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responsibility 2018 not only marks the 25th anniversary of Wenmec but also sees the start of a five-year growth plan for this ambitious Swedish manufacturer
Also in this issue: • Industry 4.0 • Customer billing • Energy efficiency • Hazardous waste • Brexit
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am covering Industry 4.0 in this issue and this topic is being flagged up to me so regularly that I imagine everyone in manufacturing is involved in some sort of implementation. Is this true? I remember when ERP was the technology buzzword – Industry 4.0 appears to have taken the top spot (and to me makes similar promises of improved supply chains, more efficiency, and improved productivity), but do you find that to be the case? I would love to hear directly from manufacturers as to if this tech is top of the agenda, or if it’s hype, or if you’re waiting and watching to assess progress before taking any steps yourselves. Of course, we also cover a lot more than just that one technology and in fact, many of our company profiles highlight the amazing diversity and innovation that is currently in the manufacturing space – from Simworx’ media-based attractions to Helical Technology’s acoustic and EGR exhaust flap valves. Every story is a fascinating insight into the genius behind today’s manufacturers and if you’d like to be included in the future, do get in touch.
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4 A full revolution To Stanley Chia, industry 4.0 means allowing data empowered growth strategies to pick up the pace â€“ digitalisation should be revolutionising all aspects of business
6 A sinking ship that needs bailing out
Using the utilities sector as an example, Luke Pelham demonstrates how revenue assurance can help solve debt problems
8 Invest to save What plant managers can do to improve their manufacturing facilities energy efficiency, and why this is so important. By Jonathan Wilkins
10 Safe disposal The rules around the storage and disposal of hazardous waste include strict requirements that manufacturers need to be aware of, says Richard Walker
12 Survive and thrive Alex Clark says that manufacturers must be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, with Brexit being the prime example
16 Manufacturing news Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena
10 2 www.manufacturing-today-europe.com
Profiles 18 Beardow Adams
21 Wenmec AB
58 Carl Zeiss Ltd
24 Victoria PLC
61 Tetronics International
28 Radio Design
64 Universal Tool & Production Company Ltd
32 Hansen Industrial Transmissions
35 Omar Group
68 Haigh Engineering Company Ltd
70 UBH International Ltd
44 CPI Card Group Europe
72 Indus Motor Company
48 HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH
74 DURA Automotive Systems
51 Helical Technology
revolution Industry 4.0 - transforming the back office as well as the factory floor. By Stanley Chia
he UK Government’s Industrial Digitalisation Review announced that over the next ten years, industrial digitalisation could boost manufacturing by £455bn, increasing annual sector growth by three per cent. The Review, which brought together input and recommendations from more than 200 stakeholders, including companies such as Rolls Royce, GKN, IBM, Accenture, various academic institutions and R&D centres of excellence, outlines the potential impact of rolling out advanced digital technologies including robotics, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality as well as artificial intelligence. It believes these innovations could create a net gain of 175,000 jobs whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5 per cent.
National imperative So why is digitalisation particularly pertinent at this time and how is the analogue approach holding businesses back? In short, it is because the world as we know it has changed. Across all industries, technology and digitisation have become fundamental to organisational success. In fact, research and advisory firm Gartner went so far as to predict that a lack of digital competence could cause 25 per cent of businesses to lose their competitive ranking this year. There is no doubt that adopting digitalisation or ‘Industry 4.0’ as it is often called is now a national imperative. It will build on the UK’s natural technological strength, nurture R&D and utilise our highly skilled workforce. Encouragingly, a recent survey from Fujitsu found that nine in ten
firms (89 per cent) are currently planning, testing or implementing digitalisation initiatives.
Dictionary definition So, what exactly does digitalisation mean? According to Gartner, digitalisation is the ‘use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.’ Understandably, this is causing a revolution in manufacturing. Companies are using technology to move from mass production to customised production, and it’s happening at a rapid pace. At the centre of it all is the Internet of Things (IoT) and a vision of an interconnected factory where all equipment is online, networked and able to make decisions and communicate with other machines. Every piece of machinery is able to store specific information on individual customers and therefore able to manufacture according to customer preferences. The IoT can also provide real-time feedback and alert companies of defects or damaged goods, reducing costs and eliminating waste. While reams have been written about IoT, robots and artificial intelligence, we are keen to spread the message that digitalisation in manufacturing isn’t just about the production line. It is also about the behind the scenes functions that keep businesses operating day to day and are often overlooked.
Transforming the back office as well as the factory floor Take the accounts payable process as one
example. Every day, many manufacturers waste time and energy manually checking invoices received from an increasingly complex supply chain. Later, a mass of unanalysed procurement data lies stagnant in these paper invoices. Turn this process digital and there are many benefits. Technology like Tungsten Network’s e-invoicing platform can reject incorrect invoices before they even arrive, reduce invoice fraud and eliminate inefficiencies in the payment process. In addition, innovative analytics technology can be used to gain insight into spending trends and inform procurement decisions. This insight is vital as according to International Data Corporation (IDC) by 2025 the amount of data on the planet will grow to 163 zettabytes. Being able to penetrate and analyse this wealth of data will be paramount to succeeding in the future.
Barriers to entry There are barriers to implementing digital technology - the initial investment, legacy systems and organisational silos can cause problems, along with company culture and individual attitudes. The good news however is the economic benefits of digitalisation are undeniable – our research has shown that digitising 10,000 invoices, for example, will likely save a business
£58,000. Sometimes however the numbers alone aren’t enough - it can be a struggle to overcome old fashioned, paper-based processes that have been deeply ingrained in workers. If this is the case, it is good to emphasise how digitalisation can remove friction in the supply chain, something that is easy to identify with. The manufacturing industry is extremely reliant on its supply chain and the strength of relationships between buyers and suppliers can have a huge impact on productivity. Having to chase for payment or failing to process invoices in a timely way can poison a manufacturer’s relationship with a supplier and all the ‘good will’ can be lost.
Teams tied up It’s not just supply chain relationships that can be irreparably damaged. Tungsten Network’s inaugural Friction Index report highlighted how much time and therefore money is spent on inefficient payment practices. We found the average UK business loses £88,725 per year through supply chain inefficiencies - this equates to thousands of team hours wasted every year dealing with payment issues. These include everything from chasing for
purchase order numbers to processing paper invoices and responding to supplier enquiries. Understandably, given the wasted money and man power, 36 per cent of businesses stated that removing friction from the payment process is a top priority. If manufacturers aren’t tied up chasing invoices or receiving phone calls from suppliers, they have more time to dedicate to expanding their global operations and driving growth.
Boosting productivity Many are hoping that Industry 4.0 will help fix the productivity puzzle currently perplexing politicians and business leaders alike. Economists warn that the UK’s productivity continues to lag behind its major trading partners such as the US, France and Germany and the recent Autumn Budget saw the Chancellor announce that the OBR has lowered its forecast for productivity growth from two per cent to 1.5 per cent in 2017. While the most recent quarterly Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) figures show a rise in productivity
for manufacturers, the industry is keen to ensure stagnant productivity doesn’t hold it back. To me, industry 4.0 means allowing dataempowered growth strategies to pick up pace. Digitalisation should be revolutionising all aspects of the way we do business, just as it is revolutionising the way we live our personal lives. It can help manufacturers transform their production lines and supply chains and as a result have better visibility, control, and improved productivity. v
Stanley Chia Stanley Chia is Vice President and Global Head of Sales at Tungsten Network. Tungsten Network is a secure e-invoicing, purchase order services and workflow platform that brings businesses and their suppliers closer together with unique technology that revolutionises invoice processing, maximises efficiency and improves cash flow management. Tungsten Network processes invoices for 67 per cent of the FTSE 100 and 76 per cent of the Fortune 500. www.tungsten-network.com
A sinking ship that needs
Luke Pelham uses the utilities sector as an example of how Revenue Assurance can help solve debt woes
usinesses across the globe are haemorrhaging millions of pounds’ worth of profit and potential revenue a year without being aware of it. Mistakes in customer billing, unused data and far from optimal business processes lead to increased profit leakage and lost revenue streams. Whilst it could be argued this is an industry-wide problem, none are suffering more than the utilities sector, where in some cases consumers are subsidising business debt. According to Ofwat, for example, water companies are charging customers an extra £21 a year on their water bills to help cover revenue leakage, despite water poverty – where households are unable to afford to pay their water bills – affecting almost a quarter of households. Businesses are not doing enough to protect revenue streams, profits are becoming unrecoverable through preventable mistakes in customer billing, and business processes not being followed correctly. Not only does this mean companies are losing vast amounts of money, but also represents the wider impact of unnecessary and inefficient business processes.
It’s all about the money The biggest challenge facing the utilities sector today is a lack of understanding when it comes to unrecoverable profit, aged debt, and how to prevent money unnecessarily leaving the organisation. While pretty much every company has a revenue leak, the lack of understanding about where the holes are and how to plug them, is impacting business margins and profitability – something that could prove fatal in today’s competitive environment. However, this can be
addressed effectively by introducing innovative Revenue Assurance strategies and solutions. Put simply, Revenue Assurance is the process of identifying and monitoring all business activities that impact profit and liquidity. It polices everything within an organisation to ensure the quality of data and processes are optimal, with the aim of improving profit margins and cashflow while keeping revenue coming in. Revenue Assurance is a relatively complex subject but businesses need to take the time to understand how, when done correctly, it could benefit them, potentially saving themselves millions of pounds along the way. By addressing this lack of understanding and awareness, utility providers will also put themselves in favour with industry regulators who are putting an emphasis on and encouraging businesses to reduce unrecoverable revenue.
But don’t forget the customer Regulators, such as Ofwat, are starting to put pressure on companies to deliver more for less, to service customers better and to measure up well against other industries when it comes to Revenue Assurance. To do this, organisations need to operate effectively and
efficiently – no mean feat against a challenging economic backdrop born of Brexit and welfare reform. By learning from organisations already doing Revenue Assurance well – in particular the telecoms sector – less mature industries (of which the utilities sector is one) can get a head start by avoiding previously made mistakes and setting up proven best practices. Both of which are more important than ever as regulations, such as PR19 – the next price review in the water industry – start to take effect. The key messages of these regulations couldn’t be clearer for the utilities sector – efficiency and innovation are expected as business-as-usual to keep bills affordable, and bad debt must be reduced. Alongside this, the service delivered to customers’ needs to be improved through the better understanding and more sophisticated interrogation of the vast amounts of valuable data these organisations are sitting on. There has never been a better time for utility providers to up their game when it comes to Revenue Assurance than now.
Help is at hand Organisations without suitable Revenue Assurance are not only facing reputational damage, the wrath of industry bodies, and profit loss, but are also missing opportunities and revenue streams simply because they aren’t aware of them.
It is also worth highlighting that in the utilities sector – primarily water – organisations are cash negative. The impact of this means utilities companies are borrowing significant sums of money from the banks against the value of their assets, the cost of which is hugely expensive and while this is common practice in the market, doesn’t make sound business sense. Help is at hand however. Revenue Assurance has the ability to significantly reduce the overall borrowing these organisations need to make for future investment. It also presents providers with areas of untapped revenue, allows them to stay competitive, and is the only way to create a truly sustainable business. Employing Revenue Assurance specialists – either on a consultancy or project-only basis – who place an emphasis on quality to fully plug the holes in a business, can help organisations recoup debts and translate them into profit, gain market share and implement best practices which will stand them in good stead for the future. v
Luke Pelham Luke Pelham is Director for Energy and Utilities at SQS, the leading global provider of quality assurance services for digital business processes. This position stems from over 35 years of successful consultancy operations. SQS consultants provide solutions for all aspects of quality throughout the whole software product lifecycle driven by a standardised methodology, industrialised automation processes and deep domain knowledge in various industries. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, the company now employs approximately 4,100 staff. www.sqs.com/en/index.php
Invest to Jonathan Wilkins explains why a manufacturing facility’s energy efficiency is so important and what plant managers can do to improve it
round ten per cent of the average household’s electricity bill is made up of lighting. Making the simple switch to LED bulbs can cut this by up to 90 per cent. This is because typical lightbulbs only emit a small amount of light — the remainder is wasted as heat. A typical incandescent bulb produces light because current passing through a filament heats it up and causes it to glow. In contrast, LED lights don’t have to be hot to produce light, which allows them to shine just as brightly using a lot
less electricity. This means that a simple change of lightbulb can lead to significant savings on a facility’s energy bill. Who knew it was so easy?
The importance of energy efficiency If the current trend of energy use continues for the next 5000 years, it has been predicted that sea levels will rise 216 feet. If this prediction comes true, London, Bangladesh and most of China would no longer exist. The environmental impact, combined with the potential savings to a company’s energy bill should be enough
In the European Union, the industrial sector accounts for 27 per cent of total energy use. Keeping a factory within regulation will therefore be essential for industrial plant managers, who will have to maintain good energy efficiency of a facility and its equipment to remain compliant, cut costs and protect the environment. But, what can plant managers do to improve energy efficiency?
Insulating equipment Just as a light bulb releases excess heat, so does industrial equipment. For machines that require heating, plant managers should consider minimising this heat loss using insulation. This can lead to savings on an energy bill — if equipment loses less heat, it requires less energy to replace it. It’s particularly important to insulate equipment with a high internal temperature, as heat loss will be greater where the gradient between internal and external environments is large. In residential environments, insulation of 350 to 500 millimetres is a regulatory requirement. Interestingly, power plants are only required to have 100 millimetres, despite the fact that they have greater heat losses. It could be argued that this requirement isn’t sufficient, as the potential to increase efficiency and improve performance is so large. In many processes, parts of a system are poorly insulated, typically including valves and flanges. To improve insulation in demanding environments, plant managers should ensure that it has the required thermal and mechanical properties including water resistance and corrosion. This keeps the heat in the system, reducing wasted energy in the long term.
to convince plant managers that it is worth improving energy efficiency. The Government is also incentivising businesses to cut energy use. From April 2018, regulations state that non-domestic privately rented properties must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of at least an E. These ratings, which are determined by property inspection, take into account CO2 emissions, fuel costs per year and energy performance related features such as wall insulation, windows and heating systems.
To measure a building’s energy use, plant managers can use submetering, which monitors the electrical consumption of equipment in a building, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and more. This can be viewed as a breakdown per system or per building, giving good visibility into system performance. The resulting information explains the actual energy usage, rather than relying on estimations. Using submetering allows facilities managers a specific insight into the facility’s efficiency and performance. Using this detailed understanding, a plant manager can make decisions to save energy and therefore cut costs.
One way plant managers can use data from submetering to save money is by minimising energy use at peak times. This is because energy suppliers often implement peak demand management, whereby they charge extra per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy at the time when consumption is highest.
Variable speed drives (VSDs) The majority of electric motors run at their maximum speed – manufacturers can alter the output by changing fuel flow. This results in a lot of wasted energy and is one reason why electric motors account for 43 to 45 per cent of all global electricity consumption. A VSD can reduce a motor’s energy consumption by up to 60 per cent, which can lead to dramatic increases in energy costs for a continuously running motor, particularly if a plant manager is operating several. Currently, 90 per cent of electric motors are not fitted with variable speed drives. This provides an opportunity for all industries to equip the motors that would benefit. Improving the uptake of this technology is sure to improve the energy efficiency of systems around the world. Some industrial plant managers may be put off by the initial investment in energy efficient technologies, the same reason that may put consumers off LED bulbs. However, in both cases, opting for the more expensive, but more efficient option tends to work out cheaper. This is because of the savings to the energy bill over time. Manufacturers can benefit financially from technologies that reduce wasted energy, by incorporating insulation, submetering and VSDs into production facilities. The technologies can cut energy bills, ensure regulatory compliance and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Oh, and you might as well change the light bulbs to LEDs while you’re at it. v
Jonathan Wilkins Jonathan Wilkins is marketing director of obsolete industrial automation parts supplier, EU Automation. EU Automation stocks and sells new, used, refurbished and obsolete industrial automation spares. Its global network of preferred partner warehouses, and wholly owned distribution centres, enables it to offer a unique service within the automation industry, spanning the entire globe. It provides worldwide express delivery on all products meaning it can supply any part, to any destination, at very short notice. www.euautomation.com
Richard Walker takes a look at how to deal with hazardous waste as a business
f you’re a business that is handling any type of hazardous waste, it’s vital that you have an effective waste management plan in place to tackle any problems that could occur and cause unpleasant damage to your company – something that all employers should be trying to avoid, especially when such waste can be harmful to the health of your employees and the environment in general. However, it’s often a big misconception that hazardous waste comes only as a gas – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Hazardous waste can be present in many different forms, ranging from solids to liquids and sludges and this can often lead to groundwater and surface contamination. The British government has strict direction on how businesses should be handling this issue.
Knowing your waste The government has said that if you’re producing or carrying hazardous waste as a business, you have a duty of care that must be taken seriously and are ultimately responsible for identifying all waste that you come into contact with. When it comes to knowing your waste, there are two points in how one can identify its type: is it harmful to humans? And is it damaging to the environment? These are two of the main factors that you need to think about – but here is a list of some of the most common types of hazardous waste: • Asbestos • Chemicals such as brake fluid and printer toner • Batteries • Solvents • Pesticides
• Oils such as car oil • Equipment that contains ozone depleting substances such as fridges As a business handling waste, if you identify any of the above, you need to store each type separately to other waste you produce within the business in order to make your premises a safe working environment for all.
appropriate containers, it’s important to then label it accordingly so that all people who are operating near it are aware of what it is. Remember to place waterproof covers over containers to prevent any hazardous liquids running onto the floor causing a greater danger to people working in the surrounding area. It’s vital that all types of hazardous waste are stored away in different compartments. If the waste your business is producing is a liquid, you will require a bund or a barrier that can be put in place to reduce the risk of any spills or leakages. If your waste is being kept on the grounds of our business, make sure that your employees are routinely checking storage areas for any damaged containers as well as the surrounding area to make sure that they are all operating in a safe place. Often forgotten but equally important to the previous points, employers need to keep a record of all of the hazardous waste that is kept on the premises and the location of its whereabouts. This is beneficial if an incident does occur, emergency services will be able to deal with the situations instantly without having to ask any unnecessary questions that could prevent them from dealing with the scenario sooner.
The collection of hazardous waste
Storing waste safely Although storing your waste away can seem like an easy solution, reducing the amount of hazardous waste you produce as a business is even easier. But once the storing process begins, hazardous waste can be put under four different sub-categories, however these are not exclusive: • Construction • Demolition • Industry • Agriculture Hazardous waste should be stored in a secure area once the amount of waste your business is producing has been reduced. It’s important to make sure that none of your hazardous waste escapes the containers that it has been placed in – this should be at the forefront of your mind when storing. After waste has been place its
A consignment note will need to be completed once hazardous waste has been collected and taken away from your premises. This is a really important part of hazardous waste collection as business owners need to be able to account for waste that enters and leaves their business. Consignment notes are required for hazardous waste for the following: • Collections from businesses that are registered waste carriers • Movements from one premises to another within the same organisation • When another business has produced waste, movements from customer premises A consignment note is not needed in the following scenarios: • The movement of domestic hazardous waste – other than asbestos • Waste has been imported and exported under international waste shipment controls that require a different movement note Details of your hazardous waste For waste to be removed from your premises, you need to provide details of the waste that you
want to be disposed of in your consignment note – this means that the hazardous waste handlers will be able to remove it more efficiently. Description You need to make note of all types of waste you want to be removed. Amount When it comes to describing the amount of waste that you want to be removed, it is important that you give the weight in kilos – when it comes to hazardous liquids, you need to convert this into the appropriate volumes in order to give accurate measurements. Chemicals Identifying the chemical and biological parts of your waste is essential – this includes both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Physicality What is your hazardous waste most like? You need to enter a form describing whether it is a gas, solid, liquid, powder, sludge or even mixed. However, consignment notes are not free to submit and once you have completed it, it will need to be paid for. The charge in England and Wales is £10 per collection. If there are multiple collections, the price is reduced to £5 for each consignment note. This charge varies across Northern Ireland and Scotland, but depending on applicability the fee is around £15. v
Richard Walker Richard Walker is marketing manager at Reconomy, the UK’s leading provider of recycling and resource management services. It has an office based in Telford, Shropshire and from that office, it co-ordinates in excess of 12,000 waste movements every week and annually manages approximately 3m tonnes of waste. The company works with over a thousand UK businesses from SMEs through to large blue chip companies, helping them manage their waste in a responsible, sustainable and cost-effective way. www.reconomy.com/services/skip-hire
thrive In an increasingly uncertain business environment – of which Brexit is the latest manifestation – manufacturers need to be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances writes Alex Clark
epending on your viewpoint, Brexit brings either unwelcome additional challenges or a chance to embrace new opportunities – adopting Agile ways is relevant to both. Monolithic manufacturing enterprises, churning out the same product, in the same way, year after year are a thing of the past, certainly in open marketplaces. Businesses in the UK and Europe have had to learn to be more innovative in their ways of working or see themselves be overtaken or undercut by more nimble rivals, either at home or overseas. The sector is used to concepts such as lean manufacturing, continuous improvement through disciplines like Kaizen and the idea of engineers working iteratively to develop new products. Less well known, though, are the practices that underlie Agile business thinking. Originally linked to software development in the 1990s, Agile evolved first into a project management framework and, more recently, into guidance that has implications for the whole of an organisation, from marketing and HR to budgeting and contracts. One of the key principles at the heart of Agile is the importance of communication and engagement with all stakeholders – whether internal or external – and listening to what they say. As Brexit changes the landscape in which manufacturers operate, this is becoming more important than ever. Consider two different scenarios. UK companies that want to continue to trade within the Single Market may decide to shift some or all of their manufacturing to mainland Europe to circumvent border controls. For some, this will be the first time their operations have been split across different countries and cultures; ensuring effective communications between the different sites will be crucial for future success. IT can help provide the means for sending information but it requires much greater effort to ensure that information is understood and acted upon. Businesses that look to new international markets post-Brexit will face similar challenges as they build new teams in South America, Africa and the Far East. Distance makes it even more important that communications are built on firm foundations, and in my
experience across numerous industries this requires at least some face-to-face contact. Uncertainty brings costs, and if these cannot be absorbed they will need to be passed on to the customer. Two factors can help mitigate this. Listening to what clients are saying and rapidly adapting product – with enhanced features – can justify a higher price. Manufacturers must embrace new technology to assist them with this, using 3D printing, for example, for fast prototyping to reduce the product lifecycle and get improved goods out of the factory more quickly. Arguably, costs can also be reduced via outsourcing but a complex supply chain can be fraught with risk, and far from flexible. An early lesson I learnt during a major change management programme for a multi-national manufacturer was that it was not enough for the in-house teams to embrace Agile thinking; external suppliers also had to do so or they risked being the project’s weakest link. This same project demonstrated the importance of having buy-in for the changes we were trying to achieve – improving product lifecycle management – from across the organisation, both geographically and hierarchically. Close communication within and between the different teams was also vital, as was ensuring management had oversight of what was going on. Staff can often be the key to working in a flexible way and adapting to changing circumstances. Their hands-on experience of the daily realities a business faces means they have valuable insights and should – within parameters – be allowed to act upon them. Businesses that are willing to move on from traditional ‘command and control’ techniques, encourage a no-blame culture and empower their employees to take decisions can increase profitability and flexibility at virtually no additional cost. Making the best of Brexit will also require businesses to think carefully about their priorities and to keep them under review. Correctly prioritising, blending and balancing a portfolio ensures an organisation’s appetite for change does not exceed its capacity to deliver. This approach – and the associated Agile Portfolio Management framework – emphasises the value of staying open to innovation by drawing in new ideas from across the company and evaluating these objectively on an ongoing basis. In a similar vein, manufacturers must never rest on their laurels. Even when a new product is successful, it won’t be as good as it could possibly be: standing still is a recipe for disaster. Instead manufacturers must continuously look for ways to improve the products they make and how they make them. This is as true for a multi-national as it is for a niche engineering business. Stay Agile, keep moving, listen carefully and be ready to change – that way you can make a success of Brexit. v
Alex Clark Alex Clark is a subject matter expert and a contributor to the Framework for Business Agility at the Agile Business Consortium. He is a pragmatic Agile evangelist who has more than 20 years’ experience delivering Agile transformations, building and managing PMOs and running change portfolios. The Agile Business Consortium is a global leader in promoting business agility, with unrivalled expertise in the field. A not-for-profit organisation, it pioneered Agile and continues to inspire new developments and thinking such as the role of innovation at the heart of the Framework for Business Agility. www.agilebusiness.org
Europe leading the way
A new study has found that Europe is leading the way when it comes to innovation activity to develop the main 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies. Published by the European Patent Office, the study, which is entitled ‘Patents and the 4th Industrial Revolution’, confirms that more patents relating to 4IR technologies originated in Europe in 2016 than from any other area of the world. The analysis is based on data about patent filings in three core areas – ICT to create connected objects; enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence and user interfaces and key areas of application such as vehicles, entertainment and the home. Karl Barnfather, chairman at intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers, comments: “Filing activity in the area of smart connected devices really took off in the mid-1990s and since then inventors of core technologies have secured a strong foundation of global patents, which is now providing a springboard for a second and third wave of innovation. “There is a massive opportunity for UK-based innovators of second and third tier technologies to capitalise on the work that has been achieved to date; developing novel apps or interface systems that will help to make smart connected devices part of our everyday lives. However, there is a race to market and it is important that innovators don’t lose out and secure commercial protection for their inventions.”
The Government Printing Press of Italy, the Instituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (IPZS), has commissioned the German company Tönnjes E.A.S.T. to build the world’s first fully automated car license plate production facility. In Italy, the printing of all security documents, such as passports, number plates, bank notes or driving licenses is centralised and in the hands of the state — this is unique in the European Union. At the new location near Turin, around six million number plates will be manufactured per year from the end of 2018. Holger Lang, Managing Director at Tönnjes E.A.S.T. gives more details about the project: “The special feature lies in the complex, automated interlinking of all work processes. There will be minimum staff – instead there will be a tactical combination of machines, logistics and software. All components used in Italy hail from our range of machines for the production of license plates. For the first time, however, they will be all digitally connected with each other.” The end result can be divided into three work modules. First of all, the license plates are cut to size, then robots emboss their alpha numerics. In the end, further robots join plate pairs, shrink-wrap and pack them. The digitalisation of the processes permits the plant manager to be continuously informed in real time about the current production status. Furthermore, built-in quality controls directly sort faulty plates. “Each number plate receives its own identification number during production. This allows the authorities to track them when they are on the road, and protects against manipulation,” Holger ends.
Innovation facility unveiled
Global leader in the rigid, thermoform and flexible films market, Klöckner Pentaplast (kp), has opened its state-ofthe-art kp i.center in Sant Cugat, near Barcelona. The opening of the kp facility for innovation, was attended by packaging, manufacturing and retail industry leaders from around the globe. kp CEO Wayne Hewett opened the proceedings, welcoming a number of high-profile speakers to the stage including Dr Mark Caul of Tesco, Edward Bergen of Mintel and José Roldán García of Nielson. “Our kp i.center opened in the true spirit for which it was designed – collaboration,” said kp Global Marketing and Innovation Director, Helene Roberts; who also spoke at the event. “With this facility, we can certainly deliver the wow factor with areas such as our Fresca supermarket but it’s equally important that visitors were able to view the calibre of the machines in our demo area and equipment in our laboratory. It’s of particular interest to them that we are capable of offering a testing environment of the highest quality.” The dedicated demo area features an ULMA thermosealer for MAP and vacuum skin packaging, a MULTIVAC MAP and an Erca dairy line. The high-tech machinery will allow kp customers to test and assess designs in real-time and in line with industry leading standards. “We’re confident attendees were impressed with the kp i.center’s ability to help them bring products to market quicker and more effectively. We look forward to welcoming both existing and new clients to Sant Cugat in the near future,” added Dr. Roberts.
Handle the pressure BG Engineering has introduced a new in-house pressure test and assembly service, following the acquisition of a High-Pressure Testing Facility adjacent to its existing facility in Chesterfield. The testing facility includes a complex leakage detection system and has a number of safety systems including oxygen monitoring, nitrogen extraction and interlocking controls. It is also equipped with overhead cranes that have a ten-tonne lifting capacity, and a two-tonne handling crane which is situated within the high-pressure test room. The test equipment includes a Resato High Pressure Technology System and Haskel Pressure Controller, which have both been specially adapted to enable BG Engineering to pressure test valves and other components, up to 700 bar pneumatic and 1000 bar hydrostatic. The company has also recruited a specialist operator to manage the new operation. The equipment provides BG Engineering with the capabilities to run rigorous testing from outside of the test room, detect the smallest leakages and carry out strength and functionality testing of valves and pressure bearing products.
manufacturing news Driving performance March 2018 sees the return of the Pakistan International Auto Show (PAPS) at the prestigious Lahore International Expo Centre. The largest gathering of leading auto parts suppliers and auto service providers in the country, the three-day event is organised by PAAPAM (The Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers), promises to ‘bring together the whole motoring spectrum in a unique collaboration’. Based on previous Auto Show estimates, PAPS 2018 is expected to draw a crowd of more than 100,000 visitors, ranging from parts manufacturers, component suppliers, and auto lovers to affluent auto mobile buyers, who are all after a glimpse of the latest models from the world’s leading automakers in the motorcycle, three-wheeler, car, tractor, truck and bus sectors. In addition to covering the full range of motor vehicle parts and components for the drive, chassis, body, electrics and electronic groups, equipment for vehicle service and repair, bodywork repair and painting, tyres and batteries, this event also introduces the automotive market’s most recent technology, services and solutions. Indeed, PAPS is the pioneering trade exhibition for the rapidly developing automotive aftermarket in Pakistan. It will provide excellent opportunities for leading brands, automotive accessories and spare parts companies, and after-sales service providers to expand their sales network and strengthen their presence in the region’s fastest growing garage gear market. Sponsored by some of the world’s foremost auto manufacturers, including Toyota, Suzuki and Volvo, as well as other blue-chip organisations such as Shell and Total, PAPS offers visitors the opportunity to visit huge displays, discover every conceivable
automotive product and service available to current and future vehicle owners, and learn from seminars presented by industry experts and take part in conference sessions. With a complete representation of all automotive sectors gathered under one roof, the Pakistan Auto Show 2018 will provide automotive professionals with the ideal platform to present their products to the public, enhance their presence in the fast-expanding foreign markets, and explore new roads for dealerships and partnerships.
Pakistan International Auto Show 2018 2-4 March 2018 Lahore Expo Centre www.pakistanautoshow.com
Digital vision Dassault Systèmes and Toyota Motor Europe (TME) have signed a three-year contract to collaborate on an optimised digital production process to create next generation digital marketing solutions for all new car launches in Europe. These solutions will feature localised and personalised content targeting consumers seeking new, customised experiences in the car buying journey. “In TME, we are constantly improving our consumer-centric approach and recognise that a lean and flexible digital asset production process is key to supporting mass customisation,” said Alex Carnazza, Manager, Web Content and Brochures, Marketing Communications, Toyota Motor Europe. “Dassault Systèmes’ vision allows us to prepare for a robust digital strategy aimed at gaining a competitive advantage in terms of costs, time, quality, scalability, integration and agility when producing digital marketing assets.” “Dassault Systèmes is helping Toyota Motor Europe connect data, people and ideas to create excitement and emotion with consumers early on in the purchase experience,” added Olivier Sappin, Vice President, Transportation & Mobility Industry, Dassault Systèmes. “Going forward, we will work with Toyota Motor Europe to explore how the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can bring additional value and further enrich these unique experiences through onsite services and solutions.”
MANUFACTURING NEWS Ups and downs
According to the latest quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey, which was released in January 2018, UK manufacturing growth accelerated over the last three months. The survey of 369 manufacturers revealed that optimism about both business conditions and export prospects improved at an above-average pace. However, skill shortages are high on firms’ agendas, with the number of firms citing skilled labour as a factor likely to limit output over the next three months the highest for more than four decades. And overall capacity pressures are biting hard: the proportion of firms with spare operating capacity was the lowest in 29 years. Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said: “It’s good to see manufacturing going from strength-to-strength with growth up and the buoyant global economy boosting export orders. But the past depreciation in Sterling continues to leave its mark on firms’ costs and margins. With expectations for factory gate price inflation at their highest in 30 years, the pressure on consumer prices looks set to persist. “Capacity pressures are ramping up and skill shortages are a big concern, underlining the importance of establishing a future immigration system that provides companies with access to talent and labour.”
Cisco and Cortexica Vision Systems Ltd have announced their partnership in an Innovate UK funded proof of concept, AISAFE (Autonomous Intelligent System for Assuring Safe working Environments). Initiated to solve a challenge set out by the UK Government’s Innovation agency, the collaboration aims to reduce human error in physical safety and improve productivity. Example use cases include real-time video analysis and applied AI to help validate that correct equipment is worn in a physical work environment for both safety, security and to avoid additional cost associated with contamination. Using real-time video analysis provided by Cisco, the advanced algorithms and machine learning from Cortexica match an employee’s equipment, including headwear, eyewear and footwear, against a client’s inventory, known as a Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) detection. If non-compliant equipment is detected, it will alert, advise and restrict access to the environment. Nick Chrissos, Head of Innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland commented: “The application of digital technologies and applied artificial intelligence has the potential to impact the welfare and productivity of workers across many industries.” “AI Safe brings together an IT powerhouse with a pioneering disruptor to provide a targeted solution to solve real world problems,” added SP Johnston, Senior Business Development Director of Cortexica.
Focus on: 18 Beardow Adams 21 Wenmec AB 24 Victoria PLC 28 Radio Design 32 Hansen Industrial Transmissions 35 Omar Group 40 Simworx 44 CPI Card Group Europe 48 HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH 51 Helical Technology 54 Yelo 58 Carl Zeiss Ltd 61 Tetronics International 64 Universal Tool & Production Company Ltd 66 Greif 68 Haigh Engineering Company Ltd 70 UBH International Ltd 72 Indus Motor Company 74 DURA Automotive Systems
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Sticking to the
Beardow Adamsâ€™ mission to be the first to innovate and the first to market has resulted in the development of reliable, high-performance adhesive products that meet the toughest of challenges
ypically taking the form of 100 per cent solid formulations based on thermoplastic polymers, hot melt adhesives are solid at room temperature and activated upon heating above their softening point. Following application, these adhesives retain the ability to wet the substrate until they solidify and return to a physical state that has structural integrity.This capability has resulted in hot melts being utilised in a wide range of applications and adopted by a varied mix of industry sectors. The future potential for these adhesives was recognised by one Bob Adams back in the 1970s.
A chemist with a passion for innovation and new products, Bob would partner with Len Beardow to create the company which bears their respective surnames in 1977. In the 40-plus years since, Beardow Adams has gained a reputation for developing quality assured adhesives, which are today trusted by more than 10,000 respected companies around the world across a variety of applications including, packaging, labelling, woodworking, product assembly and bookbinding. â€œTaking inspiration from Bob and Len, we have spent the last four decades being committed to the ethos of helping to solve the problems encountered
by our customers,” states Beardow Adams’ Group CEO, Adrian Day. “In an industry that historically has been typified by large, multi-national companies churning out thousands of tonnes of product for specific applications, we have worked hard to carve out a place in the market where we have become a trusted servicer of bespoke niche needs. With a product variance of several thousand combinations, a total of 14 production lines throughout the UK, and the ability to produce batches between one and ten tonnes at any one time, we have the flexibility needed to develop a tailored adhesive and get it into production quickly.This is a quality that very few companies can replicate and has led to the success that we have experienced.” As well as being hedged well from a product and customer base perspective, Beardow Adams has ensured that it is also well positioned geographically, which has been essential to its growth with 80 per cent of what it produces in the UK now being exported.This business is further supported by the sites and former partner companies it has acquired in recent years in Germany, Sweden and in the United States. “In the case of Germany, it is the largest
consumer of adhesives in Europe so having a presence here is strategically very important, while the purchase of a former partner company in Sweden in 2014 has provided us a stepping stone into the Nordic region,” Adrian explains. “When it comes to the United States, we took the bold step of purchasing and investing in a greenfield site in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2012, in a bid to realise our own version of the American Dream. “On this greenfield site we decided to construct a hot melt adhesive plant, replicating the success we have had in the UK, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. Whereas in the UK we can produce 50,000 tonnes per annum, in the US our facility has a capacity of 30,000 tonnes per annum, which we can leverage to serve a similar area of the market as that in Europe where the emphasis is on smaller, niche projects that have a shorter lead time.To date, we have experienced relatively quick growth on this side of the Atlantic and there are good signs that this will continue.” It goes without saying, however, that central to Beardow Adams success has been the its track record of producing quality products. Scientifically formulated and technically advanced, its adhesives
Since its inception in 2006, Rosenflex, the UK packaging experts, have focused on providing the best quality packaging and service to the three main packaging areas; FIBC’s, Polyethylene and Paper. We are passionate about supplying our customers with the most effective and cost efficient solutions, establishing long term relationships, built on trust and confidence, and developing a key understanding with our customers.
consistently outperform traditional variants. Case in point is its BAMFutura range, which was first introduced in 1998 and has helped redefine the standards for adhesive performance. So much so that it led the company to its first Queen’s Awards, this time for Innovation in the same year. “At the time when we first developed our BAMFutura product it was a challenge for anyone to produce clear, clean running performance adhesives, particularly in the field of food packaging,” Adrian continues. “What we created was a product that can be produced and applied quickly to multiple applications, and to this day nobody has been able to match its performance.The success of the BAMFutura range is also what led the company to achieving the British Retail Consortium manufacturing standard, meaning that we are able to produce this adhesive in a hygiene environment similar to that used within the food industry itself.” Further to the above range of products, a major source of growth for Beardow Adams
during 2017 was its advances in pressure sensitivity adhesives (PSA’s), particularly where they relate to the flexible packaging market. “Where you see all these mail order bags and packages used to deliver clothing from online retailers, you see an application that usually requires a self-adhesive strip to seal it,” describes Head of Strategic Markets, Eric Coveney. “To service this rapidly growing market we have developed an extremely high performing hot melt PSA range called Pressen. Able to be applied quickly and work effectively across a range of different applications, temperatures and environments, Pressen has come to be one of our fastest growing product groups.” 2018 is an exciting time for the company, not least of all as it embarks of a period of change within its management structure, with Bob Adams moving into the role of Chairman and the next generation of executives taking their place in leading the business forward, all the while ensuring that it remains true to its values. From an operational perspective, the company finds itself in the process of building a new hot melt adhesive operation on the site of its existing Frankfurt facility. “This decision was taken to address our need to create more physical capacity and introduce our first hot melt activities on the continent,” Adrian adds. “We anticipate having this up and running in 2019, after which we will be able to directly service our customers in the larger European markets. “Meanwhile, we are excited to be in the process of commissioning a new product line, which will be going live in March 2018.This line will also fall into our PSA (Pressen) category and will increase our capacity by approximately 3000 tonnes. So, the focus for us as a business in 2018 will be in gaining capacity and presence in Europe, achieving growth in the United States, and building our partner and customer base in the UK.” Adrian, Eric and the rest of the Beardow Adams’ team are all well aware of the reasons behind its success to date, namely its dedication to innovation and product development, and the need to remain committed to these principles. “The market around us continues to consolidate, and this is helping to create fresh opportunities as niche solutions become harder to source from the larger multinationals,” Adrian says. “With this trend influencing the market we know that, so long as we stay true to our strengths and focus on developing quality, flexible and quick-to-market products, growth will come naturally to us as it has before.”
Products: High performance adhesives
By being able to adapt its production capabilities to individual requirements and external demands, Wenmec has proven itself to be proficient in consistently exceeding its customer’s expectations
hrough both recessions and times of economic prosperity, the manufacturing industry has acted as Sweden’s growth engine, constituting a major part of its GDP and playing a decisive role in the country’s development, employment and export market. Offering great opportunities for cost efficient and advanced manufacturing operations for an international audience, it is little surprise that some of the world’s leading companies began life in Sweden, before going on to become global brands.
In the last several decades, the country has admirably upheld its reputation for manufacturing excellence, thanks in par t to the success of its native businesses. An ideal example of this success can be found in the activities of Wenmec. A well-established engineering company, celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2018, Wenmec came about following the merging of CJ Wennberg and Kils Industri AB in 1983. Owned by Vänern Handel and Industri AB since 2007, the company today manufactures components, products and complete systems from its two production facilities, one located in Kil, South Värmland and the second in Nanjing, China. “Over the course of the last few years we have seen our effor ts rewarded with solid year-
on-year growth, which is a trend we expect to continue during 2018,” explains Wenmec’s Chief Executive Officer, Henrik Toernkvist. “The customers that we have long standing relationships with have been increasing their own volumes of work, which in turn increases demand for our services. At the same time, we have worked hard to successfully bring in new business and par tnerships.” From its extensive machine park, Wenmec cultivates specialist exper tise in key areas such as machining, welding and assembly. As a leading systems supplier, it also takes responsibility for tasks including, purchasing, material flow, logistics, and delivery planning and prognoses. “The key to our success has been our ability to combine a well-developed purchasing strategy with our key skills in machining, welding and assembly,” Henrik continues. “The relationships we have with our suppliers, who are the best in their respective fields, are vital to the way we operate and allow us to keep high stock levels on site, while our expertise when it comes to complex product assemblies allows us to meet the specifications and expectations of our customers.” Flexibility is key to Wenmec and its customer’s respective success. In the case of
Wenmec AB the former, it is this quality that allows it to adapt quickly to the wishes of its customers and take fast, effective control over the entire production process, culminating in the timely and safe delivery of finished products. Over the years these products have ended up being put to use on a number of different types of project, from bombing chambers and propeller/ turbine shafts, to offshore and hydraulic components. Today, however its biggest market is the mining industry. “The customers we supply assembled products to are based in countries such as Sweden, India and China, while the machines that they go on to produce are dispatched all over the world. This makes what we do a crucial part of the manufacturing process, helping to get mining equipment to its required destination,” Henrik states. Within the confines of its manufacturing and production facilities is an enviable collection of modern machinery. This includes a number of boring machines, a range of different machines for milling, carousel lathes capable of processing large work pieces, and five advanced welding robots. The majority of this equipment is CNCcontrolled or curve line controlled. “In 2017, we took the decision to make several impor tant investments when it comes to our machinery and infrastructure,” Henrik reveals. “This included the purchase of our newest welding robot, which comes complete with a built-in camera that is used to follow the welding track. We have also bought a large, 5-axis milling machine, which is capable of taking on a 25-tonne workpiece on its table. This is a very robust piece of equipment, which we began using in December 2017 and has already helped increase our in-house capabilities substantially.” This year, 2018, not only marks the 35th bir thday of the company, but it also kick-starts an ambitious five-year growth plan, which Henrik and the rest of Wenmec’s management team hopes will take it to the next level. “From a manufacturing perspective, this plan involves the acquisition of additional welding robots and other machinery that will further enhance our capabilities,” he says. “Meanwhile, we are also excited about the future possibilities that are offered by our Chinese subsidiary, which is now showing strong signs of progress having been inaugurated in 2012. “We also want to enhance the working lives of our employees. We aim to do this by not only improving the environment in which they operate, but also be investing further in their individual development through education and training programmes. This will also assist us in developing the next wave of workers and safeguarding the future of our business.”
Services: Component and system welding, machining and assembly
A drive to
From its beginnings in 1895 in a small Scottish factory, Victoria PLC has risen to become a leading manufacturer and distributor of flooring products, with operations across the UK, Europe and Australia
f there is one word that accurately describes the last five years for Victoria PLC it is ‘diversification’. Spurred on by the vision of its majority shareholder and Executive Chairman Geoff Wilding, the group has embarked on a programme of targeted acquisitions that complement its reputation as being a successful international manufacturer, supplier and distributor of contemporary carpets, carpet tiles and other floorcoverings. “One of the first things Geoff identified when he stepped into the business was the need to expand our production capabilities in order to
meet growing demand,” explains Group Chief Executive Officer, Philippe Hamers. “The process of responding to this challenge began in 2014 with the acquisition of UK carpet manufacturer Abingdon Flooring Limited and its wholly owned subsidiaries. This pattern of acquisitions would then continue into 2015 and beyond as we purchased a number of businesses that we identified as having strong synergies with our own ambitions.” These purchases included the Whitestone Weavers group of UK companies, Australian carpet manufacturer Quest Carpets, and the
UK’s leading manufacturer of carpet underlay Interfloor Group Limited in 2015. One year later, it completed the acquisition of the business assets of UK underlay manufacturer Ezi Floor, before then bringing Dunlop Flooring, one of Australia’s foremost underlay and hard flooring specialists, into the fold in 2017. Most recently, it has also taken great strides into the European ceramic flooring market with the acquisition of both the Italian manufacturer Ceramiche Serra and the Spanish company Keraben Grupo. The aforementioned developments encapsulate Victoria PLC’s evolution into
Victoria PLC The recently aquired Keraben Grupo, manufacturers of ceramic flooring
becoming what it refers to as a ‘dynamic flooring company’. “What we are striving towards is an operation that essentially has three core strands, or legs if you will,” Philippe continues. “The first of these covers soft flooring, the second hard flooring such as ceramics and the third centres on luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and hardwood flooring products. In the latter field, we are presently sourcing possible brands to help us feed that pipeline, which in turn will help Victoria PLC to add to its own ‘one-stop-shop’ concept and the service proposition we offer to our customers. “This concept will be further strengthened as we regroup our activities under one platform, called the ‘My Manufacturing Platform’, which will be based in Wales at the former Abingdon facility. It is also here where we are repositioning all of our testing and finishing activities, which will include the construction of a new finishing line to beef up our production capacity.” Developing synergies between Victoria PLC’s different brands and business segments has been vital to its success and to the smooth transition of business purchases into the group’s structure. These synergies flow all the way from the manufacturing process through to the distribution of finished products. “We have worked hard in recent times to engineer lean
On the continent, the trend towards hard flooring, namely ceramics and hardwood, continues to dominate and in order to seize upon this we will be examining the possibility of further targeted acquisitions in the months ahead
manufacturing techniques and adopt shared best practices that help to make us as competitive as possible,” Philippe states. “These best practices include working towards a dedicated objective list of reasonable targets, being committed to the ongoing training and development of our people up to NVQ level, eliminating wastage from our production processes and lowering our environmental footprint.”
Philippe is aware however that, while manufacturing excellence is of huge importance, in order to reach new heights as a business this must be paired with high-end distribution capabilities. It is this understanding that has seen Victoria PLC invest heavily in this area of the business, with a new distribution centre located in the north of London due to begin operations in June 2018. It is through this
centre that the group plans to offer guaranteed 24 or 48-hour delivery of its products, depending on its customer’s location. In talking to Philippe, it quickly becomes clear that Victoria PLC has constructed two distinct pathways to achieving growth. “The first of these paths relates to organic growth and we have performed very well here, recording growth of up to ten per cent in recent years by hammering home our commitment to service,” he says. “The second path involves our well-documented acquisition programme, and so long as we continue to develop these two paths we believe that we can achieve considerable further growth in the coming years.”
AYM Syntex Ltd
AYM Syntex Ltd is the Indian market leader in multi polymer specialty Bulk Continuous Filament (BCF) yarns manufacturing and exports. It has recently acquired new capabilities and expanded its manufacturing capacities to 18,000 metric tonnes annually, coupled with the latest Tri-Color Technology. To balance the subsequent downstream processes, its facility is also well equipped with the requisite cabling and heat set machines: Neumag S+, Volkman Cabling, Superba TVP 3S, Power Heat Set GVA 8 (Suessen), Gilbos (Airtwist/Intermingled). AYM Syntex deeply values its relationship with Victoria PLC (Abingdon Flooring) and is delighted to be its most preferred supplier on the grounds of impeccable quality, on-time delivery, excellent customer service and continuous innovation. Comfeel™ yarn is AYM’s latest product innovation. Offering excellent performance with softness, high resilience, stain and UV resistance, coupled with inherent anti-shock properties, Comfeel™ is the ideal choice for luxurious and durable carpets used for residential and contract purposes.
As part of its immediate plans to capitalise on these growth opportunities the group is presently examining options both within the UK and in continental Europe. “On the continent, the trend towards hard flooring, namely ceramics and hardwood, continues to dominate and in order to seize upon this we will be examining the possibility of further targeted acquisitions in the months ahead,” Philippe adds. “Meanwhile, in the UK we will also be screening the market for potential options to complete the synergies that we have been establishing and build further on our service proposition.” The group is also excited to be moving forward with the evolution of its logistics offering, with early stage plans to follow up on the opening of its new North London distribution centre with a similar platform in the North of England. “The strategies we have in place help to highlight Victoria PLC’s agility and the core capabilities of the group,” Philippe concludes. “Together we like to think of ourselves as a team of entrepreneurs, who are committed to product development and able to make quick, proactive decisions to further the growth of the group. This mentality has helped us to expand and
evolve fantastically over the last five years and we are convinced that a whole host of opportunities await us.”
Products: Innovative flooring products
By utilising multi award-winning technology, Radio Design’s solutions allow the world’s largest network operators to achieve maximum data throughput and capacity, through existing and shared infrastructure
t has been said countless times that today is the ‘age of big data’. Everywhere we look there is an increasing demand for data, from the ever-more powerful supercomputers being utilised by global organisations and governments, to the latest smartphones and tablets being released by the world’s technology giants. It is in the latter category where some of the biggest changes are occurring as consumers come to expect the same from their phones as they would their home computers. With this comes an insatiable appetite for data, but one
that is tempered by a demand for costs to be kept to a minimum. The resulting conundrum for mobile and telecommunications operators is the need to increase network capacity while keeping costs down. This is where Radio Design steps in. An award-winning, market leader in the provision of wireless infrastructure sharing solutions and radio frequency (RF) filter systems, this Saltairebased company is the creation of Founder Eric Hawthorn and a pioneering team possessing nearly 500 years of combined leading-edge RF
design, development and volume-manufacturing experience. With a plan to target OEMs, operators and infrastructure companies with the fastest and lowest-cost ways of rolling out their networks, the company has grown considerably in the last decade and now has a worldwide footprint, with additional facilities in Finland, India and China. “At the time that we were establishing ourselves in the market there was a trend building towards network sharing between the major operators,” Eric explains. “Through
a combination of good timing, good product innovation and a slice of good fortune, Radio Design found itself in a position to offer elegant, customised solutions based around RF filters that would allow said operators to share antenna, mast and cable infrastructure in order to boost network capacity. This was, in essence, our first big break. “Around the same time, we also began offering repair services for base station equipment by utilising our strong engineering capabilities to create test solutions for all manner of products that we had not designed originally ourselves. This was the catalyst for the formation of our repairs business and has since been the source of a solid flow of additional income, and provided us with the opportunity to set up in countries like India.” Radio Design’s product portfolio is extensive and includes, network-sharing filter combiners, interference mitigation filters, technologysharing filter combiners and coverage/ capacity enhancement solutions. “Our principle manufacturing base is the UK, from where we
Development Engineering Services Ltd
Development Engineering Services Ltd (DES) and Radio Design have worked together for over ten years, with DES acting as its preferred supplier of machined filter and combiner bodies in the UK. Radio Design is a market leader in the provision of wireless infrastructure sharing solutions and RF filter systems, so all project work needs to be of the highest quality and delivered to tight schedules. This is where DES excels, ticking every box in terms of product quality, lead time and pricing. With a team that comes from a strong engineering background, DES is responsible for programming and manufacturing highly complex RF filter components. DES understands the high standards that its partners work to and are always on hand to offer recommendations to reduce costs and lead times.
shipped an average of 7000 units per month in 2017, which is a figure that we are now in the process of ramping up further,” Eric continues. “Meanwhile, in India we have been shipping between 3000 and 3500 units per month, with this number also expected to increase in the months to come.”
When it comes to its manufacturing processes, this is an area of the business that is continuously evolving and being perfected on an almost daily basis. “In the early days of the company, when we were making only one or two products, our operation was relatively straightforward. The reality is that now, when
in any given month we can be producing up to 60 different products spread across 7000 units, we have had to invest heavily in top-of-the-line manufacturing control systems,” Eric explains. “This investment has seen us develop our own production control software solution called Control Panel, which allows us to track our processes, measure how long they take and gives us a view of what is happening in our factories at any given time.” Said factories feature a mixture of manual and robotic processes, with approximately two million screws a month being inserted by hand. It is manual operations such as this that the company is now looking at ways to perfect and, where possible, automate. “It is important to note that, in my view, this adoption of automation is not going to reduce employment, but increase it as we ramp up production further still,” Eric states. “At the same time, we are conscious of the need to always ensure that our activities are as efficient and cost effective as possible, and that we maximise productivity throughout our facilities.” In November 2017, Radio Design capped off what had already been a successful year with
the announcement that, after several years of hard work and negotiation, it had been granted an import/export licence for the import of used equipment into China, which will then be repaired and exported back to the end user. “The granting of this licence is a major step forward for our Hardware Repair Services (HWS) business in China,” Eric enthuses. “It will not only create an environmentally friendly alternative to the scrapping of used equipment by extending its working life, but it will also support our plans to develop our Chinese repair centre into a hub from which to support customers throughout the surrounding AsiaPacific region.” Adding new customers and markets is at the core of Eric’s plans for the business in 2018, that and ensuring it achieves increased efficiency from its manufacturing practices. Competition from companies in Europe, China and the United States remains an ever-present, and in response Radio Design continues to deliver innovative new solutions, with a recent example being its RF Router, a revolutionary concept that acts as a single optimised box with multiple input and output ports, and all the necessary
routing in between. This new concept has already received strong feedback from existing customers and will be rolled out on a wider scale as 2018 continues. “We have experienced quite the steep journey in terms of growth in recent years and the outlook is for that to continue so we need to make sure that we keep our nose to the grindstone, as it were, and train our focus on where we want to get to as a company,” Eric adds. “The world is a very big place and while we have solid business in the UK, Europe and India, there are huge parts of the world that we have not yet addressed, and it is our job to get there as quickly as we can with what is a niche, specialist capability and a unique, socially and commercially beneficial product set.”
Products: Radio frequency (RF) solutions and technologies
Gearbox manufacturer Hansen Industrial Transmissions reports a profitable year in 2017 since its 2011 acquisition by Sumitomo Heavy Industries
here are legitimate reasons for Hansen Industrial Transmissions (HIT) to be jubilant at the start of 2018. The Belgian-based gearbox manufacturer celebrates its 95th anniversary this year and looks poised for another successful 12 months after finishing 2017 on a high. For the first time since HIT was acquired by Japanese manufacturer Sumitomo Heavy Industries in 2011, the company made a profit as a standalone factory, a proud moment for the firm as General Manager - plant Belgium, Eric Goos tells us. The good news does not stop here as Eric reveals a big announcement that will have a profound impact on the company in the future; “On 4th January 2018 we opened our global R&D centre here in our Edegem facility. It is the first time since our acquisition in 2011 that Sumitomo has invested in an R&D centre outside of Japan.” HIT manufactures different kinds of gearboxes
addressing a variety of applications. “We engineer-to-order what the customers require,” Eric says, discussing the extent of HIT’s activities. “Between 90 and 95 per cent of the gearboxes we manufacture are engineer-to-order and this comprises about 65 per cent of the business. “All the gearboxes are applicant-based and up to 25 per cent of our business covers wet cooling tower business and dry cooling tower business. We cover several other applications like mixer applications, toasters, screw pumps, single stage pumps, drive conveyers, and even downhill conveyers. The industry sectors we manufacture for include energy, food and beverage, packaging, material handling, you name it,” he continues. Eric moves on to tell the story of HIT being acquired by Sumitomo in 2011; “In fact, we already had a joint venture with Sumitomo in 1976, up until almost the early 90s, when it sold Hansen products under a Licence Agreement the companies had signed. Later on, Sumitomo
looked to bring the two together and develop what we had already started in the 80s and 90s.” HIT and Sumitomo blended well together, as the latter benefitted from HIT’s strong reputation in Europe. “Sumitomo has gained a dominant role in the Asian and the American markets while we have a larger footprint in Europe, so bringing the two together earned Sumitomo a better position in this part of the world,” Eric adds. But it was not an easy job for HIT to adapt to the change in environment. Eric frankly reflects on the challenges the factory faced in the first years that ensued post acquisition; “After the acquisition we were struggling. In 2008 and 2009 we had two different kinds of industry – a wind business and an industry business. The wind business came through a strong development in the 90s and outgrew the industry business, which was a bit neglected. However, it was Sumitomo’s specific request to acquire only the industry business, and not the wind business,” Eric says. “So, the company,
Hansen Industrial Transmissions
which was then called Hansen Transmissions International, had to split the two businesses. The wind side was sold to ZF Wind Power, and the industry business was sold to Sumitomo. “The dividing of the two created an imbalance in manpower, as well as in allocation of assets and resources. As a result, the profitability was not as it should be,” Eric remembers. “From the first day of our acquisition we had the ambition to set ourselves the task of becoming profitable and this happened last year,” he concludes, rounding off the story of the growth HIT experienced as part of Sumitomo. Eric attributes the company’s successful period to a number of reasons; “I think cost control in all aspects is key. It is not that our equipment is brand new. In fact, the average age of our machines is between six and 20 years. We are just trying to maintain them as long as possible, and at the same time we are looking to adopt new methods every day that will optimise the working process.” He also emphasises the fact that upon acquisition HIT did not have to change all of its established processes. “We just turned what we do into a more transparent and leaner process,”
he comments. “Continuous improvement is a key factor, and we always seek ideas from everyone that we can, then work out a valid solution. We are never satisfied with a status quo!” The establishment of the new R&D centre at the Hansen facility will occupy the thoughts of Eric and his colleagues throughout 2018; “We are now preparing ourselves to welcome the people who will come from other countries to
Below: Official ceremony for opening the R&D centre with Tatsuro Araki, CEO, Sumitomo Heavy Industries Gearbox Co., Ltd, General Manager, Strategic Business Unit – GB, PTC Group, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Hansen Industrial Transmissions
work here. We already have Japanese employees but we are still waiting for the Americans and the Chinese to join us so it will be a complete international team.” He also outlines the other objectives the company is looking to meet this year; “The top priority remains customer satisfaction, of course. We also want to shorten lead times as we have noticed they were growing in 2017.” It appears that 2018 will be busy for HIT, but Eric is optimistic about the company’s future; “I think we are a strong partner for customers because we co-create with them and think alongside them. We do not say that we have a standard solution to everything. What we say is, that we always have an engineer-to-order solution. As long as we stay this way, the company will have a bright future.”
Welcoming guests for the Grand Opening of the global R&D centre in the Edegem facility of Hansen Industrial Transmissions NV. From left to right: Shaun Dean, President and CEO of EMEIA of Sumitomo & Hansen Industrial Transmissions nv - Vice President - Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. & General Manager, Global HQ, Power Transmissions & Controls Group, Koen Metsu, Mayor of Edegem, Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister of Work, Innovation, Economy and Sports, Eric Goos, General Manager Hansen Industrial Transmissions nv & President Eurotrans, Bernard Stubbe, Agoria national federation, Joris Blommaerts, HR Manager, EMEIA, Dirk Deckers, VDMA Antriebstechnik
Hansen Industrial Transmissions Services: Gearbox manufacturing
With a reputation built upon 50 years of manufacturing excellence, Omar Group’s luxury park homes and lodges have helped transform the retirement and holiday home markets
Omar Colorado park home
A Omar Group Chairman & CEO, Dean Westmoreland
market leading designer and manufacturer to the residential park home and lodge park marketplace, Omar Group (Omar) was first established in 1965 and has built up its brand portfolio in recent times, with the group now encompassing five distinct and respected brands: Omar Park & Leisure Homes, Wessex Unique Lodges & Park Homes, Omar Park Development Services (OPDS), Boutique Lodges, Holidays by Omar and Omar Refurbishment Services. With customers spanning the length of the UK, as well
as overseas, the group is a proud member of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, the National Caravan Council and the Gold Shield ten-year warranty scheme. Omar has a 50-year heritage when it comes to making residential park homes. “We are not a caravan manufacturer, and never have been,” emphasises Omar Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dean Westmoreland. “This is a company that has always innovated and led the way in its field. What really marks out an Omar park home is design flair, outstanding interior
Wessex comtemporary luxury lodge
SIG is a leading distributor of specialist building products to the construction industry throughout the UK. It prides itself on being able to supply customers with a comprehensive range of all of the leading brands and products, as well as the technical expertise of its people. Whether it’s insulation, interiors, dry lining, technical insulation, construction accessories, specialist fixings or M&E, SIG’s network of branches, coupled with a versatile fleet of over 500 vehicles, means it is able to source and deliver any product to any location across the UK, safely and on time.
design, great ergonomics and use of space, the durability of our products, and the fact that they are high quality, offering our residents affordable luxury living. “Omar is a performing business, built upon an open and honest philosophy, strong business ethics and teamwork. Customers recognise Omar for its outstanding products, innovative
design, build quality and market-leading customer service. We are dedicated to the idea of sustainable improvement and take great pride in striving to be the best we can be, in all that we do.” ‘Staycation’ is a term that has risen in usage over the last decade or so, used to describe a holiday spent in one’s home country rather
Omar Group Wessex Allure luxury lodge
than abroad. It has become particularly prevalent in the UK, where ‘stay-at-home’ searches and booking increased by almost a quarter in 2017, compared to 2016, according to data analysis. It comes at a time when UK trips are also getting shorter, with findings indicating that over half of ‘staycationers’ plan breaks of three days or less. The growth of the ‘staycation’ has had a significant knock on effect for those businesses set up to service those taking a break in their home country. This, alongside an aging population and a lack of age appropriate affordable housing driving increasing demand for park homes, has led to private equity groups and other investors moving quickly to acquire and/or invest in British holiday and residential parks, having been attracted by robust growth and solid revenues. One such recipient of this type of investment is Omar, which, in April 2017, announced significant investment in the business from Rutland Partners, which will be used to fund further expansion in the park home and lodge sector.
Teamwork “The team at Omar has worked tirelessly over the years, focusing on delivering best-inclass products and customer service, and their
endeavours have certainly paid off with the group’s turnover quadrupling from £10 million in 2010, to around £50 million today,” Dean explains. “Over this period, the company has also created over 250 jobs, and taken on over 30 apprentices in trades as diverse as IT and Computer Aided Design (CAD), to carpentry and plumbing.” Omar is an integral part of the local community and is the largest employer in Brandon, providing opportunities for 425 staff and 12 apprentices. “Providing opportunities for young people in our local area is important to us, with apprentices being able to study and learn at the coalface, as well as at college, across a broad spectrum of trades. Omar has offered over 30 apprenticeships over the past five years, with a number going on to be retained by the group upon successful completion of their course. We recognise that a happy, well-motivated and well-rewarded workforce is at the core of our success, which is why we always strive to attract, develop and retain the best talent.” This talented group of individuals has, over the years, been responsible for building the very best park and leisure homes that money can buy, and that exceed customers’ expectations. Each home is built using responsibly sourced structural materials and to a specification that surpasses BS 3632:2015, the British Standard
Omar Anniversary park home
for the manufacture of residential park homes and lodges. Over the last five decades there have been a number of new additions to the group’s portfolio of homes and lodges, and there are some that hold specific significance to Dean and his team. “We are particularly proud of the Omar Kingfisher Lodge as it virtually heralded the market for luxury lodges in the 1990s,” he states. “We were tasked by customers who owned both residential and holiday parks to make a product for the holiday market that has the same quality and longevity as our park homes, and in effect the luxury lodge was born. “We are also proud of the Anniversary park home, which was launched as a brand-new product in 2015 – our 50th anniversary year as a limited company. With this product, we proved that it was still possible to make something fresh, new, different and exciting in the park home market. Subsequently, the Anniversary would go on to win a Park Home of the Year award and has been one of our best sellers for each of the past three years.”
Winds of change “Our park homes and lodges, and the parks which site them, have undergone a
transformational change over the last ten years or so,” Dean adds. “Historically, residents bought mobile homes to release some equity from their properties to help fund their retirement. Today, however, park living is more of an aspirational lifestyle, with well-presented gated parks on the edges of towns and semi-rural locations offering an idyllic way of life. It means that our customer base in 2018 is a healthy mix of both middle and working class people. “Industry trends also show that park home estates can play a valuable part in helping to solve the housing crisis. There are an estimated 3.3 million people currently looking to downsize and we offer them the opportunity to do so in a brand-new timber frame, single storey home, at a time when fewer companies are out there building affordable retirement housing, such as bungalows.” When it comes to the group’s manufacturing capabilities and operations, Omar has taken the decision to manufacture in-house what it sees as being key components. “Our steel chassis, engineered in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University, have been redesigned to contend with increases in the size and weight of homes as they evolve. Meanwhile, manufacturing roof trusses, and PVCu windows and doors in-house allows us to be flexible with both size and
Omar Group’s HQ and main manufacturing facility
design,” Dean details. “We also produce kitchen and bedroom furniture, which again allows us to accommodate size changes and offer fully functional fitted furniture to match a customer’s design requirements. Controlling these key items means we can control the quality and ensures that they are lineside when required, reducing our exposure to, and reliance on, third party suppliers. This action drove a change in its manufacturing process from a typical production line and introduced a static finishing area, which removed significant bottlenecks. Immediately following this, we saw a double-digit percentage increase in productivity, with the only additions to our staff being two material handlers.”
Long-term planning As part of its long-term strategic plan, in the summer of 2016, Omar opened the doors to its impressive new, £1.1 million, 43,806 square foot factory extension development at its Brandon production facility. “The new factory extension was primarily carried out to provide us with all new finishing bays,” Dean reveals. “The four main production lines in the factory are six bays deep and enable us to erect units, finish exteriors and make units watertight. Our high-end super lodges and park homes can be in final finish for two weeks, while our entry level affordable homes can be internally finished in three days. The new finishing bays have helped to improve production flow and have given us more room to operate in.” Purpose-built, with consideration given to lighting, location of services and material logistics, this new facility has already generated a marked improvement, not only in manufacturing efficiency but also in the final finish quality provided. “The extension of our Brandon factory has enabled us to increase sales from £39 million to £50 million, and allowed us to create 60 new jobs in Brandon,” Dean enthuses. “It has also provided us with a better environment for final finish and snagging, as well as a show-room type environment that allows our retail customers to come and visit their homes.” In recognition of the above-mentioned growth, Omar found itself being named in 2016 and 2017 in two prestigious reports compiled
by the London Stock Exchange Group; ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ and ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Europe’. Further to this, the group has also recently been placed at No. 45 in the Sunday Times’ eighteenth annual ‘Profit Track 100’ and within the Financial Times’ ‘FT 1000’, a report on the fastest growing companies in Europe. Buoyed by this recognition, as well as the aforementioned investment from Rutland Partners, Omar is in the process of embarking on further expansion. The next big step for the group involves the planned expansion of its satellite manufacturing facility in Hull, which will create a further 80 new full time jobs. What its plans for Hull also represents is Omar’s plan to drive group-wide sales to north of £80 million in the coming years. “An aging population and a lack of affordable, single-story, age-appropriate accommodation has driven our retirement park homes. At the same time, on the lodge side, changing holiday behaviour has driven sales; with a flight towards quality, UK-based selfcatering holidays growing and customers wanting a quality experience. “Meanwhile, we have an ever-increasing focus on expanding our retail sales revenue. Our group websites receive around 28,000 visits a month, which generate around 600 retail leads a month. To build upon this, we have recently introduced Claire Tallon to the team in the role of Retail Sales Manager. It is Claire who will help drive our key initiative, which is to match retail customers to their new dream home.” For Dean, Claire and the rest of the Omar team, the group’s immediate mission statement is clear. “Essentially,” Dean concludes, “we need to do more of what brought us to the dance in the first place, which is offering the very best park home and luxury lodge products, supported by the best team of dedicated professionals, providing outstanding customer service and delighting our retail customers.”
Omar Group’s new finishing bay
Omar Elveden Cottage park home
Product: Park homes and luxury lodges
worlds Simworx gazes into a bright future, as orders to design and build innovative attractions have increased ten-fold in the past few years
heme parks are a popular destination for visitors of any age, and while one’s first reaction when they hear the term might be to associate it with HBO’s successful TV series Westworld where enraged humanlike robots turn on their real human creators, here we will introduce you to a company that specialises in the design and the construction of much friendlier media-based attractions that cater for the unique experiences created by augmented reality for its customers. “Simworx was founded in 2005 following a management buyout of a previous company, whose origins date back to 1997, when it began to manufacture capsule-style simulators before moving on to 3D and 4D effects cinemas,” Managing Director Terry Monkton tells us. “Today, we specialise in media-based attractions and are acknowledged as one of the world’s leading suppliers of Dynamic Motion Stimulation Attractions and 4D effects cinemas for the entertainment, education and corporate markets worldwide. Simworx has designed, built and installed its products all over the world, including in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, New Zealand and the Middle East,” he continues. Over the years, the company has crafted an impressive portfolio of attractions for numerous clients, and Terry gives us an overview of some of the brand’s most sought-after products: “The AGV darkride and the 360° Flying Theatre are creating a lot of interest at the moment, but as we cater for such a wide range of parks and other leisure venues, we continue to see success with many other products, too, such as the popular 4D effects theatres, our Immersive Tunnels, and the Stargazer and Cobra motion theatres.” Having tasted success, Simworx seems to have found the formula of building upon this so that new heights can be reached by constantly looking to develop new and innovative attractions to offer to its clients. “We have recently introduced Paradrop VR, an immersive virtual reality
experience that simulates flying a paraglider,” Terry says. “We see our ever-evolving product range as being one of our biggest assets and drivers of success, so we aim to continue in a similar vein in the future.” All the hard work dedicated to creating new products appears to pay dividends for the company, as it has sustained ongoing enlargement of its footprint across the market. “Asia, and in particular China, has witnessed unprecedented investment in the theme park industry for several years now. There are other areas, such as the Middle East that have seen the completion and opening of many new parks and leisure-based venues, too. We are also particularly strong in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Russia and Mexico,” Terry remarks. He then gives his account of the most significant projects Simworx is implementing at the moment: “We signed a £46 million agreement with a major theme park developer in China that is building four new theme parks in as many years across the country, and we were fortunate enough to have signed contracts for the supply of three major rides to each of these parks,” he reveals. “Another major project is the Mini Flying Theatre attraction that will be delivered to a wildlife park in Hanoi, Vietnam. It features an immersive, large format quarter dome screen concept, 20 seats, and an approximate hourly capacity of 250 guests. The riders are seated in a normal horizontal plan in four rows of five, and as the attraction cycle begins, the seats are lifted into the air in a smooth transition to panorama mode in front of the dome screen, with the rear rows moving above those in front. The riders will experience unique movements fully synchronised to the movie on the screen, including programmable heave and tilt along with forward and backward motion. We have also included in-theatre effects, such as water spray, wind, snow, smoke and special effects lighting, as well as surround sound audio, and an HD/2K or
4K/3D projection system,” Terry explains. Although these are the two most significant ventures Simworx has undertaken, the company is looking to keep itself even busier, as Terry discusses a few more activities the enterprise is running simultaneously. “We are currently working on a number of other projects in Asia, including a major contract for the supply of three attractions to each of ten individual venues over the next two years. On top of that, we are building a
At Adcam Fabrications we specialise in manufacturing to our clients’ specific needs. This ‘build to print’ capability includes a willingness to build prototypes and develop products with the customer as their needs change. We are proud to play a part in the success of Simworx Ltd. and look forward to continuing our working relationship with them for many years to come.
Metal Work Pneumatic
Metal Work Pneumatic is a global innovation company specialising in the manufacture of pneumatic and electronic components for automation. With over 40 subsidiaries worldwide, Metal Work can proudly say it supports its customers on an international scale. This has been a big factor in the relationship with Simworx Ltd. Metal Work’s manufacturing plant in Northern Italy is fully automated following the lean thinking strategy, which also keeps the company at the forefront of competitiveness and quality. Metal Work has just celebrated its 50-year anniversary and is very proud to be part of the continued success of Simworx Ltd.
60-seat themed Immersive Tunnel for the new Amikoo Theme Park in Mexico, three attractions for the new Park Spirou in France, and a 144-seat 4D cinema for the Vin Group in Vietnam.” With Terry outlining how Simworx is dabbling in multiple worldwide developments, it comes as no surprise that the company has experienced a ten-fold increase of its orders in recent years. But what does he highlight as the principal reasons behind this growth? “Constant development of new products, the utilisation of cutting-edge technology, a strong R&D department, and affordable pricing are our biggest strengths. Our procurement team has also worked very hard to increase our supply chain, which has been another major growth driver. The sales process has been facilitated further by our creative team, which produces concept images and animated videos to provide the customers with a good insight as to how their attraction will look,” he reasons. “Inevitably, our staff levels had to increase, too. We concentrated particularly on strengthening our project management, engineering and technical development teams, as well as our administration infrastructure.” He also praises the company’s R&D team responsible for the identification of new
opportunities for attraction building, and places special emphasis on the necessity to listen to the customers: “We have to comply with what they are looking for, so we can develop products that we know will work well in different types of attraction venue, and with particular visitor groups and age ranges.” Understandably, technology is an inseparable feature of any development Simworx aspires to undertake, therefore the company aims to stay in tune with the latest opportunities that arise from the invention of new gadgets. “It is necessary that we embrace new technologies and incorporate them in our attractions to provide our guests with more realistic experiences. This enhances our products further by equipping them with new interactivity, virtual reality and advanced projection mapping,” Terry acknowledges. As he shares Simworx’s long-term vision, which involves staying proactive and tech-savvy in production, Terry also recognises the company’s installed client base, as a potential springboard for signing new clients: “We look forward to having more of our rides installed in new areas around the world in the near future, hoping that this will attract surrounding theme parks to approach us for rides to enhance their own venues.”
Services: Design, development and manufacturing of 3D/4D Dynamic Stimulation Attractions and 4D effects cinemas
The gift that keeps on
CPI Card Group Europeâ€™s reputation for product consistency, quality and customer service has made the company the gift and loyalty card solutions provider of choice for a broad group of blue-chip retail and business customers
hile bricks-and-mortar retail business in the UK and Europe may have undergone something of a volatile time in recent years, the same certainly cannot be said about gift cards. As a matter of fact, these wallet-sized plastic wonders are more popular than ever, with the gift card market outstripping all wider macroeconomic metrics. With soaring year-on-year volumes, it is no surprise that gift cards continue to claim prime real estate
at checkouts across retail outlets and are experiencing sharp growth when it comes to B2B sales. A global leading provider in the production of payment cards and related services is the CPI Card Group. With over 20 years of experience in the payments market, the group offers a single source for credit, debit and prepaid debit cards, including EMV chip, personalisation, instant issuance, fulfilment and mobile payment services. CPI Card Group Europe Ltd. is the European
CPI Card Group Europe
arm of the group. “I think it is fair to say that in the UK and Europe we are a market leader in commercial plastic card manufacturing and associated services,” begins CPI Card Group Europe Ltd.’s Managing Director, Nick Cahn. “Over the years, we have built up an enviable portfolio of customers in the retail sector, as well as a reputation for delivering a consistent, robust service to a number of well-known B2C card issuing companies.” CPI Card Group Europe’s customers’ commercial plastic card needs are serviced by its two manufacturing sites, one in Colchester and the other in Liverpool, while its design centre can be found in the market town of Castle Donington, Derbyshire. At each of these sites, every single action taken by the company is done so with what Nick describes as, ‘a razorsharp focus on delivering consistent high quality’ when it comes to its products and services. “If you think about a plastic card,” Nick continues, “the physical value of that card, in comparison to the value of the experience it is generating is hugely disproportionate. A plastic card has the ability to carry a £100 gift experience, but the impact of an end user having a bad customer experience with one of our client’s products has the potential to create long-term detriment to their brand. With a clear
understanding and appreciation of this, we took the decision to engineer market leading quality assurance and great service into everything we do. “To this end we have invested significantly in creating a strong team, populated by highly skilled, knowledgeable engineers, who are responsible for ensuring that our products meet the standards we set for them, and who possess a shared commitment to our aim of delivering a robust, quality product for our customers at all times. This team is further supported by our internal operating procedures, with the company
being certified to ISO 9001:2015 standards, ISO 27001 as well as having ISO 14001 and FSC accreditation.” The innovation and design side of the business has played an equally important role in helping CPI Card Group Europe rise above the competition in the marketplace. “In addition to being a transaction mechanism, a gift card also acts as a marketing beacon for a brand,” Nick explains. “It is because of this that we want to make our customers’ products to look as good as possible, encapsulating their own unique identities, within the budget constraints that
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CPI Card Group Europe
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we are set. This task falls to the hugely talented design people we have at Castle Donington.” The results of the company’s respective teams’ efforts are evident on a country-wide scale and have seen CPI Card Group Europe awarded several major contracts in recent years. In 2016 Co-op engaged the company to assist with the relaunch of its Membership Card. The company also worked with Tesco over a two year period to help design and produce the refreshed, contactless, tap-and-go Clubcard, which launched in 2017. These are just two examples of the types of exciting projects that continue to drive the company’s growth. Hot off the presses, so to speak, is the news that CPI Card Group Europe has made investment in a brand-new Heidelberg 8 colour Speedmaster press, something that Nick is
incredibly excited about. “This represents a substantial investment in our future capabilities,” he says. “This new press, with its revolutionary physical mechanics, software and colour management control properties will play a huge role in further underpinning our strategy for creating great, innovative products. Not only will the press allow our team to push the boundaries of what they can create even further, it will also provide the company with the best colour consistency available anywhere, capable of ensuring that the one millionth card we produce in a run is identical in quality to that of the first. “One of the many exciting things that the Heidelberg 8 colour Speedmaster press allows us to do is print on all manner of different substrates of various degrees of thickness. As a manufacturer of plastic cards, the is a major step forward reducing the PVC content of our products. We have been working for some time now towards delivering more environmentally friendly plastic and paper-based solutions. This new press will help us to take those efforts to a whole new level as we continue tackling such an important, topical issue at present.” Also among recent developments is the company’s creation of a seamless, interconnecting portfolio of both physical and digital card-based products, and an online fulfilment platform for its customers to access. Servicing both B2C and B2B customers, this platform allows a retailer’s customers to go online and order a physical card, which will be processed by a back-end system and sent out to the purchaser from the Liverpool facility. Alternatively, a digital equivalent can be selected by customers, which quickly arrives in the recipient’s email inbox, thus providing the timely response to consumer demand that has become so prevalent today. As well as working to ensure that the company has the systems, processes and products in place to support the respective strategies and goals of its customers, CPI Card Group Europe will also be working hard in 2018 to further its growth in Europe, where approximately 20 per cent of what it manufactures in the UK is exported. “There are exciting opportunities for the company and our number one focus will always be our customers, and ensuring that we never divert from offering the best quality products, service and value for money,” Nick concludes.
CPI Card Group Europe Services: Gift and loyalty card solutions and services
As a technological pioneer in the field of freeze-drying and associated systems, HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH (HOF) is best placed to fulfil the needs of its pharmacy, biotechnology and medical customers
he running of German freeze drying, loading and uploading, and freezethaw manufacturing company HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH (HOF) is very much a family affair. Founded by HansGeorg Hof and his uncle Hermann Schäfer in 1988, initially as Schäfer & Hof, the Lohra-based business was created with the primary intention of being a key service provider in the field of retrofits and maintenance for freeze-drying equipment. Such was its immediate impact on the market that it would undergo infrastructure expansion twice in its first five years of operating. It was the end of this period of time that would see the retirement of Hermann and renaming of the business to HOF. “Due to the continued growth of the company and a steady expansion of our core markets, we have gone from a team of just three people to become a global entity with 265
HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH (HOF)
source of growth for the company over the last 12 months. “Our warehouse stock consists of approximately 60,000 articles, allowing for the highest level of flexibility when it comes
to service solutions, as we have all major and critical components in stock, ready-to-use,” Alexander continues. “Typically, we service around 1400 machines worldwide per year, while at the same time we have between 50
employees, providing individualised equipment and service solutions to pharmaceutical, biotechnical and medical sector customers all over Europe, as well as in the US, India, Singapore, Japan and South Korea,” begins Strategic Management team member, Dr. Alexander Hof. “Over the years, we have seen our infrastructure expand numerous times, culminating in the addition of a second production facility where a diverse range of components are created within 13,500 square metres of manufacturing, office and warehouse space.” HOF’s product portfolio today covers four main sectors; freeze-drying systems, loading and unloading systems, freeze-thaw units and service. Within each of these, HOF is able to provide complete planning, engineering, sourcing, manufacturing, start-up and commissioning activities, as well delivering qualification and validation services, and training programmes. This raft of options extends from new equipment to retrofits and the modernisation of existing machinery, which has been a strong
HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH (HOF)
and 60 different projects being undertaken within our facilities per annum. These projects range from work on small freeze-thaw units used in blood donation centres to lab-scale and production-scale freeze-dryers with a shelf area of up to 40 square metres.” Certified according to ISO 9001 standards, HOF’s premises are linked by a quality management system that the company has established. Furthermore, standardised processes
and computer-based support systems assist in the orderly and regulated handling of tasks. A quality assurance team exists to ensure the accurate implementation of procedures, while all department heads meet once a week to discuss each project, making sure each is being followed to the letter and that critical dates are able to be met. The way HOF approaches its activities and responsibilities has not only helped to win it
countless contracts, but also numerous industry awards and recommendations. “In 2013, HOF received the ‘Grand Prix’ award for mediumsized businesses from the Oskar-Patzelt Foundation, one of the most coveted business awards in Germany,” Alexander enthuses. “Additionally, we have found ourselves ranked within Germany’s ‘Top 100 Innovators List’ in both 2016 and 2017. “I consider recognition of this nature to be a result of, in part, our company structure. It is because of our flat hierarchical design, a very personal environment, and our pledge to hold regular meetings to discuss innovation and development, that everybody feels encouraged to contribute to HOF’s improvement. Similarly, our high degree of flexibility and fast decisionmaking, coupled with short communication pathways, enable us to act and react in a fast, concurrent way to the demands of our partners, customers and the industry as a whole.” This ability to respond to and meet the unique requirements of its customers can be seen in a number of the company’s ongoing projects. “One of the things we are in the process of doing is realising a project for the handling of frozen bottled blood plasma,” Alexander explains. “This undertaking, which speaks to our company name of ‘Sonderanlagenbau’, which translates as ‘special planned technologies’, is designed to service the need to handle bottled and frozen blood plasma prior to it being processed for pharmaceutical applications. As is often the case with our projects, this represents a solution that is not connected to one of our core business areas, but certainly has the potential to become one in the future.” Clearly, being a privately-owned family business gives HOF the necessary flexibility to act and react to the specific, individual needs of its customers, something that it will look to further advertise and demonstrate at the ACHEMA 2018 convention, being held in Frankfurt in June. “In 2018, we will retain a strong focus on being a solid and stable employer and partner for all of our customers,” Alexander states, “while continuing to further develop our existing systems, as well as pushing the integrity of robot-based systems in the loading and unloading sector.”
HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH (HOF)
Products: Freeze-drying, loading and unloading and freeze-thaw systems
Helical Technology Top: Exhaust Valves of Helical by Heather Nelson Photography Below: Actuators at Helical by Monty Rakusen
By applying a collaborative approach to its activities with its clients and production partners,Helical Technology is able to deliver industryleading solutions that achieve peak performance in all conditions
ver the course of more than 50 years, family-owned business Helical Technology (Helical) has been steadily evolving to meet the growing demands of an increasingly global marketplace. Headquartered in Lytham, Lancashire, with the home of its Technical Centre just a few miles away in Warton, Lancashire, the company today boasts a truly international presence, with production facilities in the UK, India and China, and clients based throughout Europe, America and Asia. Helical already has diverse product offerings with a background in the design and manufacture of springs, valve rotators and actuators, but is always looking to develop new products, markets and work with new customers and suppliers. In the last two-to-three years there has been significant growth in a relatively new product area which Helical is now a world leader in â€“ and this is the creation of acoustic and EGR exhaust flap valves. As the UKâ€™s foremost producer of high specification engine control systems, the company supplies its solutions to a number of
blue-chip vehicle makers, manufacturing valves for some of the most technically advanced applications. It has further leveraged its expertise in this area, developing the capability to design and develop bespoke exhaust systems for luxury and performance cars, from lightweight and durable materials. Helical has over 25 years experience in the design and manufacture of actuators for turbochargers that enable fast and precise control, and reduced vehicle emissions. Its actuators are low-cost and tailor-made, supplied to leading turbo manufacturers and the top OEM brands all over the world. Helical also provides valve rotators for large diesel engines, like ships, trains and trucks. Operating by means of an increase in valve spring loads, its rotators can be manufactured in sizes ranging from 25mm to 150mm in diameter. Each rotator is tailor-made for a specific engine application, and the design expertise and flexibility of its teams means that the company can complete the entire development cycle, from design to
prototype stage, rapidly, and then follow this up with the on-time delivery of serial production. By utilising a strong collaborative approach with its clients and production partners, Helical is able to deliver tried and tested solutions that perform without compromise, even in the most challenging conditions. Its dedicated design teams strive to achieve continuous improvement, while extensive on-site testing facilities ensure that each component and system conforms to the exacting standards set by the customers themselves. The efforts of the company have allowed it to achieve the highest of international quality and environmental accreditations, with Helical operating a Quality Management System compliant with ISO 9001 and TS 16949 standards, as well as an Environmental Management System compliant with ISO 14001. The companyâ€™s engineering expertise, coupled with a low-cost manufacturing model, means
Helical Technology Top left: Helical Production Lines by Monty Rakusen Below left: Actuators Assembly at Helical by Heather Nelson Photography
long-term customer relationships are achieved. Increasing revenues and sustainable profits allow Helical to continue to identify new product lines so that, as one product matures and begins to decline, overall growth is sustained through the introduction of new ones. Quite rightly, Helical takes great satisfaction in the fact that a strong and stable multi-national company has been formed from relatively modest beginnings as a spring manufacturer in the 1960s.
that it is uniquely placed to supply cutting-edge components to every corner of the world. Its CNC machining capabilities include CNC Mori-Seiki lathes, CNC spring coiling machines, and CNC milling machines, supported by a comprehensive tool room and inspection department. Complementing its CNC spring coiling machines are a series of automatic coiling machines, spring end grinding machines, and furnaces and shot-peening machines. Furthermore, the company’s assembly activities include integrated compressor housing/actuator automated assembly cells, pressure actuators assembly cells, VNT/VGT actuator cells and rotator assembly cells. In 2012, the company acquired and opened the doors of the Helical Technical Centre in Warton, Lancashire. A European Research and Development Centre providing engineering support to the exhaust industry, the centre has been further invested in over the years and is today used by a who’s who of automotive manufacturers, motorsport teams and component suppliers for vehicle, powertrain and emissions testing. The Helical Technical Centre offers a range of facilities including 15 test and NVH cells, and a
calibrated test track for vehicles and components, including low and ultra-low emission vehicle technologies, such as hybrid and electric. In the first weeks of 2018, Helical kick-started what it hopes will be another successful year with the announcement that it had been named as ‘One to Watch’ in Europe in a list of business excellence published by the European Business Awards, sponsored by RSM. Helical was singled out for praise for demonstrating exceptional achievement in the category of The Business of the Year Award with Turnover of €26m - €150m. Even above industry accolades however, Helical is most proud of the level of sustainable growth that it has achieved over the last decade, a feat made all the more impressive when set against the backdrop of challenging global and UK economic conditions. In this time, the company has managed to successfully embrace change and identify market trends regarding product performance and environmental requirements in relation to the automotive industry, and large diesel engine industries. This sustainable growth has allowed Helical to employ over 280 people, a significant increase from 2007, when it employed 128 men and women. Meanwhile, in revenue terms, the company has grown from a total turnover of £15.1 million in 2007, to £41.7 million in 2017, which represents a ten-year increase of 176 per cent. Helical puts much of this success down to R&D investment, the nurturing of an innovative culture and a strong a Quality Policy, which ensures that customer satisfaction is high and that strong,
Products: Actuators, exhaust valves and valve rotators
Proud to be a supplier of precision, high quality components to Helical Technology
Fylde CNC, a sub-contract precision CNC machining company, has had a key supplier partnership with Helical Technology for 17 years. During that time, Fylde CNC has worked closely with Helical to support the development of new products, and the two businesses have expanded together to serve the growing requirements of customers. Fylde CNC has a modern, world-class manufacturing facility, with the latest CNC machinery and CNC precision metrology machines, allowing for the realtime measurement and testing of products being manufactured on its lines. This means that defects are virtually eliminated, resulting in the highest possible quality products, greater efficiency, and lower costs. In addition to manufacturing many products in millions of units, such as for Helical Technology, Fylde CNC also produces complex components in lower volumes. Fylde CNC works with many of the world’s top automotive brands, as well as other sectors such as subsea, medical, oils/gas, hydraulics and fluid power systems. www.fylde-cnc.co.uk
Valve Rotators of Helical by Heather Nelson Photography
Yelo has grown into a leading player in the photonics testing industry, delivering its products to big manufacturers in the USA and Asia
018 will mark the 35th anniversary of Yelo, a Northern Ireland-based leading manufacturer of automated test equipment for the photonics and electronics industries. When the company was founded in 1983, it consisted only of the two co-founders – Richard Furey and Allan Watts, but today, over three decades later, it numbers a team of 40, including electronic engineers, mechanical design engineers, software developers, and test/ commissioning/support engineers. The company has also taken its tally to 300 test systems installed internationally, and this figure continues to rise. Richard, who is Yelo’s Managing Director, draws us into the business’ history and updates us on its activities and recent developments.
“During the first eight years, we would work only on consultancy and bespoke test systems. Our first breakthrough came in 1991 when we launched our maiden product, which we called TestPoint, and it was a benchtop Electrical Test Equipment (ETE) system for functional testing of circuit boards. This heralded a successful ten-year period for us that saw us sell over 600 systems across the UK,” he remembers. In 2000, the company was bought by a Canadian entity called Mindready and it was then that the Yelo team began developing what is now considered its trademark activity, photonics testing. After eight years, another Canadian company – Averna, acquired Mindready, but following a management buyout in 2010, Yelo was brought back to the UK
as an individual brand. “Since then our staff has grown from 20 to 40, and our revenue from one to five million pounds,” Richard remarks. For Yelo, 2017 was a year of substantial infrastructural development, complemented by the reception of several large-scale orders from big companies, resulting in a 25 per cent increase in revenue. “We moved into our new factory in Carrickfergus in July. It is a facility spreading over 25,000 square feet, which is a considerable increase from the 18,000 square feet we previously had. The wider space allows us to work on larger orders and manufacture more systems at the same time, more efficiently. We have also introduced additional equipment, in the form of three Computer Numerical Control (CNC) mills
and a CNC lathe, which we had no space for before,” Richard details. “The larger building has also enabled us to designate dedicated design suites, including mechanical engineering, software, and electrical. These facilities contribute essentially to the improved communication between the engineers and the designers on the manufacturing team. The new premises make the environment nicer to work in, and there is an additional benefit for the employees that it is adjacent to the train station, so their access to public transport has been deliberately made easier.” The company’s specialism is in manufacturing equipment that tests the reliability of laser devices. This is done through a process called burn-in, and its goal is to ensure complete functionality, and remove any potentially defective devices from reaching the field. Richard emphasises the necessity to seek constant improvement when performing the testing, as technology evolves dramatically all the time and a more precise and refined approach is required: “We continually develop new methodologies to keep abreast of technology and satisfy changing customer needs. For example, ten years ago, the electrical contact we had to make on a device, might have been five square millimetres, whilst now it is only one square millimetre.” The industry in which Yelo’s products find broadest application is communications. “We are testing a lot of high-speed communications lasers that are used as the backbone of the internet within data sensors,” Richard points out, revealing that 70 per cent of the business is orientated towards the communications industry. He also discusses the strongest geographical markets for the company: “We are very well-positioned in the USA, China, and Thailand. These are the places where the big technological leaps in the communications market happen. All the big manufacturers we deal with are based in the USA, but there is also a growing industry in China. And Thailand is a place with large subcontract
manufacturers specialised in the area. We would like to grow in Europe too, as there are certainly clusters on the continent that we are keen to develop. The same can be said about the UK, but it really depends a lot on how and where technology changes. At the moment, we are mainly focused on targeting the areas where the biggest chunk of business is.” Yelo has established a strong reputation for developing home grown talent over the years, thanks to its regular collaboration with local educational institutions. Richard provides us with a bit more detail of the nature of these partnerships: “We often recruit fresh graduates and are more than happy to train them and invest in their qualifications development. We also regularly take university students on one-year placements, and generally encourage visits from local universities that give us the opportunity to talk about what we do. The company attempts to outreach schools too, and it sponsors two students every year through the Arkwright Scholarship scheme, which aims to promote engineering at GCSE-level,” he explains.
Richard expects that the success from 2017 will be carried into 2018, as he outlines the company’s plans for the next 12 months: “We hope to see continued growth and an increase in the number of clients we have. It is important for the business to continue to add new clients. Even now I am at a trade show in San Francisco and it is at such events that we tend to expand our client portfolio,” he notes. “Another significant development in 2018 will be the opening of an office in Shanghai to help us serve the Chinese market in the years to come. While I do not expect new products coming out this year, we will continue to invest heavily in R&D. We have three to four full-time employees, who take care of product development, and our goal is to remain a leader in our field,” he concludes.
Products: Laser diode testing and electronic testing equipment
Sophisticated, innovative, advanced engineering excellence summed up in two words –
dvanced engineering and innovative manufacturing thrives in a connected environment where industry can easily access university expertise, where there is robust support for innovation and a healthy supply of high quality skills. That’s why advanced engineering and manufacturing continues to thrive in Northern Ireland. The region has a strong engineering heritage and today offers advanced engineering expertise across several sectors including Aerospace, Automotive, Electronics, Materials Handling and Life and Health Sciences. Within these sectors it has specific strengths in plastics and polymers, composites design and manufacturing, precision Belfast
Peace Bridge, Derry~Londonderry
manufacturing, design and stress modelling, and seating and interiors.
The right skills Strong and effective collaboration between industry, academia and government in Northern Ireland has led to the establishment of a number of recognised Centres of Excellence in the advanced engineering field. The centres form a bridge between academic research and commercial production, undertaking industrially relevant research and channelling university expertise into the development of sophisticated products and processes. The region has created an innovative support
programme called Assured Skills, which helps with the training and recruitment of staff. The programme’s Academy Model has been particularly beneficial for companies that need highly specific skills. The Academy delivers an eight to ten week bespoke pre-employment training programme through a local college or university, followed by a four to six week placement with the company. This reduces the risk for companies by providing candidates trained with the exact skills required. Northern Ireland’s success in the advanced engineering space also owes much to its two world-class universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, and its further
With a combination of talent, competitive operating costs, a proven track record of engineering innovation and a culture of going the extra mile to get the job done, Northern Ireland stands apart as an unbeatable investment location for companies wishing to undertake advanced engineering and innovative manufacturing activities
education colleges. They work closely with government and industry to make sure that their courses will deliver the skills that industry needs.
The right support Northern Ireland’s government is keen to support indigenous companies and inward investors working in advanced engineering and manufacturing. Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI), the region’s economic development agency, offers both advisory and financial support, the latter in the form of grants, loans and skills development assistance, and takes a partnership approach to working with companies, supporting them on an ongoing basis.
Support for research and development is particularly strong - Invest NI can offer large companies between 35% and 50% of the project costs. This is currently the most generous package offered by any economic development agency in the UK. Investors can also benefit from the UK’s R&D tax credits and the patent box scheme, which provides a lower effective rate of corporation tax on profits attributable to UK or certain European patents. Altogether, this makes Northern Ireland an ideal location for research and new product development.
The right cost and infrastructure But that’s not the whole story. Northern Ireland also offers an extremely cost-effective business environment. It’s more than just competitive salary costs and lower operating costs, it’s also the staff loyalty that leads to low attrition rates and excellent knowledge retention. That’s good news for companies in the manufacturing sector, which has experienced continuing downward pressure on costs. Operating costs in Northern Ireland are typically 12% lower than other UK locations, 33% less than the USA, and around 30% less than France and Germany. Moreover, Northern Ireland can offer an excellent infrastructure with first-class property options, sophisticated and resilient telecoms and accessibility to logistical infrastructure to export to global markets. This all adds up to a real value proposition for companies that invest in Northern Ireland.
Among the heavyweights that operate in the region are Bombardier (its C Series wing was designed, manufactured and built there), Caterpillar, General Electric, Seagate, Terumo BCT, Warner Chilcott (a division of Teva), Bemis Healthcare Packaging, Sensata and Linamar. These companies are carrying out the full range of activities from R&D through new product design to manufacturing. Home-grown advanced engineering excellence is also represented in many internationally successful companies such as Life and Health Sciences firms Almac, Randox and Norbrook and transport company Wrightbus. In fact, engineering excellence is a common theme right across the supply chain in Northern Ireland, where 80,000 people are employed in the manufacturing sectors (10% of total employment in Northern Ireland), and are exporting to over 100 countries globally.
The right people Northern Ireland is a compact region with a population of just 1.85 million people. Over half the population is under 40; this creates a dynamism and forward-thinking attitude in its people that translates into results-driven hard work and academic achievement. The region consistently outperforms the other UK regions at examinations taken at age 16 and 18. With a combination of talent, competitive operating costs, a proven track record of engineering innovation and a culture of going the extra mile to get the job done, Northern Ireland stands apart as an unbeatable investment location for companies wishing to undertake advanced engineering and innovative manufacturing activities. u To find out more, visit: InvestNI.com
The right choice It should come as no surprise then that Northern Ireland has a strong track record in inward investment. And when international firms locate in Northern Ireland, they tend to stay, often expanding their presence to take full advantage of the benefits of working there. In fact, 80% of new inward investors reinvest.
Seeing is From its facilities in Cambridge, Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd. spearheads the global production of electron microscopy systems for the ZEISS Group, whose solutions have helped to advance the world of optics and shape technological progress
orn on 11th September 1816, Carl Zeiss grew up to become a renowned German scientific instrument maker, optician and businessman. It was at the age of 30 that Zeiss brought together a group of gifted practical and theoretical opticians and glass makers, including Ernst Abbe, to revolutionise optical theory, optical instrument production and the practical design of microscopes. From these early efforts, the business that is now known as Carl Zeiss AG began life and would go on to become one of the oldest existing optics manufacturers in the world. Today, Carl Zeiss AG manages a portfolio
of six business groups and various strategic business units that make up the globally active ZEISS Group. The core activities of the group are broken down into four segments; Research and Quality Technology, Medical Technology, Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology and Vision Care/Consumer Products. These segments encompass the development, production and distribution of optical systems such as lithography systems, industrial measuring technology, microscopes, eyeglass lenses, and ophthalmic diagnostic and therapy systems. â€œIn all of the above-mentioned fields, ZEISS is universally considered as a market leader and an industry innovator, which has contributed
Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd
greatly to its many years of success,” begins Carl Zeiss Ltd Managing Director, Paul Adderley. Carl Zeiss Ltd operates out of ZEISS UK’s Campus in Cambridge. From its Cambridge facilities, the company provides marketing, sales and customer support to the Sport Optics, Photo, Meditec and Microscopy businesses, and houses a state-of-the-art customer interaction centre, provides on-site repairs and a customer demonstration area. “Cambridge also acts as the global production centre for ZEISS’ electron microscopy products,” adds Bob Taylor, Managing Director of Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd. As a leading manufacturer of microscopes, ZEISS offers solutions in the field of life sciences and materials research, and its microscope systems are used for medical research, as well as quality assurance and control in high tech industries worldwide. Systems produced by the company include laser scanning, scanning electron and x-ray microscopes, as well as imaging systems, super resolution microscopes, and stereo and zoom microscopes. “We receive orders for our Electron Microscope systems from all over the world, exporting over 95 per cent of our output,
Pope & Meads
in large numbers, to customers in Europe, the United States and China, the latter being particularly buoyant in recent years with our systems being adopted for use in academia and quality control dependent sectors,” Bob continues. “With our microscopes also being used in a multitude of different industries it is
A high precision engineering company specialising in complex and highly accurate machining and assembly. With continual investment in the latest equipment, we have been providing engineering solutions to high technology industries for over 60 years. At the heart of Pope & Meads there is a desire to solve problems. Our expertise and first-class facilities means that we have the necessary capabilities to manufacture even the most technical of products. Partnering with our customers and supply chain is key to our understanding and ability to supply the desired end product.
Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd
vital that we deliver the correct level of service and product quality to our customers. For this reason, we retain close contact with these customers during the manufacturing process to ensure that what we produce suits their respective markets and applications, and that we deliver the utmost in terms of quality, resolution and output.” In order to create a production process that guarantees quality is maintained to the highest possible level at every stage, while at the same time allowing the company to market its products at a competitive price, Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd embarked on a Lean Manufacturing journey in 2008. “Central to our Lean efforts and our search for ‘continuous improvement’ was the decision to adopt a single piece flow approach to manufacturing,”
Bob explains. “Moving from batch building, we evolved our process to deliver material to line, just-in-time, with our suppliers supporting us with regular deliveries throughout the day to a central warehouse. From here key components and materials are sorted into kits and delivered to site several times a day. This has helped to significantly reduce labour costs and the end result has been the doubling of our annual turnover several times over since 2008.” Staying true to the Lean principle of ‘continuous improvement’, the company has also recently adopted what it calls a ‘3P’s’ approach to manufacturing; Production, Preparation and Process. This has led to it taking the bold decision to design its flow lines, and any changes to said lines, offline and before its systems hit the production stage. “What this essentially means is that we work to design and optimise the production process alongside the original product design phase,” Bob states. “The result of this is that we are able to avoid any dips in productivity when introducing new products or optimisations to the process. “This ‘3P’s’ approach has proven to be very successful and it is because of this that we have also introduced a new section of our facility to work solely on offline production design. All of the systems and solutions that originate from our product generation process are now put through the ‘3P’s’ process numerous times throughout their development, and we have a dedicated team of experts taking care of this, working alongside our production staff to really optimise the entire Lean flow, from design to production.” In terms of business performance, Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd and the wider ZEISS group are, according to Paul, busier than ever and this has created the need to further increase its productivity and service offering. “When it comes to high-tech industries such as ours, in order to continue being a market leader it is imperative that you have new products being continually developed,” Paul summarises. “Not only have we been achieving this, but we have also taken big strides into other technological areas such as x-ray imaging. In the meantime, we remain committed to further optimising our production activities, introducing automation to certain key areas and training our valued employees so that they are best prepared for what are constantly evolving roles in a rapidly changing, but exciting, industry.”
Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd Products: Optics and optoelectronics
Waste not, Using its innovative plasma technology, Tetronics International is able to offer a wide range of waste management and resource recovery solutions to treat everything from spent catalysts to electronic waste
want not F
or as long as the world has had industrial capabilities, hazardous waste management and resource recovery have been complex problems to resolve. Subsequent decades gave rise to innovative solutions to tackle these, however it has only been in more recent times that a select few companies have been able to create and perfect technology that means that these issues no longer need be problems. One such company is Tetronics International (Tetronics), a world-leading UK based environmental waste management company delivering clean plasma technology for maximum resource recovery and the highest level of hazardous material destruction, which transforms these materials into a safe inert product. With over 50 years of experience in delivering best-inclass technology, Tetronics currently has over 120 patents either granted or pending across 12 families.
“Our core business for many years has been the recovery and recycling of precious metals from various sources,” begins Ian Mitchell, Tetronics’ Head of Business Development, who joined the company in July 2017, having spent two decades in the petrochemical industry. “Our strong history when it comes to R&D has also allowed us to demonstrate a number of interesting, innovative solutions in a number of industry sectors, from fly and grate ash treatment to the recovery of metals from electronic-waste.” An individual who has witnessed the development of the company at close quarters is Technical Director, Dr Tim Johnson, who has been with Tetronics for the better part of 20 years. “I have watched this business grow from being a fairly small entity to one that has experienced huge investment and enormous growth, transforming itself from a £2 million company when I joined to one approaching a £20 million per year turnover.”
For its customer TETRONICS, SARRALLE provides two plasma models: -Plasma converter for its Compressed bio-Methane Project. The project has developed the use of Gasplasma technology in the production of advanced bio-fuels and to provide future commercial opportunities. -Plasma Furnace System for the Recovery of Precious Metals from Electrical Waste: The aim of this project is to process electrical waste to recover precious metals. Advanced thermal conversion technology employs a clean, high temperature DC plasma arc as its source of heating by way of a single manipulated graphite electrode, with anode(s) at the base in a conductive hearth.
As Tim goes on the explain, Tetronics is one of a very select few companies found anywhere in the world that supplies businesses with a total plasma package including the technology and the equipment needed to support plasma heating treatment methods in their processes. “This is a very difficult business to operate in,” he states. “Many plasma companies have come and gone in the last 20 years, primarily due to concentrating on only one area of expertise. What gives Tetronics its competitive edge, and has allowed us to thrive where others have failed, is our strong knowledge base and R&D focus, which has allowed us to supply plasma systems for everything from heating steel and making glass, to treating waste from incinerators and steel plants. Our diverse range of capabilities also means that rather than simply selling a unit to treat a particular substance or problem, we are also able to provide support throughout the lifetime of a project, troubleshooting problems on a controlled scale and devising solutions quickly.” Plasma is one of the cleanest thermal processing technologies available, which means that its use provides a unique opportunity for
industrial processing, particularly at a time when environmental legislation and concerns are at the top of most agendas. This is especially true in the key customer markets for Tetronics, namely Europe, the United States and China. “What was previously thrown away and forgotten about, is no longer treated as such,” Ian adds. “Instead, people and businesses are looking for solutions that resolve an entire problem, rather than simply burying it or putting it to one side for the next generation to deal with.” This is particularly true when it comes to the growing issue of electronic waste (e-waste), the term given to old electronic devices that in the past have been thrown away without due attention being paid to the potential recovery of precious metals such as gold and silver, and valuable metals like copper and tin. Tetronics is currently working on an exciting e-waste smelting pilot project with Innovate UK, the government arm that funds R&D initiatives. After extensive planning and development at the company’s state-of-the-art trials facility in Swindon, it has successfully completed the first of four plasma trials. This involved printed circuit boards, that
had been pre-calcined, being fed into its plasma furnace to separate the metals hidden inside. “In processing e-waste in this way, we have been able to recover some nice ingots of copper with elevated levels of precious and platinum group metals within,” Ian states. “Our plasma process essentially bridges the gap between the printed circuit boards in their original form and the technology that extracts individual elements. This advance in processing is incredibly important, particularly with e-waste’s tendency to leach toxic chemicals into the water table when thrown away, and the ability to recover metals that would otherwise have gone to landfill allows us to divert potential capital back into the circular economy, which is of benefit for everybody.” Going forward, the next phases of this project will see the company working to refine the process further, allowing it to generate greater output of collected metal alloys and better quality results. The end-goal, as it were, is to support Tetronics’ efforts to sell e-waste recycling and
metals recovery technology to customers in its core markets, and indeed it has already received serious interest from parties all over the world who recognise the commercial opportunity it can create. Another exciting development currently taking place on Tetronics’ door step is the construction of the world’s first BioSNG Commercial Demonstration Plant in partnership with Advanced Plasma Power, Cadent Gas and Progressive Energy. The plant itself will take in 10,000 tonnes of waste from the local area and produce 22GWh of BioSNG, enough to heat 1500 homes. “This project is the result of some 15 years of R&D into this technology at Tetronics,” Tim enthuses. “Our plasma technology lies at the heart of the process in allowing the gasification of waste into green gas, and we expect the plant to be operational in the second half of 2018.” It is expected that 2018 will be a year characterised by a number of exciting
developments for the company. The green shoots of this are already being seen with an increase in interest for plasma technology in North America, Europe, China and in the Middle East, where large industries, such as the oil and gas sector, are increasingly waking up to environmental issues and the need to treat, recover or recycle waste products. “The future is most definitely one of optimism for Tetronics,” Ian concludes. “Every day we are seeing more and more interest in our technology and the different applications it can be applied too, and this opens up a world of opportunities that we look forward to embarking upon.”
Services: Clean plasma technology for resource recovery
TP has been supplying businesses with tools and parts since 1952. Currently, the organisation supports the aerospace, oil & gas, and nuclear sectors. However, as new Managing Director Martin Todd points out, there have been moves toward developing markets and targeting potential customers in other sectors: “The renewable sector is an unstoppable locomotive, gathering pace and providing opportunities to manufacture and supply high quality parts for wind farms, solar panel installations and much more. Other sectors with potential for expanding the UTP portfolio include the defence and rail industries, and we are looking closely at ways in which we can support these vital areas as well as being prepared for future energy and engineering needs.”
Universal Tool & Production Company Ltd (UTP) began production in 1952. Today, it is a high-end manufacturer for the aerospace, oil & gas, and nuclear industries, with plans for expansion into other sectors
Building up the portfolio is just part of Martin’s remit: “As the business leader, I must ensure the company’s strategy is properly executed, with a highly developed and appropriately deployed UTP team. Much of my time, I am coaching and supporting the leadership team to take full advantage of future opportunities.” A phrase people commonly hear in this industry is ‘Precision Engineering’. Martin believes that UTP offers a specific variant on this, helping it to stand out amongst the competition: “As a highend, low volume manufacturer of complex parts and components, our exacting customers expect compliance. This is not just regarding the supply of conforming product, but also in the way we conduct ourselves in business; our ethics policies; our values. I take a holistic view of ‘Precision’ to include; the service we deliver to our customers;
our responsibilities towards our shareholders, our workforce and the local community; all within the bounds of a safe and sustainable environment. The end goal is to create a UTP brand that is the ‘Supplier, Customer and Employer’ of choice.” In order to stand out from its competitors, UTP adopts a more collaborative approach with its customers: “Clients supply blueprints or design ideas to the UTP team and we provide feedback, often guiding them towards more cost-effective and efficient methods of manufacture. From a project management point of view, it’s about identifying potential challenges and offering up mutually agreeable solutions,” Martin analyses. On top of a change at boardroom level, there has also been a major shift in terms of the production process. Prior to March 2017, there were two main bases in Fareham, on the South
Universal Tool & Production Company Ltd
Coast, but with the business moving five miles down the road to Lee-on-the-Solent, UTP is now operating out of one facility, something that Martin is inspired by: “The newly built 32,000 square feet workspace delivers a real ‘wow’ factor for visitors. Not only has this enabled a shop floor layout that promotes logical and efficient product flow, but it also gives ample floor space for expansion. The interior environment is much cleaner and more user-friendly. Overall, in terms of employee satisfaction, cost-effectiveness and positive customer impressions, this structure definitely ups the ante.” Employee welfare and recruitment is another element that Martin feels is crucial for future development: “New recruits are being sought now. I am committed to taking on four apprentices per year over the next three years. We are working very closely with Fareham College’s CEMAST (Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Manufacturing and Advanced Skills Training) school, to identify suitable candidates to apply for apprenticeships at UTP. It is vitally important that more young people are encouraged into engineering and we will do our part. We are not just looking for technical competence, although obviously a good foundation is necessary. Successful candidates must be a good ‘fit’ with the rest of the team; knowing, believing and living the UTP values. We are open to people who are ambitious and want to advance their careers, but there is also a place for those who simply want to be secure in their work and feel that their needs are being well catered for.” There is a proactive move towards inclusion and diversity, as Martin feels the engineering sector would benefit from a wider range of experiences and backgrounds, welcoming new talent across the board. Traditionally, this has been hard to achieve, but Martin is confident that their close connection to local government, the local community and Fareham College will enable this going forward. Part of that dedication to looking after workers is literally in the atmosphere at UTP. The purpose-built ICAX renewable energy system stores and extracts heat from the ground via an underground pipe system, keeping rooms inside the facility appropriately heated throughout the year. Martin is delighted with the installation. “This ICAX system is delivering a highly efficient heating and cooling regime to the building with no onsite emissions, and as a business we will continue to benefit from the rapid de-carbonisation of the grid, saving significant emissions throughout the lifetime of the factory. We are a business delivering high
quality, world class components with the latest technology and are delighted that the heating and cooling system supports that objective.” Also installed is the Fern Howard ‘smart’ lighting system, which, as well as providing suitable, ambient light for all weather conditions, is extremely environmentally friendly with its use of LED, sensor activated units both in the offices and on the shop floor. Whilst being comfortable is important, safety is paramount: “We are keen to deal with health and safety problems before they occur, and part of this involves coaching. Employees are encouraged to stand away from the job if they become fatigued, rushed or distracted. They can return to tasks when it is safe to do so. This ‘self-triggering’ is just one aspect of being on top of safety, and of course the overall concept is that it is better to prevent problems before they happen.” Martin may be relatively new to his current position, but big plans are already being set in motion, though he concedes it will require some long-term planning. “Over the next 12 months
we are looking to consolidate our position, ensuring that results are delivered from a quality and timing point of view. The longer-term plan is to double in size over the next five years, and though that may sound like a steep curve, it is possible,” he insists. What Martin clearly believes is that he can make the business bigger and better. It is very encouraging that he wants as many people as possible to share in and be a part of its legacy, ensuring that new ideas can be brought in to further advance the organisation in the future, not to mention the benefits for a growing local community. As Martin summarises: “There are no barriers to this industry!”
Universal Tool & Production Company Ltd Services: Tool and parts manufacturer
Greif Inc provides industrial packaging solutions from over 40 countries in the world, and its UK branch, Greif UK, is a leader in the production of customisable steel drums
ore than 140 years ago, in 1877, William Greif and Albert Vanderwyst laid the foundations of what is today the global leader in industrial packaging products and services. The two gentlemen opened a cooperage shop, named ‘Vanderwyst and Greif ’ in Cleveland, Ohio. Almost a century and a half later, Greif has 200 sites in more than 40 countries all over the world, and dominates the production of steel, plastic, fibre, flexible, corrugated, and reconditioned containers. Its products serve, among others, the chemicals, lubricants and petrochemicals, food, pharmaceutical, flavours and fragrances, and mining and construction markets worldwide. The highlights from the 2017 fiscal year for the company reaffirmed the view that Greif is growing continuously. The incorporation reported a net sales increase by $314.6 million to $3,638.2 million,
and an increased operating profit to $272.4 million. It also marked the end of the company’s threeyear Transformation Initiative that was created to refocus Greif on the importance of customer service excellence, and re-orient the business strategy towards delivering value improvements over purely volume gains. The initiative was aligned with Greif ’s brand vision, which reads: In industrial packaging, be the best performing customer service company in the world. In order to serve one of its strategic priorities, Greif introduced a new corporate tag line in May 2017: Packaging Success Together, symbolising the commitment of all the 13,000 Greif colleagues around the world to provide excellent customer services. Naturally, the company’s footprint has reached Britain, and its subsidiary, Greif UK was acquired by the incorporation in 2001 having previously operated under the Van Leer name since the
1920s. The daughter company specialises in the production and supply of steel drums, kegs and pails, and specialty drums. It also offers a collection and reconditioning service for used packaging. Greif UK’s products find strong application in a wide range of industries, such as food, pharmaceutical, coatings, and chemical. The company seeks to create a competitive advantage for its customers by deftly combining its global supply chain with local customer service. It has accommodated its facilities in the way required to produce specialty drums, according to every client’s specific needs. Greif UK produces drums of different types and sizes. It is capable of manufacturing both large, and small and intermediate steel drums, but its particularly appealing products are the aforementioned specialty drums, such as the stainless steel drum, and the salvage drums. The former represent a high integrity option for the food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals industries. Their value lies in a specific characteristic of theirs that offers a high level of chemical resistance, providing a pure and sanitary performance. The stainless steel drums are available in capacities from five to 1000 litres, and can be custom-made to the client’s requirements, in batch sizes to suit their needs. Being stainless steel also makes these drums easy to clean, therefore reusable. The salvage drums are the second kind of specialty drums that has become a prominent product in Greif UK’s portfolio. Like the name suggests, the salvage drums are used for the
safe and economic transportation, and storage of damaged drums. They are available in three standard capacity of 300 litres, but just like the stainless drums, they can also be customised to individual specifications. Another market niche that has proven successful for Greif UK, has been the reconditioning sector. Together with network sites and alliance partners across Europe, and Container Life Cycle Management in North America, the company is part of a joint venture, called EarthMinded Life Cycle Services, which has now become the worldâ€™s largest industrial packaging reconditioner. One of the main tasks for the organisation is to reduce its, and its clientsâ€™ environmental impact by reintroducing used packaging into the supply chain, also saving costs to customers that generate used industrial packaging, or look for alternatives to the price of new packaging. EarthMinded uses its own webbased technology, Ecotrack, to provide customers with accurate reports detailing the reduced environmental impact of industrial packaging provided by the organisation. Such reports are invaluable to clients who can use them in their own documents and present them as a proof of their efforts to meet the growing demand for transparency and more sustainable packaging. Greif UK contributes to EarthMinded through its facility at the Ellesmere Port Site, where it offers both reconditioned washed steel drums, and washed 1000-litre Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs). It is also important to mention Greif has been awarded Gold Recognition Level in sustainability performance by EcoVadis, an independent rating agency specialising in the evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), including sustainable development and performance monitoring of
suppliers. This achievement places Greif among the top five per cent of all companies evaluated by EcoVadis. Being serious about sustainability is one of the companyâ€™s guiding principles outlined in The Greif Way. Greif UK also offers new GCUBE IBC Shield, the best barrier technology to protect your product against gas permeation through high density polyethylene. It is a revolutionary barrier protection compared to others on the market. Thanks to the use of special additives in coextrusion technology, the outer layer of the GCUBE IBC Elektron has a permanent antistatic surface layer and the discharging valve produced with conductive PE is grounded through the cage and the pallet. GCUBE Elektron uses multi-layer technology approved for EX zones. Bearing in mind that the manufacturing and processing industries have begun in earnest to search for more cost-effective packaging and transportation solutions, it is safe to assume that there will be lots of new opportunities for Greif UK in the next few years, as it is a domain in which the company has repeatedly proven its competence.
Product: Steel drums, barrels, kegs, pails and specialty packaging solutions
Proud to be a UK manufacturer, Haigh Engineering Company Ltd (Haigh) has developed a reputation for supplying the highest quality macerators and waste water treatment systems
aving been in existence for more than six decades, today the maceration and waste water treatment products from Haigh Engineering Company (Haigh) are known not only across the UK but also the rest of the world, with its name having become synonymous with technical innovation and product performance on a global scale. The company’s products can be divided into two segments – Macerators and Waste Water Treatment systems. In the Macerators division, Haigh manufactures and supplies the most cost effective, innovative and reliable range of hospital macerators for the disposal of pulp products. As pulp disposable items, such as bedpans, wash bowls, jugs and urine dishes, become more widespread, Haigh’s sluice room macerators
have grown to become the preferred bedpan system for hospitals, and its specialist macerator range (Quattro, SOLO and Classic+) work with all leading pulp suppliers and address challenges such as space, energy consumption, speed and reliability. In fact, the machines are not just reliable but they are also clever - pulp is released gradually through tiny slots throughout its cycle, stopping large particles going into the drain. During the optimum moment, extra water is diverted from the drum to flush the drain outlet to keep it flowing freely. Haigh has called this unique action ‘Premium Flow’ and it is a fundamental part of the reliable performance that its customers demand to ensure nothing is left in the macerator at the end of the cycle. As Managing Director Stuart Anderson
commented: “In an industry where costs must be balanced with reliable equipment, it is incredibly important to commit to continued innovation and responsibility to help care providers. “The ability of our workforce to reinvent superfine maceration has been tremendous but, critically, we’ve supplied more choice with the new Vanguard and Excel macerators to make them affordable and personalised to the healthcare setting.” Already in use in 85 per cent of UK hospitals, Haigh macerators are also used in 28 countries worldwide, and as recently as November 2017 the Quattro Vanguard was launched at Eden Hall - the British High Commissioner’s residence in Singapore. Hosted by DIT’s Regional Director, Christopher Pook, David Meek from Haigh and local distributor Radiance Medical Systems, attendees from hospitals and care homes had an educational session on infection control and how the Quattro Vanguard minimises the risk of infection transmission. This hands-on and live demonstration meant attendees could see exactly how easy the macerator is to use and understand how it has been developed in partnership with the healthcare industry. However, these products are not only for use in a healthcare setting, and Haigh’s maceration technology can be found in the Marine, Defence, Industrial and Renewable Energy markets, where it has applications in the offshore and animal waste sectors, on board ships, at military and defence bases and in anaerobic digestion systems. In fact, throughout its history, Haigh has continuously applied the principles of maceration to new processes, new industries and new markets. Moving onto Waste Water Treatment, which includes screening, separation and compaction equipment, plus whole inlet systems or single units, Haigh is a leader in the provision of waste water treatment solutions in municipal environments. As a long-term framework provider to the UK water authorities, all Haigh’s
Haigh Engineering Company Ltd
systems have an established track record of delivering value for money on what can be seen to be the most critical area of a typical treatment works - the inlet. Haigh’s ACE Inlets offer a complete inlet solution, which bring a range of performance and environmental benefits including 94 per cent volume reduction, up to 80 per cent screenings capture ratio, in excess of 40 per cent dryness, fine grit removal, simplified maintenance, proven integrated Lisep/ Lipactors, built-in upstream grit protection and removal, optimised process control, performance tuning for best whole life cost, low carbon footprint, clean screenings and low odour. Given the list of state-of-the-art solutions that Haigh manufactures, it is apparent that a dedication to invest significantly into research and development (R&D) is a top priority for the business. Its latest innovation is Wipe Grind Ultra, which has been designed to solve the wet wipe challenges faced by today’s municipal waste water market in America. Wipe Grind Ultra is designed for installing into an existing sewage system that deals with flushed wipes. Its performance is based on
proven Pipeliner technology and is the most effective disintegrator of wipes for ultimate pump protection. The systems described above can be supported by Haigh’s fully qualified Mechanical and Electrical engineering site teams, which are available to provide a nationwide after-care service at a competitive price. Maintained by fully stocked parts sources for all Haigh systems and in conjunction with its UK based repair, maintenance and production facilities, Haigh is able to offer peace of mind through an efficient and responsive service. As part of this side of the business, Haigh is also able to provide factory and on-site training courses in order to best assist engineers with the maintenance and operation of Haigh products. Since Haigh was founded, it has maintained an extraordinary attention to detail across the entire business. Accuracy is vitally important to Haigh and this is a perfect metaphor for the company’s entire approach – precise care, attention to detail and an understanding of what counts. If the finish on just one part were to be just a fraction out, it wouldn’t
perform as well and this is not acceptable, as outstanding quality is what people associate with the Haigh name.
Haigh Engineering Company Ltd
Services: Designs, manufactures, assembles and installs a range of macerators and waste water treatment systems
30,000-litre articulated monocoque vacuum tanker
UBH International Ltd harnessed its imagination and historical expertise to tackle changes in the tank container sector, and emerge stronger in the market
mart responses to temporarily worsened business conditions, together with the intelligence to accept and learn from your mistakes, are characteristics of long-running and successful businesses. Such is the story of UBH International. The tank container manufacturer faced a threat some years ago, when the tank container industry, in which it had long been specialised, became commoditised and dominated by low-cost far-eastern manufacturers. Not discouraged by the impediment, the company combined reliance on its past history and a degree of creativity and bravery, to develop more relevant products, in order to find itself back on the right track. Manufacturing Today Europe interviewed UBH International’s Sales and Marketing Director Tom Harding, who talked us through the ways in which the company reacted to recent challenges, and the decisions it took to reinvent itself, so that it could restore its position in the market. “There was a time when we were forced to look for different areas into which we could diversify our main product. We are specialised in building pressure vessels for containing mainly hazardous products. However, when the oil and gas industry, one niche area into which we had very successfully diversified, was hit hard in the past few years, we suffered a further blow,
and had to seek new ways to apply these vessels to other industries outside of oil and gas,” Tom begins. “We turned our focus to the production environment, directing our attention specifically to pressure vessels for petrochemical and pharmaceutical plants. “We were quick to grasp that the world was changing, so we also moved into producing non-standard and more sophisticated tank containers that involve more equipment and technical attributes. It was no longer an option for us simply to build standard tanks, due to the pressure from the competition. This led us to develop the capability to manufacture cryogenic tanks. It was a significant jump in technology for us, as these tanks are vacuum-insulated, large vacuum flasks, rather than the basic ‘big tin cans’ we used to build. Thanks to our team possessing the necessary skillset, we were able to make the leap.” Exploring previously uncharted territories was not the only means by which UBH International addressed its issues. The company was also sagacious enough to draw on its past experience as a road tanker manufacturer, and this proved a successful venture, as Tom points out: “We had been a road tanker manufacturer in the 60s and 70s, so we decided to go back to our origins, and think about how we might apply our existing
UBH International 30,000-litre general purpose chemical tanker
expertise in today’s conditions. We returned to road tankers, because we had an idea of targeting the higher end of the market. Upon further investigation, we found out that there was a niche in the market for a quality UK road manufacturer of tankers, and we aimed to fill it.” As the company went back to tracing its roots, new opportunities arose along the road. Tom gives an account of the latest product developments: “The latest new products that we have been working on and introducing to our clients, are waste and vacuum tankers. These came as an outgrowth of the road tanker manufacturing activities, and we are determined to develop them further, as they represent a buoyant market at the moment, sharing in the growth in the recycling industry. We also aim to produce a wider range of these vacuum tankers,” Tom continues. Underlying the visible external development, significant events have underpinned the internal structure of the company, as UBH International succeeded in buying its factory and the land on which it stands, having previously leased it. “It was because we were able to revive the fortunes of the company, that we bought the premises, and being actual owners has given us confidence for the future.” Tom also draws our attention to the fact that UBH International is, most significantly, an employee-owned company: “All of the employees are shareholders, and this provides additional motivation for us all, which sharpens our focus on customer service and quality and helps boost our productivity. It is a vital part of our identity.” He then goes on to detail some of the traits of the company’s onsite activities. “We benefit greatly from the fact that most of our key processes are automated. For example, the longitudinal and circumferential weld seams on our vessels are automated, which gives us an advantage over much of the competition. By using this process, we can ensure the consistency of
the welding and the integrity of the vessel, its safety, and its strength, which effectively means that we are able to offer a better-quality product. “We have also undergone significant changes in terms of output, in comparison with 1999 when we were predominantly engaged with manufacturing ISO tanks. Back then, we hit a high point in output of 2000 tank containers a year. However, because nowadays the tanks we build are more specialised and slower to produce, we are able to manufacture between 400 and 500 every year.” Turning his sights to 2018, he stresses that the company has learned its lessons the hard way, and will be paying close attention to its various target markets in the coming months: “Aside from the vacuum tankers, we will keep developing in the mainstream road tanker market. We are also looking to focus more on building more sophisticated cryogenic tanks, which has turned into another speciality of ours. It would be of interest to us to get involved with the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, too. We have been monitoring it, and it shows great signs of potential, but the predicted boom has not materialised yet. Our hope is that when the market breaks, we will be well-positioned to take advantage.”
Product: Production of ISO tanks, cryogenic tanks, road tankers, gas tanks and pressure vessels
7000 US Gallon cryogenic road tanker for nitrogen transport
Established in 1989 as a joint venture between the House of Habib, Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Indus Motor Company (IMC) has sold more than 750,000 vehicles in its 27 years of production, and is currently overseeing a number of local community projects
EO Ali Asghar Jamali neatly summarises the history of Indus Motor Company (IMC): “It was established in 1989, as a joint venture between the House of Habib, one of the biggest financial centres in Pakistan and the Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. That is when the production of IMC’s Flagship brand, Corolla, began. Today, IMC produces a number of other vehicles as well.” Beyond the manufacture of the Hilux and the Fortuner, IMC also boasts a facility in Port Qasim Authority that manufactures 240 vehicles a day, employs over 3000 people, and is responsible for one and a half per cent of the total tax paid in Pakistan. In his current role, Ali is tasked with overseeing the future of the company: “My biggest role is to make IMC a stronger unit. At the moment, my focus is on future leadership and succession, ensuring a sustainable business in the long term.” While he prepares for the long-term, in the short-term a lot of companies are benefiting from
an upturn in the Pakistani economy: “The Pakistani market is growing at around five to six per cent, so there is a real feel-good factor in the country at the moment. New projects such as the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are making headway, and politically the condition has been more stable in the last four or five years. All of these factors coming together have driven growth in the automobile market.” Ali believes that IMC has a couple of advantages over its competitors: “The automobile industry requires a lot of manpower as well as extensive training, which has been a big part of the organisation over the last 25 years or so,” he explains. There are already steps being taken to capitalise on the current positive economic atmosphere and to increase the level of productivity: “An expansion phase will be coming into play in early 2018, further increasing our capabilities.” There is a culture of optimism within the group, an aspect that Ali believes gives the people that
work for IMC an excellent platform to build upon: “When choosing someone to join the team, it is the attitude that counts. At the plant, there is a level of standardisation that involves doing tasks repeatedly, so how someone approaches this is of the highest importance.” This desire for maintaining the right attitude also extends to working with suppliers and dealerships: “It is about working as a family. There is a special professional bond, and IMC values this very highly.” Each vehicle in the range has been designed to meet certain specific customer requirements: “The Corolla has been created with Pakistani roads in consideration, which is why it is popular for urban and off-road usage. The after-sales service is also a big advantage, as there are spare parts available in centres all over Pakistan,” Ali states. He goes on to detail the advantages of another model, the Hilux: “All our vehicles offer safety and durability. With this vehicle, it is low maintenance, and it is often used by paramilitary
Indus Motor Company The first Toyota Corolla to come off the line, 1993
forces, as it is great for covering desert and mountain terrain.” The same level of care is applied to looking after the people producing these vehicles, something that everyone is expected to be vigilant about and play a part in: “You won’t see anyone in the plant walking and talking with a mobile phone in their hand, or with hands in pockets, it is about covering the minute details that protect people. This is the utmost priority. For example, even if a senior executive visits the factory floor, he/she is still given the security briefing. It doesn’t matter if someone is a manager or a tea boy, if the policy is violated, the same actions are taken,” he exclaims. There is also a move towards maintaining sustainability, both in terms of the environment and through benefiting the community: “All standards and procedures are properly followed, and this has to be taken seriously. Over one per cent of profits are donated to health, education and other socially beneficial projects, as well as a technical school that offers vocational training,” Ali reiterates. At present, the company is preparing to further develop in anticipation of changes in the economy: “Everything has to be approved by sponsors, so what happens depends on what is
decided at that level. At present, 60-65,000 units should be produced in the next three years, though with our current capacity this can increase to as much as 100,000. At the moment, Pakistan is a seller’s market that is close to becoming a buyer’s market, so it is vital to be prepared,” Ali predicts. He is excited about the future, both for the country of Pakistan and for IMC: “There are a lot of challenges that need to be circumvented, so my role is about preparing the team for that. There is a lot of investment coming in, both in terms of the country and the industry itself, and
we are preparing for what is to come in the future. Whatever happens, we want to maintain our strength and keep our leadership in the local market.” It is a bold ambition, but one that IMC can definitely drive towards.
Indus Motor Company
Product: Producer of Toyota vehicles in Pakistan
CEO Ali Asghar Jamali
DURA Automotive Systems
Structuring the working
DURA Automotive Systems has received several high-profile awards in recognition of its tireless internal development and introduction of green measures
URA Automotive Systems seems to be running like a perfectlyoiled machine. The global designer and manufacturer of automotive components put up an incredible business performance in 2017, leading to the company recording its best-ever financial year. We got in touch with DURA’s UK branch Plant Manager, Martin Dinsley, who discussed last year’s highlights for the division, and its intentions for the foreseeable future. “It was a busy year for us, but our hard work and dedication paid off, when we achieved our best financial performance in recent history. We combined the introduction of some positive new innovations with a bit of internal restructuring to get there,” Martin explains. DURA’s progress did not remain unnoticed, as the company picked up a few awards in the course of 2017. “We are proud to announce that we won the Honda Green Excellence Award for last year. We were also presented with the TMMX People and Skills, and World Class Manufacturing awards.” The categories in which DURA excelled, are telling of the areas where the manufacturer
expended most of its energy in 2017. Martin eagerly outlines the efforts the company made to work in a more environment-efficient manner, while continuously developing its people’s skillset. “We did a lot to reduce our waste. Last year we managed to achieve zero waste to landfill and overall, we reduced our onsite scrap by 27 per cent. We began targeted activities to drop that figure, which involved reducing the actual defects made by our big injection moulding machines on the one hand, and the way we produce sample parts for destructive testing, on the other. We did not only reduce our environmental impact, but also improved our sales potential and decreased our costs, because of the lower number of components we started to use for destructive testing. What is more, we reduced our scrap by 50 per cent on key products for injection moulding, which means that we no longer had to produce the same parts twice,” Martin points out. He also reports an 18 per cent improvement in DURA’s energy utilisation, with the firm having reduced its gas and water usage by 27 and seven per cent, respectively. The entity demonstrated the same vigour
and proactivity in its HR management. In 2017, it initiated various training courses for its employees that continue in the new year, and here is Martin’s verdict on their success: “First of all, we took on board a dedicated trainer who developed the courses’ content. He resides with us now and is a fully-integrated part of our team. I feel that everyone who attends these courses, comes out with very positive impressions. They are being done in a very light and pleasant way, so people can enjoy themselves. It is good that we have found the right form to provide all of our employees with a comprehensive overview of the necessary steps they need to take when dealing with new chemical materials onsite, for example. We have been doing training on health and safety issues, environmental items, or even on internal processes like handling the new Human Resources Operating System (HROS).” In addition to the internal courses, DURA is also launching its own apprenticeship scheme in April 2018. Martin reveals how the idea was shaped: “We engaged with one of our clients, Jaguar Land Rover, at their skills event last year and while we were there, we came to realise the benefits of
DURA Automotive Systems
running an apprenticeship scheme. We see it as a way of giving back to the local community, and we are getting ready to take up the first cohort of ten shop-floor apprentices this April. We strongly hope that the initiative will be successful. We have also been supported by Lander Automotive in how to structure and manage such an initiative.” 2017 also continued the trend of maintaining excellent provider-customer relationships, which DURA has established. Martin singles out some of the key moments of the company’s external growth: “We welcomed a new customer last year, Volvo, and we are just about to launch a project for them. We also worked very closely with Honda on their Supplier Quality Circle Convention (SQCC) initiative. Our company sent a team to get involved in the process, and work on Honda’s products. It was a rewarding partnership for both parties, because our employees got a lot of experience, and Honda was pleased with our effort and willingness to help.” The collaboration between
DURA and the Japanese car manufacturer is poised to remain active throughout 2018, as Martin mentions an exciting mutual project going on, the success of which will bring new robot technology onsite for DURA, and reinforce its manufacturing strategy. He is justifiably optimistic about business’ prospects this year: “The automotive sector is currently very strong. Some of our customers, like Jaguar and Mini, have been selling lots of vehicles recently, so it is safe to say that we are enjoying a good period in the industry. We have set the number of sales we are expecting to achieve in 2018, and given the powerful start we had in January, when we already went ahead of the operating plan’s targets, I believe the year will be a reasonable success.” One potentially profitable project DURA is looking to secure this year takes heed of the popularity electrical vehicles are gaining. “We have advanced technological equipment to support
vehicle electrification, and at the moment we are working with a major OEM to bring home this exciting project that can double, if not treble, the sales in this particular sector,” Martin informs us. At the end of our interview, he takes the time to reiterate the structured approach the company has taken in refining its internal operations, which he regards as instrumental in the success DURA has enjoyed recently. “We work incessantly with our leading hands to clarify the roles and responsibilities each of our people has, and put the accountability where it needs to be. At the end of the day, the success of our operation in Birmingham is down to the employees as a unit. It is not that certain individuals are responsible for pulling the company forwards. With us, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We have managed to assemble a critical mass of people wanting to do that right thing, and this is what makes us so successful,” Martin concludes.
DURA Automotive Systems
Products and services: Designer and manufacturer of automotive parts, such as steel doors, aluminium doors, glass encapsulation, plastic cappings, and electric park brakes
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