of scales using new techniques able to account for currently unobservable and uncertain variables.
“The impact on healthcare could be tremendous: total healthcare expenditure in the UK has doubled from 2000-2010 to a staggering 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” added Professor Lacroix .
The engineering basis for INSIGNEO’s work means that techniques developed for one disease area can usually be migrated to other parts of the body, leading to the development of an integrated understanding of the body’s disease mechanisms.
INSIGNEO Director Professor Marco Viceconti said: “The advanced multiscale simulation techniques we are developing in the INSIGNEO Institute are the core technologies for the next major advance in medicine. By applying these most sophisticated engineering methods to the human body’s organs and systems we are uncovering disease mechanisms as never before, and by grounding our work in fundamental engineering principles we are developing a sustainable framework for the complete modelling of physiology.”
The INSIGNEO Institute is a full partnership between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, an arrangement that provides the ideal balance of academic prowess and clinical excellence; developments are firmly rooted in the needs of patients, and outputs can be translated into clinical practice efficiently and quickly.
Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “This is probably the most sophisticated application of computing technology in healthcare today and Sheffield has become the UK’s main centre for this advancement in research, clinical diagnosis and care which will ultimately benefit patients across the world.”
This award is a collaboration between members of the INSIGNEO Institute in silico medicine from the University’s Departments of Mechancial Engineering, Automatic Control and System Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Human Metabolism.
Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engineering and Institutional Principal Investigator, said: “INSIGNEO’s multiscale research has widespread application across many areas of our work and I believe this award will transform our activities in the Faculty of Engineering. We will be working particularly closely with our partners in the University’s Faculty of Medicine and in The Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to capitalise on the outcomes for the benefit of patients.”
The Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine
The Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine is a collaborative initiative between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It is a multi-disciplinary institute involving over 80 academics and clinicians who collaborate to develop computer simulations of the human body and its disease processes that can be used directly in clinical practice to improve diagnosis and treatment. This is probably the most sophisticated application of computing technology in healthcare, and Sheffield has become the UK’s main centre for this work.
For more information please visit: http://insigneo.org/
Image:©2013 VPHOP consortium, all rights reserved.
The 8th International Conference on Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing will be held at the Nottingham Belfry on Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th July 2013. If this is an area of interest, the event looks well worth a visit. The organisers are offering an early-bird discounted registration of £319 + VAT until May 10th. More details can be found on their website at www.am-conference.com or speak to Donna Cope on +44(0)7817 135902 or mail at donna "at" am-conference "dot" com
The International Conference on Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and diverse conferences on AM and 3D Printing anywhere in the world this year. Numbers look set to reach in excess of 200, including delegates from around the world representing some of the world’s most innovative companies and brands. Coupled with a parallel vendor exhibition and both the ASTM F42 and ISO/TC 261 standards meetings, this event will without doubt, be one of the primary AM networking opportunities for industrialists, researchers, academics and vendors in 2013.
The conference is hosted by the Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing Research Group (3DPRG) which is based at the University of Nottingham and is jointly organised in conjunction with Additive Manufacturing consultancy Econolyst Ltd.
Confirmed presentations to date from:
- IBM (USA)
- Xaar (GERMANY)
- NovaCentrix (USA)
- MIT Media Lab (USA)
- University of Louisville (USA)
- University of Nottingham (UK)
- Mid Sweden University (SWEDEN)
- Stanmore Implants Worldwide Ltd (UK)
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (GERMANY)
- Naval Research Laboratory (USA) delivering two presentations
…with more speakers to be announced shortly.
speakers subject to change. Please visit our website for an up-to-date list, click HERE.
Early Bird pricing is limited to bookings made on or before 10th May, meaning there are only 3 weeks remaining to reserve your place at this key event benefiting from a £60 discount off the standard delegate fee. Registration is quick and easy using our online booking system. Click HERE to register online.
We look forward to meeting you all for another exciting conference in Nottingham!
Two Exhibition spaces still available
To complement the conference, an exhibition area has been set aside for delegates to network with technology and materials vendors and is the main focal point for all refreshment breaks during the event. There will be in attendance over 200 of the most interested people in Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing that you are likely to meet, so we can guarantee no “time wasters” visiting the stands! This year we have increased the area available to exhibitors and therefore have room for a couple of extra companies to attend. For information on how to exhibit, click HERE.
The Manchester Evening News reports that a report released today by a body of influential business figures, concludes that plugging the region’s manufacturing skills gap would give a the UK economy a £160m-a-year boost.
The North West Business Leadership Team has carried out a study of the skills shortage facing the region, with a particular focus on the engineering and manufacturing sectors.
It says the region is suffering from a shortage of suitably qualified young people across the region, with 12 per cent of the population having no qualifications and 25 per cent classed as having poor literacy and/or numeracy skills.
That results in industrial productivity being 20 to 33 per cent lower than the national average, according to the report, called Skills For Industry – Bridging The Divide.
It adds some parts of the population – mainly girls and ethnic minorities – face barriers to pursuing careers in sectors like engineering and that there are too many changes to the education system.
The report calls on the government to pilot a “Talent Bank”, which would be co-funded and controlled by employer groups like Engineering UK, the EEF and others.
It would exist to promote the “brand” of engineering and manufacturing and would be fronted by a series of high-profile ambassadors. The body would also set standards for training programmes based on what the needs of industry were.
Another recommendation is for a public-private partnership to be set up to act as a go-between for employers and training providers.
It would be accountable to government and would a single body to link companies with the most suitable schools, colleges or universities for their needs.
The NWBLT says both these points should form part of a wider, long-term national skills strategy.
It urges all political parties to contribute to the strategy, which it says should be published and stuck to, “without frequent and ad-hoc re-design.”.
The NWBLT project has been led by chairman Juergen Maier, who is managing director of Manchester-based Siemens Industry.
He said: “The time has come for a one-off overhaul of the skills system. The current complexities will not shake themselves out naturally – and certainly not fast enough if left to natural market forces, as currently appears to be the strategy.
“Make no mistake – we need to build a national skills system that is here for the long term.
“It cannot be acceptable to develop a skills strategy only to change it every two or three years to satisfy short-term party political demands or to chase headlines.”
The NWBLT surveyed group members including Siemens, BT, Hill Dickinson, BAE Systems, Bruntwood, The Co-operative Group, PWC, Scapa Group, Peel, Pilkington and United Utilities for the study.
It will present its report to Parliament in June.
Mike Blackburn, deputy chairman of NWBLT and chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “In short, government locally, nationally and EU-wide has
created an overly bureaucratic system and there is too much of a separation between funder, supplier and customer.
“Our proposals seek to empower individuals and businesses to lead the transformation of skills investments at both a national and local level.”
The report says if the north west’s manufacturing skills base matched that of the UK as a whole, wages from the sector would rise by £67m a year. That would give the UK an economic boost of £16.4bn over 10 years.
National Apprenticeship Week: Apprentices will contribute £3.4bn to the British economy by 2022 says research group
The Huffington Post UK | By Charlie Thomas Posted: 11/03/2013 09:04 GMT | Updated: 11/03/2013 09:04 GMT
Apprenticeships aren’t only good for young people trying to find their way into work, now we can prove they’re good for business too.
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, a new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has found the average apprenticeship completer increases business productivity by £214 per week leading to increased profits, lower prices, better products and higher wages.
This figure rockets to £414 for engineering apprentices and £401 a week for construction and planning trainees.
And the number of annual apprenticeship completions is forecast to rise across all sectors of the economy over the coming decade, growing from an annual 260,000 in 2012/13 to 480,000 by 2021/22 – meaning the total amount contributed to the economy by 2022 will be £4.2 billion.
Charles Davis, head of macroeconomics at the CEBR said ahead of the report: "Raising the skills of the UK’s workforce translates into improved UK competitiveness in a challenging post-financial crisis environment. This is a vital part of rebalancing the UK economy and raising the chances of sustained export-led growth."
Despite the evidence, many small employers were struggling to get the message, according to David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service.
The Service is working with Barclays and charities Tomorrow’s People and The Prince’s Trust, as well as Route 2 training, to introduce the Bridges To Work scheme, designed to help 10,000 young people into work in the coming years.
Through Bridges Into Work, businesses across England will be able to receive additional free support to take on an apprentice, whilst local Barclays Business Managers will help match up suitable apprentices and businesses in their area.
Way said: "I regularly speak to employers who tell me about the benefits that Apprenticeships bring to their business. Apprentices not only increase productivity but also bring creativity and dynamism into the workplace; the very best examples of which are being showcased in this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.
"We need to get this evidence across, particularly to small employers. The Bridges Into Work Programme will help us to do this, by being able to reach many more small businesses who would benefit from taking on an apprentice."