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Edition 2  
July 2008
Quick Links: 
What’s the engineering outlook?
Skills insight
Energy Saving
The Engineering and Machinery Alliance
Companies and Constituencies
Associations and their Sectors
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Movie Clips:

MACH 2008

Electra Launch
Energy Efficiency
 
What’s the engineering outlook?

The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) organised the most successful MACH exhibition for at least ten years with visitor numbers up over 20%. MACH a biennial show is the UK’s premier engineering exhibition with over 500 companies present this year. As this BBC report shows engineering outlook at the time was very positive.

 
 
Skills insight
Increasing investment in training to make up for recruitment difficulties
With 87% of mechanical engineering firms struggling to find the people they need, companies are adopting three main strategies to get round the problem. As well as looking at what firms are doing, this report concludes that there’s a need for clear and direct communication between the training community and engineering firms and that representative organisations can help.

   
Royal Academy of Engineering surveys general public’s view of engineering
Findings of the first ever nationwide report into public attitudes and perceptions towards engineers and engineering revealed that two in three young people know very little about engineering and almost three in four don't understand what engineers actually do.
   
A competition to promote young people’s interest in the printing industry
PrintIT! is a competition aimed at students studying in their first year GCSE Graphic Products and Product Design courses. Originally developed by Picon, the association for manufacturers and suppliers to the UK printing industry, it is now run by the sector’s SSC Proskills.
 
 
Energy Saving
Electronics and electrical engineering report on how to meet CO2 targets
Electra an industry group report has received enthusiastic backing from the EU Commission for the practical options that it lays out in 20 recommendations on how best to achieve Europe’s 20% CO2 reductions. By focussing on CO2 economics it shows that the cheapest way to cut emissions is to reduce energy consumption through better developed products and machines.
Industry DVD on YouTube
   
Action at company level in the Gower constituency
WML Engineering, a mechanical engineering SME, whose main markets are in aerospace, automotive, medical and the electronic/electrical industries is an ISO 14001 and Green Dragon level 4 standard company. Recently it has made a number of investments that are reducing its CO2 footprint. More sophisticated spinning machinery removes used cutting oil from the swarf increasing the value of the used metal as well as helping to recycle 8000 litres of used engineering oil. In addition the company has installed a new air compressor. This has cut electricity consumption by nearly a third and waste heat is now also used to heat the building.
Members
British Automation and Robot Association (BARA)
British Plastics Federation (BPF)
British Paper Machinery Suppliers Association (BPMSA)
British Turned Part Manufacturers Association (BTMA)
Confederation of British Metalforming
(CBM)
Gauge and Toolmakers Association (GTMA)
Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA)
Printing, Publishing and Converting Suppliers Association (Picon)
Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA)
Orgalime
   
Energy reduction research in Twickenhan
One of the ways to make aircraft engines more efficient is to run them at higher temperatures. However to do this involves exposing aircraft engine components to very specific temperatures in excess of 1300 ºC. Exactly measuring the temperatures is critical to the tests. Getting it wrong by more than two degrees in either direction can have major implications. Working with industry the National Physical Laboratory have developed sensors called thermocouples with a new alloy which will ensure accuracy to one degree at these very high temperatures.
 
 
EAMA
If you wish to visit a member firm in your constituency, please contact the Alliance’s secretary here  
 
The Engineering and Machinery Alliance is an umbrella organisation for 1,300 companies in nine mechanical engineering trade associations. These firms provide the productive machinery that’s used by other industries to make their goods, such as aerospace, cars, printing, medical, plastics, packaging and food processing.
 
Handbook to help companies make it in the UK
EAMA has published a completely updated version of its successful Handbook. The 30-page document covers subjects stretching from money and employment matters to exporting, skills development and grants. As well as giving some basic practical pointers from experts in their field (e.g. on R&D tax credits and employment contracts), the Handbook signposts sources of support and guidance such as Train to Gain and local grants.
 
New chairman
Martin Walder, 44, managing director of ABB Robotics in the UK has been elected EAMA chairman taking over from Graham Hayes, who has taken on the role of president.
 
 
Engineering across Europe
Increased jobs and business growth in 2007 continued into 2008
Engineering in general performed well across the 27 European member states in 2007, and 2008 started much the same way. The fear for the industry is that it is dragged into a recession by factors that lie outside the industry. With good growth reaching up to 10% in some subsectors, mechanical engineering increased employment Europe-wide by some 3% last year, so that it now employs 3.6 million (about 300,000 in the UK).
 
 
 
Companies and Constituencies
Craftsman Tools (Leeds North West) achieved record export sales last year with an increase of 30%.
Bedlam Puzzles which appeared on Dragon’s den recently returned its manufacturing of tools and moulding to the UK when PP Injection Moulds (Devizes) won the order to produce the puzzle in the UK. This has provided easier communications, shorter lead times, no import duty to pay and very importantly to the ethos of the company a much lower ‘carbon footprint’ per product.
North Cornwall may not seem like the most obvious place to compete with the Far East in plastic moulding, but that is what Characteristix Limited is doing. A major investment in computer controlled technology renders relatively small batches more economic so that Charateristix can offer customers the benefits of a smaller ‘carbon footprint’ while eliminating the need to store costly stocks.
AEW Delford (Norwich North) manufacturer of advanced checkweighers, labellers and systems for the world’s food processing industry has opened a new facility in Colchester.
 
 
Associations and their Sectors
GTMA
British manufacturers are winning back work from China, as customers find the cost of using Chinese producers higher than expected, the results poor and delivery times unreliable, according to research by the FT.
 
BARA
Walking with Robots
The worldwide industrial robot market is currently worth $6bn – rising to $20bn once support services are factored, but the Japan Robot Association predicts that the service robot market by 2025 will be worth $80bn. Experts, including Bill Gates, believe that the robotics industry today is where the PC industry was 20 years ago and he tips them to become pervasive in the same way. High value ‘professional service robots’ used to assist surgical teams, conduct space exploration and environmental monitoring, service nuclear power stations, aid our children’s learning and maintain sewers, roads and pylons are all being produced today.
There is a programme of events planned round the country under the title ‘Walking with Robots’ to promote a deeper awareness and interest in these possible uses. To see what is coming your way next click the button opposite.
 
CBM Competition
Company of the Year Award
Having invested over £30m in the last 8 years and committed to continuous improvement in terms of training, investment, sustainability and commitment to manufacturing in the UK, Metsec (West Bromwich West) took this year’s CBM award for the leading company in the sector.

 
Processing and Packaging Machinery Show - 30th Sept - 2nd Oct ‘08
The PPMA Show at the NEC in Birmingham will celebrate its 20th year, it covers the complete production line and attracts buyers from all industries including food, drink, pharmaceutical, household products, cosmetics & chemicals. New this year will also be the FoodTec and EcoTec Zones as well as a free seminar programme addressing hot topics in the machinery sector including automation. The PPMA Show is co-located with Interplas – the UK’s premier plastics & rubber exhibition.
 
 
Want to meet this quiz challenge?

Where would you place mechanical engineering as a UK exporter?
Mechanical engineering is a major UK exporter -- £29 billion in 2007. But where does it export to? Which are the top three markets? How important is the Chinese market for UK mechanical engineering? And what sort of a trade balance does it run for the UK? Note your thoughts and then click here
and here (EAMA's Budget submission) if you would like to check your answers.