Manufacturing BEST PRACTICES FOR INDUSTRY LEADERS
Issue 167 2019
A state of
evolution Forward-thinking manufacturers are already creating new generations of smart connected products – start now or get left behind
Also in this issue: • Machine learning • Talent diversity • Brexit • ERP • Risk
Chairman Andrew Schofield Managing Director Joe Woolsgrove Editor Libbie Hammond
BEST PRACTICES FOR INDUSTRY LEADERS
Staff Writer Vladi Nikolov Production Manager Fleur Daniels
Issue 167 2019
Assistant Editor Will Daynes
Art Editor/Design David Howard Advertising Design Fiona Jolliffe Advertising Administrator/Office Manager Tracy Chynoweth firstname.lastname@example.org Operations Director Philip Monument Operations Manager Natalie Griffiths Editorial Researchers Mark Cowles Tarj D’Silva Jeff Goldenberg Ben Richell Richard Saunders Kieran Shukri Advertising Sales Mark Cawston Theresa McDonald Gary Silk Sam Surrell Exclusive Features Darren Jolliffe Web Sales email@example.com Independent Sales Dave King Social Media Abigail Blake
A state of
evolution Forward-thinking manufacturers are already creating new generations of smart connected products – start now or get left behind
Also in this issue: UÊ>V iÊi>À}ÊUÊ/>iÌÊ`ÛiÀÃÌÞÊUÊ ÀiÝÌÊUÊ ,*ÊUÊ,Ã
he figures for UK manufacturing released at the beginning of August made for sombre reading – but rather than build up a picture of doom and gloom, let’s instead focus on the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 report. The companies that fill its pages remind us that there are small and medium sized businesses that are innovating and growing. It highlights the continued strength of multiple sectors and the level of diversity among the industries that are featured. Purely data-driven, the report examines, in detail, the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs, while looking at the sectors and trends that are projected to shape the future of the British and European economies. The stats in the report give us confidence and optimism that not only are we a nation that is excellent at starting businesses, but that we have the conditions present to allow those businesses to scale up to a higher tier. For more details, take a look at page: 6.
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Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and adver tisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effor t is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the proper ty of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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4 Manufacturing news
Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena
6 LSEG 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 This yearâ€™s Report from the LSEG drills down into how the respective companies have successfully managed to scale up their operations
8 Machine learning
Karen Krivaa discusses how machine learning can introduce efficiency boosters throughout the manufacturing organisation
10 Talent diversity
According to Will Shepherd, organisations need to invest their time and resources into adding value through diversity
With a lack of guidance coming from Government, Paul Hodges says that the time is now for manufacturers to start their own plans for dealing with Brexit
With VAT filing going digital and SAP legacy support deadlines on the horizon, manufacturers need to make sure theyâ€™re ready for the future. By Billy Kazantzis
Protecting your business when dealing with cross-border investments. By Nicholas Peacock, Jerome Temme and Olga Dementyeva
18 New product development
Eric Schaeffer and David Sovie highlight how traditional products are being reinvented, and the business opportunities that this presents to forward-thinking manufacturers
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Contents Profiles 22 MacDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions
24 Metalcolor 28 Grainger & Worrall 32 Clamason Industries 34 Torbay Pharmaceuticals 38 Mail Solutions Group
40 Randek AB 44 Muraspec 46 Bearward Engineering 48 Ecolab 50 A. E. Oscroft & Sons
54 DS Smith 58 Inciner8 62 Dreams 66 Linn Products www.manufacturing-today-europe.com l 3
News in brief Award winners The HARTING Technology Group has received a coveted German Innovation Award 2019 for its ix Industrial range. The pioneering connector impressed the German Design Council and won the award for ‘Excellence in Business to Business’. “This is the third award acknowledging ix Industrial. I see this as clear proof that we have clearly understood the sign of the times with our ix Industrial and have created the future miniaturised interface for Ethernet in the industrial arena,” commented Jonas Diekmann, Technical Editor at HARTING Electronics.
Are you compliant? The German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce is warning that the newly created German Packaging Register (ZSVR) has passed on some 2000 discrepancies in reported packaging data to the relevant German authorities for legal enforcement. Affected companies can expect severe financial penalties for the breaches. The Chamber therefore advises British companies to check their German packaging obligations and license their packaging if necessary. The new Register has been operating since January this year and since then companies have been legally obliged to report their packaging data to both their chosen recycling scheme and the Register. To be legally compliant, British companies need to sign up with the Register http://lucid. verpackungsregister.org/ and join a German recycling scheme, which will license the packaging for a fee.
Second wave rollout Following Transatel’s successful delivery into the UK, Germany and Italy for Jaguar Land Rover in 2018, Wave 2 of the personal SIM card and mobile data plan services deployment programme launched in May of this year. During Wave 2, Jaguar and Land Rover dealers in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France, will begin providing Ubigi SIM cards to the owners of the latest vehicle models. Jaguar Land Rover offers customers a three-year prefunded data bundle with the latest vehicle models, which includes the option for the customer to purchase additional data top-up packages if desired.
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Going micro Earlier this year, Tel-Aviv based additive manufacturing innovator, Nanofabrica, commercially launched its micro 3D printing technology that reaches micron-level accuracy over a build envelope of 5cm x 5 cm x 10 cm. This ground-breaking technology now provides a viable mass manufacturing alternative to traditional manufacturing processes such as micro molding, and its characteristics open up the oppor tunity for significant innovation in product design and development. Nanofabrica’s technology is much more agile and flexible than traditional alternative manufacturing technologies; the requirement for no tooling meaning that designs can be altered with little expense. Through the use of a micro additive manufacturing process, manufacturers can also optimise workflow, plus significant operational cost benefits are now attainable at the micro manufacturing level. While the Nanofabrica micron-level additive manufacturing process can cater for high volume applications (multiple thousands of small par ts and components fitting easily in the machine’s build envelope), the introduction of a 3D printing solution for micro manufacturers also means that OEMs are able to reduce the reliance on economies of scale, as the technology makes full production runs measured in thousands as inexpensive as producing one. The Nanofabrica technology makes low to medium-volume production runs possible that have previously been uneconomic due to the high tooling and set-up costs associated with traditional manufacturing alternatives.
Low carbon future Veolia, the UK’s leading environmental solutions provider, has launched a new web based platform for the UK that can evaluate the complete carbon and water use of business activities. Aimed at helping organisations determine their real carbon footprint, the tool, called GreenPath, provides a true picture of achievement, carries out biodiversity diagnoses at the scale of a physical site, and contributes to strategic future planning. Unique in the market, GreenPath is fully adapted to measuring impacts from energy, water, and waste operations and has been designed to integrate future resource efficiency activities. Designed to deliver site-wide analyses GreenPath will help all kinds of businesses and public sector organisations meet their commitments for carbon reporting covering footprint calculation and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction, potentially saving them thousands of pounds per year. It will also help organisations of all sizes meet their own regulatory obligations and achieve their environmental performance objectives through long-term improvement plans. Externally recognised, the tool complies with international standards including ISO 140641, ISO 14069 Standards, and the GHG Protocol, and was certified in November 2018 by the Interprofessional Technical Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies, CITEPA, based in Paris. To ensure accuracy and compliance the platform is continuously updated to take account of legal and scientific changes, and tracks indicators over time to produce a wide range of reports. The tool is also upgradeable to enable integration of new activities on demand.
Manufacturing News World excellence An £8.9 million centre to help companies benefit from lightweight manufacturing technology has been officially opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will develop lighter, more efficient, components for high-value industries, including automotive and aerospace. It also has the potential to benefit other enterprises looking to replace traditional manufacturing processes and materials with the next generation of innovative solutions to help meet the engineering challenges of today and tomorrow. The centre, operated by the University of Strathclyde, is the first stage of establishing the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute Scotland that aims to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing. Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, explained what the new centre will bring: “The new centre provides the skills and services needed to place Scottish industry at the forefront of lightweight manufacturing, helping companies of all sizes compete globally. This launch marks an important milestone in Scotland’s innovation journey, and we look forward to working side-by-side with businesses around the country.”
Certification achieved Wren Kitchens has been internationally commended for its manufacturing facilities in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Wren’s state-of-the-art factories have recently achieved an official stamp of approval by the worldwide standardsetting body - International Standards Organisation (ISO). After extensive assessments, Wren achieved the following recognitions: l Wren’s factories in Barton-upon-Humber and Howden have been awarded with ISO 9001. It recognises the kitchen retailers’ efforts to continually improve and streamline the performance of the business l Howden has been certified with one of the newest and most highly commended - ISO 45001 which focuses on employee’s health, safety and welfare. It has also achieved ISO 14001, for proactively minimising its environmental impact
To educate its employees on new equipment and safety procedures, Wren has introduced a new training academy which is a simulated factory setting packed full of equipment. Every week it enhances the knowledge of around 200 people. To further strengthen its manufacturing facilities, the company recently announced plans of opening a £120 million factory in Barton-uponHumber by 2021, employing a further 1200 people.
Wren is confident in replicating its success with ISO 45001, 9001 and 14001 at its remaining sites, with an eight-day audit planned in the next few months. Wren Kitchens Manufacturing and Logistics Director, Rafal Klimek, said: “These recognitions further cement our name as an industry-leading kitchen manufacturer, and it’s thanks to the tremendous efforts of our Wren family for making this possible. “We’re proud to say that we’re celebrating our tenth year in business and as we continue to expand at pace, we’re focusing on streamlining our processes and further developing initiatives to create a happy, safe and healthy workplace.”
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London Stock Exchange Group
Showcasing Britain’s growth engines This year marks the publication of the sixth annual edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG) 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report
ne of the most widely tracked reports of its kind, it has proudly identified the UK’s fastest-growing businesses since 2013 and helped to showcase the entrepreneurial drive possessed by the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The purely data-driven report also continues to examine, in detail, the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs, while looking at the sectors and trends that are projected to shape the future of the British and European economies. As has been the case with its predecessors, the 2019 edition of the report showcases the depth and breadth of high-growth British businesses across all sectors. This year, over two-thirds of the companies listed appear for the very first time, while a number are welcomed back as they continue to thrive, including six making their fifth consecutive appearance. “One of the
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first things that stands out from the report is that overall revenue growth of the companies featured was 108 per cent, which we believe is a real cause for celebration,” begins Marcus Stuttard, LSEG’s Head of UK Primary Markets and AIM. “It is also a hugely positive thing that growth is occurring across multiple regions, with companies across the North East of England, Wales and Northern Ireland recording the biggest increase in representation from last year’s report,” Marcus continues. “What this is showing us is that there is an increasing number of clusters of knowledge, expertise and support forming all around Britain, and these are helping produce, incubate and facilitate the growth of a wide variety of successful businesses. It also means that these businesses are able to benefit from the help of readily available support mechanisms and peer groups as they embark on their own journey.” The top five industries represented by the 1000 companies within this years’ report – accounting for 44 per cent of the list – are manufacturing, engineering and construction, information technology, retail and healthcare. “With this particular statistic, what shines through is the continued strength of multiple sectors and level of the diversity that we see in the report,” Marcus explains. “In the case of manufacturing and engineering companies for
1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019
instance, a 2018 report from Engineering UK states that the sector helped generate approximately £1.23 trillion of the UK’s total turnover, the scale of which shocked even me. Meanwhile, in the food industry, some 97 per cent of the companies documented would be classed as SMEs, which is a real barometer of the appetite that consumers today have for placing their trust in not only big brand names, but also innovative, artisanal businesses.” What also appeals greatly to Marcus when reading the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 report, is how it drills down into how the companies featured have successfully managed to scale up their respective operations, and in turn contributed to job creation and, ultimately, Britain’s GDP. Companies in this year’s report are believed to have created 95,827 jobs over the past two-year period alone, a 39 per cent increase compared to the 2018 edition. “The above numbers provide great confidence and optimism that not only are we a nation that is excellent at starting businesses, but that we have the conditions present to allow those businesses to scale up to a higher tier,” Marcus declares. Ensuring that companies with such high-growth potential as those featured within the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 report can continue to grow, innovate and create jobs, of course requires access to finance, and one of the UK’s great strengths is the wide variety of finance available. What can be a barrier to this, however, is a lack of awareness of the options available, and among the other things that the LSEG endeavours to do is ensure that companies are aware of these, and provide access to both financial and nonfinancial support for their development. One of the ways in which it facilitates the above is through ELITE, its specially devised platform and ecosystem for private high-growth companies that provides business support, mentoring and access to finance companies need to scale up their businesses. Since 2015, more than 180 UK companies have joined ELITE, and 2019 also marked the launch of ELITE Scotland, with a tailored offering and network for the country. “ELITE has very much become a community – underpinned by a platform – where the broadest group of people that truly understand the requirements of scaling up businesses can come together to provide finance, guidance, insight and
wisdom to the next generation of business owners,” Marcus states. “What ELITE does is provide a valuable environment in which these owners can engage with their peers, address the challenges they face and, ultimately, apply what they have learnt in order to accelerate the growth of their own businesses.” At the various launch events for the 2019 edition of the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report, Marcus was also very encouraged by the level of interest business owners displayed in gaining more information about the IPO process and the possibility of raising capital on AIM. “AIM has become a vital source of capital for growing businesses in the UK, and has helped to provide those admitted to it with all the benefits of being a public company, whether that be access to capital, higher visibility, greater credibility or increased transparency, all of which can aid in the winning of new business,” he adds. “AIM today boasts a large range of companies – with over 40 sectors represented – and this show of diversity, much like that within the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2019 report, provides huge comfort for what the future holds for UK businesses.” l www.1000companies.com
Marcus Stuttard, LSEG’s Head of UK Primary Markets and AIM
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The self-learning factory of the future. By Karen Krivaa
ecent innovations in cloud computing and big data storage and analysis are driving a huge increase in the demand for machine learning solutions. Manufacturers are adopting machine learning (ML) models because it makes factories smarter and more efficient, which means higher revenues. According to McKinsey, AI and machine learning have the potential to create an additional $2Tn in value for manufacturing and supply chain planning as processes and decisions for improved productivity become optimised by leveraging big data. Here are five ways that manufacturers can use machine learning to their advantage: 1. More accurate demand forecasts – All manufacturers are faced with the challenge of forecasting demand accurately to avoid over stocking and shortages. Using machine learning, systems that leverage the correct attributes and can continuously be trained, can help companies plan and continuously adjust production to produce the exact quantities that meet sales requirements while also being able to tweak predictions based on the impact of changing events such as new product introductions and supply chain disruptions. Using data from external sources such as social, news and weather networks can also enhance the prediction accuracy. The end result is less cash tied up unnecessarily in products and materials and fewer delivery delays due to lack of product availability. According to McKinsey, by using machine learning for demand estimates, manufacturers can experience an overall inventory reduction of 20 per cent to 50 per cent. 2. Predictive maintenance – Predictive maintenance fixes small problems before they become bigger ones, reducing lost production
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time and maintenance costs while increasing equipment life. Equipment is monitored so that it is serviced when needed instead of at scheduled service times, for example, a machine learning model can use a baseline of collected performance data to detect when there is an increase in vibrations that may indicate a malfunction. If the ML model can run on the streaming data simultaneously with historical data, the outcome will be more accurate. Since industrial equipment is very expensive to purchase and maintain, increasing uptime and product reliability while delaying replacements costs results in significant savings. McKinsey estimates that predictive maintenance will generate a ten per cent reduction in annual maintenance costs, up to a 20 per cent downtime reduction and 25 per cent reduction in inspection costs for industrial equipment. In addition, using predictive maintenance can ensure employee safety by reducing work related accidents. 3. Hyper-personalised manufacturing – Machine learning is enabling companies to take personalisation to the next level, evolving from mass production to mass customisation. Personalisation of products is becoming an important differentiator. Both BMW and Mercedes Benz provide car buyers the opportunity to customise the car of their choice online and see what the final product will look before their order is sent to production. Machine learning can be used to identify if a preference for opulence or minimalism can be specific to a generation, region, or culture, and person – based on real-time and historical activities. The 360-degree customer view and the ability to react in the moment can create a positive and unique experience for each customer. Machine learning also enables machinery to identify when products need to be configured differently and then automatically adapt production on the shop floor so that different types of products can be produced on the same assembly line.
4. Optimised production runs – Machine learning algorithms are capable of autonomously improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes by monitoring quantities used, cycle times, temperatures, lead times, errors, and down time. Starting initially as an ‘operator assist’ mode, where systems suggest answers to the operator, they will learn from operators’ decisions and actions to become more and more autonomous, perhaps even eventually replacing operators. In the future, machine learning will work in a vendor agnostic environment where all machines will speak the same language, increasing production efficiency from machine to machine across the entire shop floor. 5. Automated procurement – Analytics combined with machine learning can record and critique every stage of the procurement process. The first step in uncovering sourcing opportunities can transform from a timeconsuming, manual task to a real-time, automatic response. Procurement can apply machine learning to determine the best possible starting rate or negotiations, and also discover the best contract terms that will help the partnership become more successful. Machine learning can pick out hidden patterns that indicate when a supplier is not meeting business and regulatory requirements, departments that are most likely to overspend and suppliers that may face difficulties. Honeywell has already incorporated machine-learning algorithms to improve procurement, strategic sourcing and cost management. In order to become smarter and learn from previous outcomes, machine learning models need to rapidly ingest, process and analyse, huge volumes of both streaming and historical data with ultra low latency. Models that can’t process streaming and historical data fast enough can result in less accurate and timely results. Distributed In-Memory computing architectures can speed up analytical and transactional processing and provide scalability, especially at peaks by running services
and analytics on a unified big data speed layer, resulting in lower processing overhead and higher data quality. In-Memory computing can also run machine learning at the edge, speeding up the results of analytics and reducing the network load as only the relevant data is sent back to the cloud server. By delivering faster and smarter analytics, In-Memory computing architectures can better forecast demand, proactively identify production line problems and eliminate them and create agile and responsive supply chains and enhance customer experience. Smart factories are the future. When it is armed with sufficient speed, scale and performance - with intelligent access to the huge amounts of data, machine learning can introduce so many different types of efficiency boosters throughout the manufacturing organisation it will become an integral part of every manufacturer’s tool set. l
Karen Krivaa Karen Krivaa is VP of Marketing at GigaSpaces. GigaSpaces provides the fastest in-memory computing platforms for real-time insight to action and extreme transactional processing. With GigaSpaces, enterprises can operationalise machine learning and transactional processing to gain real-time insights on their fast and historical data, and act upon them in the moment. The always-on platforms for mission-critical applications across cloud, on-premise or hybrid environments are leveraged by hundreds of Tier-1 and Fortune-listed organisations worldwide across financial services, insurance, retail, transportation, telecoms and healthcare. www.gigaspaces.com
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The value of
he Early Talent market is changing and becoming increasingly competitive. In 2017, the number of students planning to go to university fell to its lowest level in eight years, and the number of Apprentice vacancies rose. Companies are having to adapt and evolve to this changing marketplace where recruitment competition and demands are high. When it comes to making changes, diversity and inclusion represents both a priority and a significant challenge for many businesses, and no more so than within early talent recruitment in the manufacturing industry. Diversity within an organisation is about encouraging a wholly-inclusive workforce – embracing employees of different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural beliefs. Yet, Early Talent Diversity runs much deeper. It’s about making your application process available and accessible to all groups who embrace different perspectives and ideologies about how and why things work the way they do. It’s about bringing different ideas and opinions together within your organisation and allowing them to work cohesively towards common business goals.
Adding value through diversity Part of the motivation for a company wanting to increase Early Talent Diversity comes in understanding how it truly adds value to the core business. There are a number of associated benefits to a diverse workforce, which many businesses are surprisingly unaware of, including the following; - Increased productivity, work rate & efficiency; in fact, 72 per cent of
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- - - - -
private sector companies said there was a direct link between diversity and productivity Innovative thinking & culture; through alternative perspectives and ideas on the same issue or new product Positive employer branding; once diversity begins to increase it becomes easier to attract a more diverse pool of candidates and even customers Giving your business the competitive edge; diversity enhances the competitiveness of your business both within your workforce and as an organisation Reduction in employee turnover; when compared to pre-diversity statistics Increased employee morale & teamwork
Without a doubt, diversity is and should be an organisational priority. But as an employer, how can you implement recruitment strategies and initiatives to help you achieve your diversity goals?
Attracting Early Talent diversity There is a huge pool of diverse talent in schools and colleges and these students need to be proactively engaged with in order to recruit a more diverse workplace at an entry-level. Talking to students early on and removing application barriers, will help to create an interest in careers that they may not have previously considered. Ultimately, they want to see ‘people like them’ on your website and see how well they have done in your organisation, showcasing stories of how diversity and inclusion is celebrated.
Will Shepherd highlights the importance and benefits for an organisation of working towards early talent diversity
Engaging with new audiences results in a wider talent pool and is a step towards creating a more diverse workforce, as well as combatting the skills shortage currently facing many organisations within the manufacturing industry. This diverse range of employees will bring fresh-thinking and innovative ideas, which in turn could bring a new customer base. If students have a great experience with an organisation at any stage, it increases the likelihood of employees returning later. For example, a successful work experience completion can lead to an apprentice application, and/or an application to work full time within the business. Another option could be offering workplace taster days - this gives potential candidates an opportunity to learn and discover more about different aspects of an organisation or industry. Crucially, companies can craft media content and public policy to combat industry stereotypes, this is particularly important within sectors where gender stereotyping is still in place. Content and photography that is open for potential candidates to see on an organisationâ€™s website or within the career pages helps to encourage a more diverse workforce. Ultimately, organisations want to reach out to the best candidates, regardless of gender, class or ethnicity and the recruitment process should be designed to discover and appeal to all. If there is a particular demographic that industry is struggling to reach, more appropriate measures should be put in place to extend this reach and engage with the right people. Given the wideranging benefits, it would seem crazy that a company wouldnâ€™t invest resource and time into developing their Early Talent diversity. l
Will Shepherd Will Shepherd is CEO of Cohesion, a leading provider of outsourced recruitment services. For some clients it acts as their dedicated outsourced recruitment team, responsible for hiring the brightest and best talent across all areas of their business. For others it acts as an on-demand recruitment partner to HR and Operational teams and injects a burst of high impact expertise to deliver and support volume and project recruitment campaigns. www.cohesionrecruitment.com
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control Paul Hodges believes it is time for businesses to start their own plans for how to deal with Brexit
he daily to-and-fro of political debate really does raise the question of whether politicians understand what Brexit means for business? The current Conservative Party leadership debates are just one example of the way that most politicians are failing to grasp the importance of the detail involved in Brexit. It seems time for those of us in business to start to fill this gap. I start from the viewpoint of an SME, a small and medium-sized enterprise. SMEs employ 16.3 million people in the UK, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. And our turnover at £2 trillion is more than half of all private sector revenue. Yet we have been virtually ignored over the past three years since the referendum. Compare that with the normal process for major government policy initiatives such as automatic pension enrolment, which now covers 11 million people. That was first proposed by the Pensions Commission in 2005 and became law via several Pensions Acts. Detailed, consensusbased planning then led to large companies starting to enrol their staff in 2012, and the process finally completed last year when the smallest businesses joined. Yet here we are in August 2019, and none of us yet know whether Brexit will definitely happen on 31 October. Nor do we know what form it might take, although the risks of crashing out with no deal are clearly rising. And detailed consensus-based government guidance has been notable by its absence. How can civil servants advise businesses on what to do,
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when they don’t know themselves what is happening? The whole legislative process has broken down, just as those of us in business face what is potentially the biggest challenge of our working lives. I have personal experience of working under global trade rules in the early part of my career with ICI, then the UK’s largest company. As a junior product manager, I was a cog in a very well-oiled machine. We had experts in every part of the process, and we were very successful. But, that was then and this is now. Put simply, today’s problem is nobody under the age of 45 has any experience of doing this. The teams that used to deal with such matters disappeared decades ago, when we joined the Single Market and Customs Union In 1993. And trade has since become much more complex as global supply chains have emerged. New and more efficient ways of working have become standard. As Eurotunnel told Parliament last summer, “over the past 20 years, warehouses have become trucks rolling on the road” as ‘just-in-time’ supply became routine.
For the past 25 years, manufacturers have been progressively freed from the burden of having to understand the detail of global trade rules and non-tariff barriers. But today it seems that we are going in the opposite direction, and we haven’t even been told which particular destination the politicians have in mind. All we know is that the journey from here to there will inevitably impact most manufacturing businesses to a greater or smaller extent. What the politicians seem have forgotten, or perhaps they never knew, is that major UK manufacturing industries don’t actually manufacture on an end-to-end basis any more. Instead they manufacture components, and sometimes assemble the final product, often with parts shipped from all over the world under detailed regulatory scrutiny. Where is the government guidance on how this will all change? Where are the detailed instructions on what we need to do, and by when? Customs is just one example where we are all at sea. HMRC, to their credit, have told Parliament that potentially 400 million new Customs
Declarations will need to be filed, at an estimated cost of £32.50 per declaration. But has anyone even released a video of how to fill in the 50 boxes on the Customs form? Have they issued a ‘Key Facts’ leaflet to help small businesses understand the eye-watering 135 pages of guidance? Of course not. Businesses have been left to ‘muddle through’ – and this is just one of probably a thousand examples. This is why I believe it’s time for businesses to take back control. We have all waited patiently for the guidance we have every right to expect, but this ‘wait and see’ approach now has to change. We need to urgently get to grips with the challenges and opportunities that will be created by Brexit. Otherwise we risk finding ourselves trapped in a version of Samuel Beckett’s play, ‘Waiting for Godot’, waiting for guidance that never arrives. Only Brexit isn’t a play where we leave at the end of the performance, but a critical reality. It will inevitably, for better or worse, affect our business and our livelihoods. It will also impact our staff and their families, and all the people who rely on the products and services that we create. With a No Deal Brexit looking ever more likely, we owe it to ourselves to take back control now. We need to start planning, today, for whatever the politicians may throw at us in the next few weeks. l
Paul Hodges Paul Hodges is chairman of ReadyforBrexit, an independent Brexit advice service for SMEs and the larger companies in their supply chains. For further information, please visit: https://readyforbrexit.co.uk
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A united I
Billy Kazantzis explains why manufacturers need a pack mentality to fight evolving ERP and taxation dangers
n the animal kingdom, lions are particularly renowned for their insidious hunting tactics, working as a team to circle in on their prey from either side rather than tackling head-on. In doing so, even the biggest of animals panic as they try to outrun an attacker, surrounded. Now, manufacturing professionals are also approaching a perilous predicament. However, it’s not a pack of hungry lions drawing increasingly closer; instead, a natural progression in both their ERP and more particular finance functions that are coming to a head. Without the right strategy, manufacturers risk clambering onto different fronts and quickly becoming overwhelmed.
The bones of manufacturing To address this, it’s important to dig into the details of precisely what’s coming down the pipeline. First, it’s worth examining how various companies in the manufacturing space are assembled. Often, they’re built on a legacy of acquisitions and partnerships. There’s no doubt that this is a feasible business
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strategy, but one that comes with multiple disparate systems plus different methods of working and processes, all of which must be consolidated into the organisation to operate seamlessly. Nonetheless, manufacturing makes up almost 20 per cent of the UK economy. In an industry known for its innovation, this conflation of new business areas represents a fresh problem to dissect and fix. Problems arise when these systems are explored at a deeper level. The workarounds are usually complicated and highly diverse, amalgamated in countless ways from company to company. As a result, issues can arise from two separate areas. To start, the details of systems are only apparent to those that designed the fundamental API links and workarounds themselves. Also, they often require lots of maintenance in order to continue functioning, particularly when new components are added. In addition, sometimes the systems yield data that’s very tricky to share across different areas of the organisation; in certain cases, data is completely
ERP Recently, similar mandates have been put in across Europe with the likes of Italy, Spain, and Hungary all implementing their own versions of electronic invoicing and real-time transactional reporting. HMRC will be watching these developments closely - something that manufacturing businesses will need to confront in terms of financial information being made available across their systems in a way that’s easily accessible for HMRC. Moreover, manufacturers have global supply chains, which also need to be considered.
The second lion: SAP legacy deadlines In the manufacturing space, big players also often use SAP software as the foundation for their ERP systems - the beating drum of their business. Here, again, the hybrid systems that have been built by manufacturers are facing their impending doom. This specific threat comes in the form of SAP’s deadline for supporting legacy systems: 31 December 2025. Once that time comes, as SAP systems will no longer support legacy systems, any updates such as security patches and new features will stop for older systems that have not evolved. For any current business, this is disastrous, as nobody can afford to lose out on gamechanging features to competitors. What’s more, as the cyber security attack surfaces continue to increase, it’s of the utmost importance for organisations to ensure that they are equipped with the most up-to-date software and maximise their system security. Worst-case scenario? The systems that have been cobbled together in this fractured approach from the past may no longer work - ruinous for manufacturers, their customers, and the broader supply chain they find themselves harbouring. No doubt that this entails one of the biggest barriers that manufacturers have had to overcome for numerous years.
Proactive pack mentality
siloed. Previously, this might have worked for many manufacturers but, now faced with circling lions (so to speak), businesses built this way need to be increasingly worried.
The first lion: tax In the UK, 1st April saw the advent of Making Tax Digital (MTD), indicating a point where all companies with revenues of £85,000 or more (excluding the delay for speciality or ‘complex’ cases) had to sign up to HMRC’s new digital system for filing VAT tax returns. To start, ensuring that any MTD-compliant software can reach all of the crucial information to fully capture orders and revenue is tremendously more complicated across disparate systems. At the very least, in-house API solutions will have to be recalibrated once again in order to adhere to the requirements of MTD, taking up valuable time and resources. Unfortunately for larger contributors, the simplified version of MTD may not be sufficient; a complex VAT group filing submission will ensnare resources for longer time periods. Turning towards the future, however, there are many more necessary tax changes coming down the pipeline; MTD implementation could only be the beginning. In 2003, countries in Latin America pioneered a more proactive, digitised reclamation in a bid to plug the huge VAT gaps that they were enduring. To combat this, countries such as Brazil established mandatory preclearance electronic invoicing and real-time reporting.
In order to realise future-facing digital tax systems and the fundamental move to S/4HANA for those using an SAP ERP, proactivity is a must. It might be a long time before these changes come into effect, but the ERP is the anchor of any manufacturing business; as such, any change must be incorporated diligently. The focus of modern manufacturing must be the cloud - which doesn’t mean disparate systems, but instead a fresh way of working that facilitates the freeflow of data across the organisation. Businesses who adopt this approach can ensure that they evolve into SAP’s newest systems in an organised manner devoid of loss. Still, more than merely maintaining operations internally, they can also ensure that the required API connections are in place for external systems, which include more developed tax regimes. Six years seems like a long time but, for major digital transformation projects, manufacturers need to begin planning their strategy. No longer can they risk simply shutting down for a few months in order to make the transition. Consequently, proactivity is key, in tandem with enlisting experts in the ERP and financial spheres. Only in this way can British businesses enjoy peace of mind, safeguarding them as they successfully face the next stage of digital businesses. By uniting with a front-foot approach to these two issues on the horizon, manufacturers will ensure that they’re nobody’s lunch. l
Billy Kazantzis Billy Kazantzis is Director, Strategy & Operations for VAT at Sovos, a leading global provider of software that safeguards businesses from the burden and risk of modern tax. As governments and businesses go digital, businesses face increased risks, costs and complexity. The Sovos Intelligent Compliance Cloud is the first complete solution for modern tax, giving businesses a global solution for tax determination, e-invoicing compliance and tax reporting. www.sovos.com
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Dealing with political risk in the manufacturing business; or how to protect your cross-border investment. By Nicholas Peacock, Jerome Temme and Olga Dementyeva
rowth in emerging markets, fuelled by rising affluence and increased consumer spending, is creating on-going new demand in the manufacturing sector. However, with opportunity comes risk. Commitments to long-term projects and in-country manufacture mean putting your investment, facilities and personnel into new and challenging environments. In addition to standard commercial risks (such as a cargo making it from A to B), expanding into new markets can mean exposure to unwelcome ‘political risk’, ie changes to the legal or political environment, such as nationalisation or civil unrest. Such changes may threaten the smooth functioning, profitability, and sometimes the very existence of the investment. There are various ways of dealing with political risk. Protective provisions can be agreed in contracts with the local government promising that the legal environment for the investor will remain stable. Alternatively, investors can obtain political risk insurance. This article focuses on how you can maximise protection from political risk by structuring or restructuring your foreign investment in the most beneficial way to make use of international treaty protection.
What kind of political risk do foreign investors in the manufacturing sector face? Risks connected with doing business in a particular country, which are usually linked to a change in the political climate, are generally referred to as ‘political risk’, and may include a change in the country’s legal or regulatory environment, which render the investment unprofitable or impossible to carry out. Examples include the local government’s interference in the investment realisation (eg, a failure to make payments under contracts), a change in the fiscal environment and, in more extreme circumstances, nationalisation. Recent years have made all too clear that few countries are immune to seismic shifts in their legal and political environment. Venezuela is a stark example. Despite having been a prosperous country in the past, and despite holding vast oil and gas reserves, the country has experienced an investment exodus, with various international manufacturers fleeing Venezuela following
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economic and social deterioration, protracted court proceedings and continuing political uncertainty. Political risk can, however, also arise when governments take seemingly less dramatic measures; a few years ago, Slovakia changed its constitution allegedly in order to prevent a Polish investor from bottling Slovakia-drilled mineral water in Poland.
How can cross-border manufacturers protect their investment from political risk? As an investor you can seek direct assurances from the government of the state where the investment is made. You can also rely on the state’s investment law to protect your interests, or on political risk insurance to get compensation. In addition, investors in the manufacturing sector should consider whether their proposed or existing investment structure allows them to take full advantage of any international investment treaties. There are investment treaties between groups of states, but most commonly investment treaties are between two states (aka, ‘bilateral investment treaties’). In these treaties, the signatory states promise to encourage and protect investors coming from the other state(s). This is intended to promote investment between the two countries by offering foreign investors a degree of comfort as to how they and their investments will be treated, including the prospect of receiving compensation in case something goes wrong. Some of the typical protections contained in such treaties include promises that (a) there will be no arbitrary expropriation of the manufacturing facilities and that an investor will receive compensation if an asset is nationalised or seized by the state, (b) the investor and its investment will be treated ‘fairly’, or
Investment treaties exist between many countries in the world, but not between all countries; in addition, some treaties are more favourable to investors than others. The nationality of the investing entity will be essential, as investors can rely on treaties which are concluded between the state in which their investing entity (or potentially its parent company) is incorporated and the state in which the investment is made. Investments in the manufacturing sector are often capitalintensive and the decision to build manufacturing capacity in a foreign country will require a commitment for many years. When political risk turns into a threat for your investment, it is often impossible to restructure, withdraw your investment or exit the country. Managing the risk, for example through investment treaty protection, will therefore be crucial.
Key take-away (c) the foreign investor will not be treated less favourably than the state’s own nationals in the same position. Where actions by local governments or other state organs harm an investment, investors can generally seek compensation from the government in local courts. However, it may not be possible to receive meaningful (and timely) compensation from public bodies in the local courts, which might not be perceived to be entirely independent from the government. Investment treaties allow investors to bring claims before international arbitration tribunals directly against the state in which the investment is made. Although this will usually be a last resort, the ability to seek an order from an international tribunal that a host state desist from a harmful act, or alternatively pay compensation if the value of the investment is damaged or lost, is a meaningful remedy that should be preserved wherever possible.
How to structure (or restructure) your foreign investment? When you are considering the best structure to invest in cross-border manufacturing facilities (or re-structure the already existing foreign investment), economic, tax, regulatory and other strategic considerations regarding the investment environment might remain determinative. But in addition to that, your business should consider the investment treaty protections that may be available to you, depending on the jurisdiction from which the cross-border investment is planned to be made.
Where available, treaty protection should be part of the early planning for any major cross-border project or investment. As global supply chains and cross-border manufacture increase, and in view of the volatile political landscape, the need to give sophisticated consideration to mitigating legal and political risk is essential. l
Nicholas Peacock, Jerome Temme and Olga Dementyeva Nicholas Peacock is a Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. He previously led the firm’s Singapore arbitration practice, is a member of the firm’s India Executive, works closely with the Moscow office on English law Russian disputes, sits on its Nordic Desk, and is a former co-chair of the London-Japan Group. Jerome Temme and Olga Dementyeva are associates at Herbert Smith Freehills. The company provides many of the world’s most important organisations with access to market-leading dispute resolution, projects and transactional legal advice, combined with expertise in a number of global industry sectors, including Banks, Consumer Products, Energy, Financial Buyers, Infrastructure & Transport, Mining, Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare, Real Estate, TMT and Manufacturing & Industrials. www.herbertsmithfreehills.com
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A state of
From traditional to reinvented products: ten traits. By Eric Schaeffer and David Sovie
et’s consider how traditional products stack up against new smartened-up ones. We have put together a list describing the ten defining features of both categories. It becomes clear what a departure from the old world the ever-higher content of digital technology and software in devices means in terms of a value-rich ‘living’ product existence. This will help you get a sense of the latter’s new business opportunities.
‘Always on’ with superspeed highway access First there is connectivity and the advances made by this vital ingredient for the smart connected product world. Traditionally there has been either no or limited connectivity between makers and users of a hardware product. It was the software industry that eventually pioneered the concept of ‘alwayson’ relationships – between creators and users – via contact through a cloud server. With the arrival of 5G, there will be an infrastructure to connect any physical product permanently, allowing for quick design iterations, remote servicing, personalisation, and bilateral communication between devices.
Sensorised for awareness Another key trait of the smart connected product is sensor and awareness technology. Products used to have almost no sensors. The odd data feeler might have been used – temperature or pressure sensors for instance – but there was no range of high-tech, low-cost, miniature sensors available to enable mass data collection. This has changed dramatically. The car cockpit
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maker Faurecia is developing a sensorised car seat that adapts automatically to personal driver preferences and monitors health data to deliver maximum comfort for the user, for example.
Smarter than smart Then there is the new cognitive character of products. Today’s smartphones boast at least as much processing capacity as a supercomputer of 20 years ago. From the thoroughly unintelligent, unresponsive lumps of metal, plastic and electronic components they once were, products are emancipating themselves, carrying their own processing, storage and analytics power around with them, turning into ‘thinking’, autonomously analysing, decentralised, decision-making brains.
Software eats hardware and digital eats software With the advent of smart connected products, the balance of value will tilt in a transformative way towards software and digital technologies, a shift most dramatically felt by hardware producers. Digital technologies include various types of artificial intelligence such as machine learning, natural language processing and voice assistants as well as the advanced big data and analytics capabilities to harness and utilise all the data being captured by a sensorised, intelligent device. Non-intelligent products are rendered smart and connected; their value profile changes. The pure engineering features lose their market clout to software that makes products adaptable and collaborative.
New product development
Evergreen via upgrade The capacity to frequently upgrade via software is a characteristic of moving up the EQ axis from a transactional product to an outcome oriented as-aservice or platform model. Software is fluid: simple code lines can drastically change product characteristics. This gives them an adaptive life, able to offer true experiences rather than mere product features, and to be constantly made new again, literally renewed. Think of your smartphoneâ€™s operating system, updated regularly to improve usability or data safety.
user experience at the right time in the right context. But their softwareenabled flexibility is also an important precondition for tailored experience personalisation in individual user contexts. Having the flexibility and capacity to morph into a very personal product offering for many users is one of the crucial drivers of customer value in the age of smart connected products. Rendered autonomously intelligent by artificial intelligence a product such as a car can even learn and take its own decisions on how best to personalise its user experience.
Digital age user interface
A platform for multiple parties
The user interface of a product is the core component of the experience; to transform the experience most product companies will need to transition to new digital interfaces. In the past, stationary physical dashboards with a limited number of switches and gauges were the norm. However, product interfaces have now turned into digitally enabled, voice-, swipeor gesture-activated, artificial intelligence-driven, user-personalised, ergonomically highly adaptable mobile technology modules that allow for seamless communication and collaboration between a user and a smart connected product.
Another development is the transformation from a product in isolation to a connected product platform, allowing for the deep and versatile involvement of third parties. Think of your smartphone, which comes to life for your dayto-day use and experience only by means of the numerous apps provided by third parties. Or consider Faurecia again, with its digital car cockpit primarily operated by users via the voice assistant Alexa, provided by Amazon. While many smart connected devices will not become platforms as no new value will thereby be tapped, some surely will.
Hyper-personalised Once a product has digital user interfaces and enough intelligence, it is possible to consider a degree of personalisation that was not possible a few years ago. These new user interfaces are flexible enough to deliver the right
Embedded in ecosystems The emergence of the product as a flexible and living platform goes handin-hand with the emergence of the ecosystem that builds organically around it. Ecosystems mostly emerge because third-party applications are being developed to run the platform, because third parties are approached to
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New product development service the product, or because they leverage product hardware and/ or data to create their own complementary service designs for the product user. Ecosystem developers orbiting a platform today might number anywhere from a few dozen to millions, as in the case of Appleâ€™s iOS and AppStore.
Digital thread as an eternal umbilical cord To provide an outcome-based and compelling experience, it is essential to be able to track and trace the product over its entire lifecycle. This requires smart connected products to run on a data leash controlled by its makers long after sale, in a way that almost no hardware maker does today. These goals will be achieved via two related concepts, the digital twin, which is a complete digital representation of a physical product, and the digital thread, which extends this concept over the entire product lifecycle to track changes to the productâ€™s configuration over time and trace its data flows. Virtually every product will need to be reinvented and transformed in the near future. In fact, the race is already on, and business leaders who dither for too long about creating new generations of smart connected products run a significant risk of their organisations being disrupted and even pushed from the market. Indeed, the massive disruption represented by the product reinvention is enabling new entrants, often from completely different sectors. l
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Eric Schaeffer and David Sovie Eric Schaeffer and David Sovie are Senior Managing Directors at Accenture and co-authors of new book, Reinventing the Product: How to transform your business and create value in the digital age, published by Kogan Page. Accenture is a leading professional services company that works with businesses across the globe to help them embrace innovation and drive new value for their organisations. www.accenture.com
Manufacturing BEST PRACTICES FOR INDUSTRY LEADERS
Focus on... 22 MacDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions
24 Metalcolor 28 Grainger & Worrall 32 Clamason Industries 34 Torbay Pharmaceuticals 38 Mail Solutions Group 40 Randek AB
44 Muraspec 46 Bearward Engineering 48 Ecolab 50 A. E. Oscroft & Sons 54 DS Smith
58 Inciner8 62 Dreams 66 Linn Products www.manufacturing-today-europe.com l 21
MacDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions helps automotive OEMs to specify higher performance standards for their coatings, courtesy of its innovative ZinKlad programme that pairs manufacturers with a select number of world-class applicators
acDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions is a company that insists on doing business on its own terms. The global specialist in chemical process solutions and materials that improve corrosion and wear resistance, and enhance surface aesthetics, has developed a unique operational model, which enables it to cover the supply chain in a way no other company in the electroplating industry does. “It can often be a challenge for an outsider to understand exactly how the model we have set up, works in practice,” claims MacDermid Enthone’s Director Global QPS, Lammert de Boer. “We created a Quality Performance System (QPS) called ZinKlad to
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help OEMs in the automotive industry specify ever-higher performance standards without the use of hexavalent chromium, for their coatings. Essentially, we match applicators in our programme with OEMs looking to have components coated to meet their specification. This is a unique way of linking the entities on both ends of the supply chain, including every supplier in-between.” It is an ambitious commitment that MacDermid Enthone aims to continuously deliver with the ZinKlad programme. The company takes pride in offering global consistency at a local level, which is not without its challenges, given that the applicators the organisation are working with, are located all over the world. Lammert comments: “Different countries have different local laws and regulation. For the ZinKlad programme, however, we have a very clear global requirement that we only want to work with businesses that have a clear commitment to best practices for factors such as waste water treatment, chemical waste management and health and safety policies. This being said, where there is desire to implement
these, we will support and coach an applicator to develop such capabilities, in order to stay in line with the global standards we promote. The end goal is to ensure that wherever our applicators are based, we supply the same highperformance products and operational best practice to fulfil the requirements of the OEMs,” Lammert discusses. “Another major factor for the consistency in the standard of our products, is the regular auditing we carry out in collaboration with our applicators,” he continues. “Four times a year we carry out inspections and test production output to make sure they meet the predefined ZinKlad standards and agreed technical requirements. We follow exactly the same processes globally and when a correction needs to be introduced, it is implemented across each and every applicator in the network.” In addition to the regular auditing, the ZinKlad system, and all approved applicators are also certified to the ISO 9001:2015 standard with the scope: ‘Validating and monitoring applicator processes worldwide to make sure they consistently meet pre-defined ZinKlad, DecoKlad and XMAPP standards and agreed
MacDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions technical requirements’. This is yet another example of MacDermid Enthone’s approach to continuous improvement, with the company actively looking to upgrade its offering whenever possible by adhering to the most stringent of international standards. The final element of the business model followed by MacDermid Enthone for ZinKlad that merits mentioning, is the meticulousness with which the company picks its applicators. MacDermid Enthone chooses quality over quantity, focusing on growing the business by collaborating only with the best applicators. “Working with the minimum amount of applicators necessary to meet the local demand for ZinKlad coatings helps to maintain the consistency in our performance. Of course, as demand for coating grow, we want to continue growing as a unit where everybody delivers the same quality, regardless of their location,” Lammert explains. It has been nearly two decades since ZinKlad was first introduced to the market. During that time, the automotive industry’s coating requirements have changed considerably, which has led MacDermid Enthone to develop a range of products based on their performance level. “Starting from ZinKlad 72, which is typically recommended as a pre-paint or oil retentive coating used when storing steel parts, in the warehouse. As the number of the level increases, so does its corrosion resistance. For example, the ZinKlad 500 is a zinc-iron finish and features a TriPass ELV passivate coupled with HydroKlad SI and Torque ‘N’ Tension topcoats, while the ZinKlad 750 and ZinKlad 1000 include zinc-tin and zinc-nickel deposits respectively, and are at the very top end of the technology. As well as being adopted in today’s internal combustion engine vehicles, these ZinKlad levels are finding particular use in hybrid and full electric vehicles,” Lammert clarifies. “We are currently working in multiple areas where we can apply our ZinKlad programme. One such discipline is hydraulic fittings that are extensively used in agricultural applications such as tractors. Going forward, another challenge for us will be to understand the implications of using lighter components in the automotive sector,” he adds. “We have observed that the design of the steel fastener is changing to help make the car lighter. This then puts pressure on electroplating companies to find a way to address these new requirements.” The coming into play of the EU’s End of Life Vehicles Directive in 2000 shook the metallic finishes landscape to the core. Prior to this milestone year, cars contained components
Carter Retail Equipment Products: Refrigerated display cabinets and cold-room solutions www.cre-ltd.co.uk
treated with finishes containing metals such as cadmium, hexavalent-chromium, and lead. With ELVs generating between seven and eight million tonnes of waste in the EU1, the directive pushed producers to manufacture vehicles without these hazardous substances, switching instead to zinc alloys, trivalent chromium, and lead-free coatings. “Today, specifiers require ever higher performance and MacDermid Enthone leads the change for plating from trivalent chromium electrolytes to high-performance zinc-nickel coatings,” Lammert notes. “We are working hard to respond to new demands, particularly from an environmental standpoint. Most of the OEMs in the world want to be sustainable and this is a fundamental part of the ZinKlad programme. We invest a lot of resources in understanding their environmental and market
demands alike and putting those together in a QPS like ZinKlad. “Last but not least, we are characterised by our brave approach to challenges. For example, we embrace change created by the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. This addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. We readily comply with the directive and supply products that meet its requirements. “Challenges and changes are inevitable in our industry and I would even say that the most certain thing in this sector are the constant changes that happen around us. It is how we face them and adapt that makes us one of the biggest players in this business,” Lammert concludes. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/elv/
MacDermid Enthone Industrial Solutions Products: Chemical compounds for surface coating applications https://industrial.macdermidenthone.com Email: ISenquiries@macdermidenthone.com
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All colours are
Offering flexibility that is rarely seen in the aluminium coil coating industry, Metalcolor continues to address market demands, now investing in new equipment that will facilitate the release of a range of sought-after products in 2020
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igures showing the correlation between the growth in volumes and orders for Metalcolor over the last five years, serve as the perfect justification to the strategy followed by the Swiss’ aluminium coil coating specialist. In said period, the company has enjoyed a 25 per cent increase in volume of coatings produced. Where it becomes interesting, however, is that the number of orders in the last half a decade has grown by a staggering 52 per cent. “We are generating significant growth, which perfectly reflects the flexible approach
we have adopted that allows us to produce almost any colour available, in any amount, and in very shor t lead times,” Sales Director, Richard Haffter, explains. “Without a doubt, this is our USP. The coating process we have set up, enables us to handle orders much more quickly than our competitors. First and foremost, we do not produce the aluminium coils ourselves, but buy them from various producers. This means that we can keep them in stock and when an order comes in, we just need to coat the coils. “Then, we have our in-house colour mixing
facility to speed up the process further, as we are capable of performing this function on-site, instead of having to outsource it. Our flexibility also manifests itself in that we do not have any standard colours, but produce every order according to the exact requirements of the customer. By this, we also mean that we can serve any quantity. It is perfectly possible to buy as little as 100 kilogrammes of coil-coated aluminium from
us, whereas most major coil coaters will require a minimum order of several tonnes. This option really makes the difference in our offering,â€? Richard discusses. Three product types make up the range of coatings available from Metalcolor. The MecoClassic meets the demands of contemporary architectural design by offering polyester and polyurethane coatings in an unlimited choice of colours.
Chemetall, a global business unit of BASFâ€™s Coatings division, is a leading supplier of applied surface treatments and services for metal, plastic and glass substrates. The company is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and comprises of 40 companies, 21 production sites worldwide and a strategic network of technology centres. Chemetall develops and manufactures customised technologies and system solutions for surface treatment. The products protect surfaces from corrosion, facilitate forming and machining, allow surfaces to be optimally prepared for the painting process, and ensure proper coating adhesion. These specialty chemicals are used in a wide range of industries and end-markets, such as automotive, aerospace, aluminum finishing, and metal forming.
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Specially formulated for outdoor use, these coatings are highly weather and UV-resistant. Fur thermore, they boast excellent mechanical proper ties in terms of formability and durability, and the polyurethane coatings are also extremely abrasion-resistant. “In 2018, we launched MecoElox,
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which provides an exceptional anodised look combined with the benefits of coil coating,” Richard comments. “The product is extremely resistant to UV and is available as a transparent, non-coloured coating, or with a matt, semi-gloss, or high-gloss finish in unlimited shades of colour. “We also have MecoProtect, which is actually an additional layer that is applied to the other two products,” he continues. “The technology has been developed to keep aluminium surfaces clean and make them cheaper to maintain, whilst increasing their durability. Unlike classic coatings that are hydrophobic, MecoProtect becomes hydrophilic when activated by UV light. Thanks to its proper ties, even the smallest quantity of water is sufficient to wet the whole coated surface for the unattached dirt par ticles to be washed away.” Metalcolor has formulated its coatings specifically for exterior use and high UV and weather resistance. The company’s coatings are often used in roller shutters, suspended metal ceilings, gutters, cladding, and insect
Metalcolor and used to heat production, storage halls and office buildings. Currently, Metalcolor is examining the possibilities to recycle the water it uses for the cooling of the strips. “Water in Switzerland is relatively cheap, so most of the companies do not feel under pressure to recycle it, but we know that water waste affects the environment and want to limit its negative impact,” Richard says. He concludes: “Since the start of 2019, MecoElox has taken off and contributed to an excellent first half of the year. Overall, the demand for our products is very strong and we are incredibly pleased with the way the business is going. We see no reason why we should not continue to grow in the years to come.” screens. Metalcolor’s biggest market is however outside venetian blinds, with around 60 per cent of the company’s production going into this sector. “It is a market where a lot of the companies from all over Europe buy relatively small batches in various colours. Consequently, they require fast delivery times, which plays nicely to our strengths. While it is always difficult to predict the state of the market in the long-term, there is clearly a need for the construction of many new residential buildings, especially in Western Europe, so we are expecting a further increase in demand in the coming years.” From a product point of view, Richard has observed that customers are presently growing keen on using more high-durable and ultra-matt coatings. To satisfy this need, Metalcolor is investing in new equipment, as these coating types require more than one layer. He adds: “At the moment, we have two one-layer lines and we are looking to change them into multi-layer ones. Following the revamp, we will launch some new products next year, utilising our newlydeveloped capabilities.” Metalcolor is certified to ISO 50001 and ISO 14001 levels, showing its efficient energy and environmental management. Ongoing factory developments include further steps to making Metalcolor even more environmentally-friendly. The company has recently invested in a new thermal oxidiser to reduce its gas consumption by 30 per cent. Solvent fumes are extracted and incinerated during the entire coating process. This procedure enables it to reduce VOC emissions while drastically cutting its energy consumption and therefore CO2 emissions. Fur thermore, excess energy is recuperated
Metalcolor Services: Aluminium coil coating www.metalcolor.ch/en
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Existing at the forefront of castings development and innovation, Grainger & Worrall possesses the resources, experience and desire to deliver ground-breaking innovation to its rapidly evolving customer base
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Grainger & Worrall
t was in 1946 that brothers-in-law Vernon Grainger and Charles Worrall went into business together, establishing what was at the time their first Master Pattern Shop in Upper Gornal, in the West Midlands of the UK. Fast forward over 70 years, and Grainger & Worrall remains a privately-owned family company, run by Vernon Grainger’s three grandsons – James, Matthew and Edward – employs over 700 people, operates from no less than six foundries, and is now recognised as the market leader in the field of prototype and small series complex high integrity structural castings. Today, the company’s high quality structural casting, machining, engineering and rapid prototyping capabilities are relied upon globally across the automotive, motorsport, energy and wider transport sectors. “Our primary activities encompass four business units, namely our motorsport, series, prototyping and our machining businesses,” begins Phil Ward, Grainger & Worrall’s Sales and Marketing Director. “In the case of motorsport, we have a dedicated facility that concentrates on serving the higher echelons of the sector globally. Here, our focus is on pushing the envelope and achieving that last degree of dimensional accuracy in terms of materials performance, and that unit has very much become a trailblazer when it comes to alloy development and process optimisation. Then we have our series business – which predominately revolves around sandcasting – which typically serves blue chip supercar manufacturers such as McLaren, Aston Martin, Porsche, Bentley and Bugatti, and again, this unit delivers high value, high complexity and high integrity parts.” Next comes the prototyping side of the business. “Here, we are dealing with concept work for vehicles that will be coming onto the market in the next five-to-ten years, partnering with an extensive client list made up of major OEMs, Tier 1 players and design houses around the world,” Phil continues, before going on to detail how the rush to electrification has shaped the unit’s recent activities. “Instead of exclusively making things like heads and blocks, we are increasingly being asked to develop components such as electric drive unit housings, battery trays, structural solutions and other related items. “Each of these items are technically challenging in their own way, and customers are showing an ever-increasing desire for us to be able to replicate the condition of their own supply through what is called ‘make-like production’. This means that the more similar
Carter Retail Equipment Products: Refrigerated display cabinets and cold-room solutions www.cre-ltd.co.uk
our prototypes are to the production supply as it relates to things like geometry and materials characteristics, the more valuable they become to the customer as it allows them to carry out more advanced testing, faster, which aids with the speed to market of their end product.” The fourth area of the business is its machining unit, which operates through a wholly-owned, separate yet complementary, limited company called GW Machining. “For the past 12 years now, we have been building up this particular component of Grainger & Worrall, to the point where today it makes up approximately ten per cent of the entire group,” explains Plant Director of GW Machining, Mark Davis. “Aimed mostly at the pre-production and prototypes sides of the business, we take a customers’ component concept through the various stages of data analysis, design the process, physically manufacturing the casting, post-processing, validation, finishing and, if necessary, the
phases of subassembly and surface coating. In some cases, we can actually carry out all of the above without certain product data ever leaving our facilities. This can be very beneficial, and we are one of only a select few companies that has the breadth of capability in one location to achieve this. “In the last five years or so, we have also found ourselves becoming increasingly involved in the machining of third party castings on behalf of different OEM’s. We consider this to be a good display of the recognition we have within the marketplace for being a business that possesses the necessary knowledge, equipment, scale and machine casting experience to meet, and exceed, the demands placed upon us by our customers. It means that they have the confidence that they can come to GW Machining and source representative parts much quicker than if they were to have to install their own dedicated line or facility themselves.”
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The 3D Measurement Company (T3DMC) T3DMC has, over the last six years, developed a great working relationship with Grainger & Worrall providing both scanning services and supply of the latest Metronor TrackScan 3D optical laser scanner. T3DMC’s highly skilled engineers have access to the latest range of 3D scanning equipment to meet customers’ exacting requirements, while its knowledge of industry recognised metrology standards, and keeping up to date with the latest quality and inspection practices, keeps T3DMC at the forefront of 3D scanning technology and reverse engineering. T3DMC’s ISO9001 accredited processes meet and exceed customer defined standards so that it can effectively support its clients’ expectations.
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Grainger & Worrall clearly possesses an attitude that is open to innovation and devising new solutions, and that has no doubt helped it to remain at the forefront of its field. To facilitate its customers desire for next generation solutions, the company has invested heavily in itself. In fact, when it comes to its machining base alone, its purpose-built, 3000 square metre, temperature controlled
facility enjoyed some £5 million worth of investment when it was first opened almost three years ago. “To support our manufacturing and machining capabilities, we have extensive design and tool manufacturing, and simulation capabilities up front,” Mark reveals. “Group wide, we boast three state-of-the-art CT scanners, the most recent of which is a matter
Grainger & Worrall
of weeks old, and three optical validation systems, giving us some of the most extensive validation kit of any private company active today in the UK. Further to this, we possess world class x-ray facilities and we are currently in the midst of some really exciting developments in the field of sand printing.” The investment made by Grainger & Worrall did not end once its move to its machining facility was complete, however, with a further £2 million having been spent on hardware in the time since. “Since said move, we have added lots of additional equipment, including several new multi-axis units to increase our machined parts capacity, a number of super
high accuracy CMM’s, additional optical scanning capabilities and a high-end wash facility for ‘make-like’ production cleanliness,” Mark adds. The last three-to-four years have been a particularly buoyant period for Grainger & Worrall, and, as Phil goes on to tell us, the
investment it has made in that time has placed it in good stead for the changes in the market that are currently occurring. “With the shift away from the internal combustion engine to alternative propulsion systems, our experience with complex castings has allowed us to transition relatively seamlessly into the supply of their associated parts,” he points out. “There is definitely a race towards electrification technology taking place, and we find ourselves in a good position of being able to deliver new components and products to our OEM and Tier 1 supplier customers. “That is not to say, of course, that we are not still supporting our traditional markets with the same enthusiasm as before. We have by no means forgotten how to produce the very highest level of cylinder heads and blocks for racing or niche series production, for example, but we have to acknowledge that there is a big shift ongoing in our industry, and we are embracing this fully. Needless to say, there are exciting times ahead for Grainger & Worrall!”
Grainger & Worrall Products: Total casting solutions www.gwcast.com
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forward Clamason Industries posted a record turnover in 2018, as the company continues to deftly adapt to changing market requirements and capitalises on the growth of its Slovak facility
he pace at which the automotive industry is moving towards an intensified production of hybrid and electric vehicles, has inevitably made the standards the supply chain needs to meet significantly higher. “Unless you are in a good position to work to these standards,” Ian Davies, European Sales Director at Clamason Industries (Clamason), maintains, “you will be left behind.” As one of Europe’s most distinguished manufacturers of precision metal pressings, Clamason has not only kept a close eye on these processes, but has actively been responding to them. “To give you an example, in the last couple of years, we have invested
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in a new 300-tonne stamping press for our UK facility in Kingswinford, which has allowed us to improve our par ts per hour rate. Within the next year, we are looking to equip our Slovak facility with the same machine,” Ian comments. Revealing that a lot of the business Clamason is winning at the moment, is for par ts for hybrid and electric vehicles, he points out the higher cleaning standards the company has to adhere to. “This is becoming more and more critical in the automotive industry. Consequently, we are looking at the possibility of extending our capabilities surrounding cleaning of components in the immediate future.”
While the automotive industry’s requirements remain central in Clamason’s future considerations, the manufacturer is also keen on upholding its strong position in the industrial and medical markets. Ian elaborates: “We are cer tainly seeing some growth there and what would be notable to mention is that some of the legislation, particularly in the industrial sector, is changing. This means that people need to buy slightly different products, which is another new situation we need to adapt to. “I also think that we have been remarkably successful in helping customers to save money through the value engineering we offer. This per tains to redesigning aluminium
Clamason Industries castings, for example, as we have redesigned a lot of these to stamp parts. The bottom line is that it is not always about employing a new technology, sometimes it is enough to apply a different way of thinking and be clever with the design,” he analyses. Even though it is nothing new in the world of manufacturing, Ian also makes mention of the supply chain consolidations certain Clamason customers are striving for. “This is impor tant, because some of the activities under taken by a couple of quite large American-owned customers of ours have fed our Slovak facility. They have recently transferred some business to us in the region and this is one of the many examples showing that much of our recent growth has been driven from Eastern Europe.” He details: “Last year, we reached the £30 million turnover mark for the first time in our history. Fur thermore, our sales have grown by more than 60 per cent over the last three years. These figures reflect the group’s overall performance, but we are particularly impressed with the results our business in Slovakia is yielding. Part of the reason for this growth is that a lot of German companies have star ted to move into that area – not just Slovakia, but Eastern Europe, as a whole – and they want to work with local suppliers. Actually, it is also true that even if German companies do not physically relocate, they are still quite keen to engage with Eastern European suppliers.” Given the large number of contracts Clamason’s Slovak business keeps winning, the company has found it apposite to double the size of its facility in the city of Nitra. “We originally moved to that site in 2010 and over the years, we would extend multiple times within the building. However, we recently reached a point where we simply needed additional floor space, so we made a move to acquire the building next door and effectively double our operational space. As it stands, it is already 75 per cent full,” Ian notes. Staying apace with the requirements of modern world, earlier this year, Clamason decided to make a concerted effort in bolstering its online image. In March, the company changed its logo and launched a brand-new website, and it is currently testing various digital marketing tactics to try and raise brand awareness among the online community. “We have only been doing proper SEO for about three months now, so our number one task is to familiarise ourselves with different digital marketing practices and see how these
can work for us. We are due to review our activity in September and only after that will we be able to set up a more sophisticated digital marketing strategy. It has been a very positive sign that since the release of the new website, we have received more enquiries than ever through our ‘Contact Us’ page, and this fills us with optimism that our venture will meet with success,” Ian declares. “In parallel,” he concludes, “we will be working hard over the next year to secure our future by winning new projects in the three key markets we are targeting – automotive, industrial, and medical. By doing this, we will have a clear road ahead of us to reach a turnover of between £40 million and £50 million in the next five years.”
Clamason Industries Products: Precision metal pressings www.clamason.com
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Priding itself on being a responsible, professional and compliant manufacturer, Torbay Pharmaceuticals plays an integral role in supplying injectable products to the NHS, and has a bright future ahead in the world of international contract manufacturing
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lmost 18 months have passed since the activities of Torbay Pharmaceuticals were first documented within the pages of Manufacturing Today Europe. As reported previously, this unique manufacturer of pharmaceutical injectable products not only forms a critical part of the supply chain of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, but is also fast carving out a space for itself within the commercial and private sectors. Speaking with Leon Rudd, the company’s Commercial and Strategy Director, he begins by detailing how the last year has
seen it continuing with the pace of change, both internally and in the market, that has influenced its recent success. “Key to what we have been doing in the period of time since we last spoke has been the ongoing development of our contract manufacturing base, both in terms of adding new customers that can bring us larger oppor tunities, transferring in six new products, which puts us on the path to adding an additional 60-70 per cent to our total output,” he says. From a product development perspective, Torbay Pharmaceuticals has also spent
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Smurfit Kappa Smurfit Kappa has been proud to partner Torbay Pharmaceuticals in its everexpanding mission to provide critical products to the healthcare industry. Our journey together has seen a collaboration that has developed a range of high-quality, bespoke packaging products - unique to Torbay Pharmaceuticals’ supply chain. Working in partnership together through gaining an understanding of Torbay Pharmaceuticals’ complex global supply chain needs has ensured that the packaging we have developed jointly has been “right first time”, whilst also being fully recyclable and produced from sustainable sources.
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invaluable time reviewing its product base to see how it can advance its offering, create added value, and ultimately better suppor t its customers. An example that Leon offers us involves one of the company’s most impor tant products, Metaraminol, for the treatment of acute hypotension due to loss of vasoconstrictor tone as may occur during
spinal anesthesia. “We are the UK market leader in the supply of Metaraminol, and have recently licensed and introduced to market a ‘ready-to-use’ version of this product, which delivers safety benefits for our customers and the patient,” Leon explains. In this instance, the term ‘ready-to-use’ relates to the fact that, as opposed to having
to dilute a concentrated form of the product in theatre, Torbay Pharmaceutical’s new variation of Metaraminol can be drawn up directly from an ampoule and used. “This has impor tant implications in terms of things like increased patient safety, minimising dilution errors, and making the product more effective for use in clinical settings,” Leon enthuses. “This represents a big step forward and is one of a very select few ‘ready-to-use’ products to have been introduced into the theatre environment in quite some time. “Outside of this, we are busy being engaged with the licensing of several other products, and internally we are continuing
to usher in a comprehensive cultural change and organisational development programme, representing a significant investment in our teams and the individuals within them.”
On a domestic level, Torbay Pharmaceuticals has also found itself working closely with the NHS’ Commercial Medicines Unit – the body that drives tendering activity for generic medicines in the UK – as it helps to plug any shor tages in key products. Meanwhile, the company has also shifted some of its focus to the growth potential that exists in different expor t markets around the world. “We welcomed a new export manager into the business earlier in 2019, and he is fast becoming a fantastic asset to us,” Leon states. “While we have long been a UKcentric business, we see international growth as being hugely impor tant in achieving our future goals.” Looking ahead to where the company wants to be in the years to come, Leon hopes to see Torbay Pharmaceuticals as the largest global NHS owned, generic contract manufacturer and licence holder. “Over time, we will be bringing a wider range of new products to market,” he enthuses, before finishing on an equally as impor tant point. “At the same time, it is good to remember that as a par t of the NHS there is an inbuilt expectation that we will continue to play a vital role in suppor ting both it and the wider UK market. The great thing is that, with our profits and returns going back into the NHS, as we become more successful as a company, the NHS places itself in a more sustainable position for the future.”
Torbay Pharmaceuticals Products: Manufacturer of UK-licensed sterile injectable, unlicensed essential pharmaceutical products, and a range of CE-marked devices www.torbaypharmaceuticals.nhs.uk
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Mail Solutions Group invests heavily in expanding its manufacturing capabilities and regularly broadens its product range to offer tailored solutions to its customers
riginally formed in March 2000, following the merger of Britannia Envelopes and MechMail Envelopes (both owned by South Staffordshire Water), the Mail Solutions Group has evolved into one of the most enterprising manufacturers of envelopes and print in the UK. In 2004, the Mail Solutions business was purchased via a management buy-out (MBO) from owner Homeserve, which had recently demerged from South Staffordshire Group. Since the MBO, Mail Solutions has
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performed multiple acquisitions and in November 2017, it completed the transition to an employee-owned company. Today, the company operates from five sites – Telford, Blackburn, Llangollen, Romford, and Corby; employs over 200 staff; and generates an annual turnover of more than £25 million. Group Sales Director, Karl Lee, discusses the main areas of operation for the company, the reasons for its success, and its most recent developments and future aspirations. “When we were still part of the South Staffordshire Group, our core solutions were principally
transactional mailing envelopes, base stationery, and tickets. This helped us build a solid platform for the business, but by 2006, we had recognised that we had to evolve, if we wanted to continue with our growth aspirations. After a period of strategic acquisitions and technological investments, we are now offering a broader choice of solutions, including bespoke envelopes, direct mail, leaflets, flyers, prepaid envelopes, seed packets, vouchers, and paper straws.” Since day one of its establishment, it has been Mail Solutions’ commitment to delivering
Mail Solutions Group quality, service, and value to its clients, which has driven the company forward. As a result, the manufacturer has built a diverse client base from many and various sectors such as the public sector, charities, utilities, telecoms, financial, insurance, marketing and direct mail. With over 30 envelope machines and printing presses across its five facilities, Mail Solutions has a production capacity of over three billion printed items per year. The company’s recent development of four-colour litho-reel envelope conversion and bespoke envelope manufacture has enabled it to offer more creative and cost-effective solutions that have piqued the interest of charities, marketing, and direct mail organisations. Karl comments: “Demand for these types of products has been growing for a while and it is an area that will offer many opportunities if the current market trend continues. In addition, we have recently invested in additional reel-fed folding equipment to improve the efficiency and output of our printing presses, when it comes to our leaflet offering. Previously, when producing sheeted items, we had to run the printing press at lower speed, so they could be sheeted straight off in readiness for folding. With the new kit, we can run the printing press at full speed and output onto reels, which is then transferred to the folding equipment and folded separately. “Another notable investment as of late, has been the large format reel-fed production line to meet the increasing demand for large format envelopes,” Karl continues. “It will give us a significant uplift in output, productivity, and flexibility; and, thanks to this enhanced capacity, we will be looking to maximise the opportunity to target growth from supporting our existing clients and diversify into new markets.” Arguably one of the most exciting developments at Mail Solutions in recent times has been the creation of a plastic alternatives division called ‘Intrinsic Paper Products’. The unit will focus on finding everyday solutions to negate the need for single-use plastics and it launched its first project a few months ago, following the establishment of a new paper straw manufacturing facility in Telford. “Finalised in June this year, the facility has given us the ability to print, slit, manufacture and wrap paper drinking straws,” Karl reveals. “We are now producing ‘next generation’ paper straws that last longer than many other products available in the market, plus they are manufactured using special food-safe materials. As new legislation on single-use plastics is bound to come into effect next year,
we expect it to put us in a good position to achieve steady growth in this field throughout 2020 and beyond.” He goes on to explain where the inspiration to enter the paper straw market has come from. “We were strongly influenced by BBC’s ‘Blue Planet II’ documentary, which was broadcast in 2018. To see the damaging impact that plastic waste is having on our oceans and wildlife was truly heart-breaking, so we decided that our long-standing experience in the paper industry could help in making an environmental difference.” The coming months promise to be a busy period for Mail Solutions. The introduction of Royal Mail’s new Partially Addressed product has led to an increase in cold mail volumes, which is a positive sign for the company.
Meanwhile, Mail Solutions has also brought new products into its range, aiming to encourage more organic growth. “Our print site has diversified into producing non-personalised inserts and leaflets, which has been really refreshing for the business, as we have had some really interesting campaigns from our clients. There has also been a massive move away from plastics from the publishing sector. That has led to a spike in envelope requirements, so much so we have had to extend our capacity to keep up with the demand. Going forward, we feel that it is important for our business to continue to innovate and develop new products, so we can support our customers in the most efficient way possible in an ever-changing market,” Karl concludes.
Mail Solutions Group Products: Print and envelope solutions www.mailsolutions.com
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Randek leads the way in the development of ingenious automatic solutions for prefab home manufacturers, constantly introducing improvements to its systems to address emergent customer demands
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whole lot of ‘firsts’ are associated with Randek, hence the reputation held by the manufacturer of high-performance machines and systems for the prefabricated house manufacturing industry as the most innovative in its sphere. Since the 1960s, the forwardthinking Swedish company’s focus has fallen entirely on the delivery of automation equipment, examples of which represent some of the fundamental systems used to this day by the prefab home industry. “Things like the butterfly table or the nailing bridge are Randek innovations that
have been widespread for many decades now,” claims the company’s Chairman, Johan Larsholm. “Over time, we have started to automate more and more, and one of the remarkable milestones we have reached, was the delivery of the very first mass production line to the US – the Auto Wall system, which still has the highest capacity in the market many years after it was released. “Another historically significant development that we have introduced, was the first-ever CAD/CAM wall production line back in the 1980s. It was key for us to find a way to convert CAD data to production
data, in order to manufacture a variety of wall elements more quickly and efficiently, and we are proud that the line is still up and running at the factory of one of our main customers, Myresjöhus,” Johan discusses. Randek has also made notable strides in the realm of roof trusses. The company delivered the first automatic truss production line, having recently released its AutoEye solution, which enables a photo of the truss to be taken and then compared to a CADgenerated theoretical model. “The system can pick, place, position, and press the nail plates to the roof truss automatically, which means that these processes need no longer be manually done. This, in turn, improves the accuracy and the speed of the plating process immensely,” Johan explains. “As of late, we have also embraced the opportunity to introduce robotics to our offering, and the ZeroLabor robotic system is a fantastic addition to our product range,”
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LAP GmbH Laser Applikationen LAP is one of the world’s leading suppliers of systems that increase quality and efficiency through laser projection, laser measurement, and other processes. Laser projection systems from LAP support wood working companies worldwide to improve their production of nailed truss. Our laser systems accelerate positioning tasks by precisely displaying positions of nail plates and roof elements. You may save time by fast and accurate set-ups at the jig tables. LAP’s laser projection systems can be fully integrated into RANDEK’s AutoEyeTruss System. We look forward to further cooperation with RANDEK and congratulate them on their continued success!
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he continues. “The customers are increasingly interested in automation and ZeroLabor, as a fully automatic solution, has a real appeal for them. Its flexibility allows it to be integrated into existing production lines or work as a standalone unit and it can handle the production of walls, floors, and roofs. In fact, I believe this is the only robotic wall production line available in the market at the moment.” In recognition of the growing demand for robotic solutions, Randek has initiated a series of development projects that will enable the utilisation of robots in some of the more traditional systems created by the company. “A recent novelty is the introduction of a third
robot to ZeroLabor to increase the capacity of the product and give customers more options when choosing the level of capacity that they need,” Johan says. “We have also developed an add-on function to the ZeroLabor system where the robots also cut, place and fasten laths automatically. These are important pieces that create a ventilated cavity between the wooden cladding and the external sheet. All in all, we are constantly trying to equip our existing systems with useful new features and strongly invest in this kind of project.” When asked about the secret behind the efficiency of Randek’s operations, Johan maintains that the key is to set up the right
It was also astonishing to discover how many of the most advanced automation systems utilised by the prefab home industry have been borne out of the company’s creative genius and dexterous deployment of technology
capabilities within the company and have them interact as smoothly as possible. “For example, we have an in-house mechanical design team, as well as a dedicated software team to develop the software code to the machines and the robots. Furthermore, the resources at our disposal also include a CDT-file system to translate production data, and a 3D model converter software. “The overarching element, however, is the skilful staff that can build these mechanical systems and that possess the required knowhow about commissioning, setting up the factories, and getting them up and running through connecting all the data. In many instances, we start from scratch and end up delivering a holistic solution, and for us to be able to do that, we need all the preconditions to be fulfilled,” Johan adds. “Taking into account the ongoing trends in customer preferences, we feel that we are well-positioned to meet their needs,” he turns his attention to what the future may hold in store for the company. “The prefabricated
home manufacturing sector is very buoyant and as demands for prefabrication grows, so does demand for automation equipment. For example, Australia’s biggest house dealer is currently setting up the biggest house factory in the world and we are supplying them with two AutoEye systems and four Auto Wall lines. “At the same time, it is not just big factories and big wall production lines that are required from clients. A lot of customers want smaller and more compact lines and we have recently delivered a successful project in North America where we installed two ZeroLabor units with just one robotic cell and one framing station. This trend is also the cue for us that we can more actively target smaller and mid-sized companies who may not have the space to accommodate extremely long production lines,” Johan observes. He has also noticed that customers are often keen on having the opportunity to upgrade their Randek equipment later on, once they have purchased one or more
pieces at first. “Many people will share with us that, for example, they do not insulate a wall in-house, but are planning to start doing so at some point in the future, so they are interested in the possibility of slightly reconfiguring their production lines, and this is just what we offer. They do not have to invest in entirely new equipment, but only add one or two more machines to grow the capability they need, and this proposition on our part is another good example of the level of flexibility we display in serving our customers.” From speaking to Johan, it became crystal clear that innovation is a way of life for Randek. It was also astonishing to discover how many of the most advanced automation systems utilised by the prefab home industry have been borne out of the company’s creative genius and dexterous deployment of technology. With market conditions being favourable and its desire to play around with its systems insatiable, exciting times are ahead for the Swedish manufacturer.
Randek AB Products: Automation equipment for the prefabrication home market http://randek.com/en/
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Wall to wall
Dedicated to design excellence and technological innovation, Muraspec takes immense pride in manufacturing wallcoverings in literally thousands of different designs, colours and styles
n international leader in the commercial and bespoke wallcoverings industry, Muraspec Wallcoverings (Muraspec) traces its lineage back to the 1850’s. Since then, the company has developed a global reputation for outstanding product quality, impressive design, and exceptional customer service and technical support. From its manufacturing facility in Kent, UK, Muraspec creates a wide
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selection of eclectic, high quality, fire and IMO rated wallcovering designs, which its sales team and global network of distribution partners supply to a client base that encompasses the hospitality, healthcare, retail, commercial office, cruise ship and residential sectors. While its history dates back decades, a key recent turning point for the company occurred in 2012, when it was sold by a US-
based company into private ownership within the UK. The acquisition involved the entire Muraspec business, including all of its brands, its Kent plant, a design and distribution centre in Hemel Hempstead, and sales offices in Paris, Warsaw and Dubai. “Today, Muraspec is once again a privately owned British company, and one that possesses all the advantages that comes with this designation,” begins the company’s Sales Director, Simon Miller. “With our broad customer base, and the fact that we remain one of only two-tothree manufacturers in the UK capable of delivering contract specification wallcoverings that are fire and IMO rated, we have been best placed to ride any changes or challenges in the marketplace.” For Muraspec, recent success and growth has originated from several avenues, not least of all being the steady embrace of digital technology and techniques when it comes to printing wallcoverings, and geographically expansion into rapidly growing markets such as the United States, the Middle East and the Far East. “Digital services are in increasingly high demand today, primarily as they allow us to print bespoke images onto multiple bases - though the majority tend to utilise fabric backed vinyl – which has opened up a whole
Muraspec world of design possibilities,” Simon continues. Digital printing technology means that Muraspec has been able to create all manner of unique designs for its customers, from octopuses adorning ceilings and waves seemingly crashing into life on a restaurant’s walls, to local landmarks or historical photographs decorating hotel foyers. “The results are amazing, and the possibility to use all manner of different substrates means that we can now create some remarkable visual effects,” Simon enthuses. “The issue we have, however, is that there are still so many customers that are unaware that they can access such services and solutions. One of the things we have done to try and address this is produce a book entitled Wallmotion, which is a showcase of some of the mesmeric designs that we are capable of delivering, and we hope that this will be a means of stimulating the minds of our customers to come up with ideas of how best to capitalise on Muraspec’s ability to offer endless design possibilities.” While digital techniques have indeed created a massive sea change in what is possible for Muraspec to design, the added bonus is that their associated technologies are effectively add-ons to existing manufacturing processes, giving a whole new complexion to the work that the company carries out. As Simon goes on to stress, however, this does not mean that the company hasn’t been prepared to embrace advances in technology, quite the opposite. “Being able to adopt and profit from innovative developments is massively important, but what we have also found is that there is a huge amount to be gained from mixing the best of what is new with that which is tried and tested, and yet to be beaten. “This is all the more important when you consider the fact that digital techniques are still in the process of evolving themselves. As a result, we have found it imperative to combine the considerable historical knowledge that we have, as well as the best existing production techniques, with the newest digital processes, which have so much scope left to explore, which really excites us.” As noted above, Muraspec is also embarking on a strategy to achieve growth in several of the world’s most lucrative regions, which Simon goes on to detail. “In America, their economy is doing very well indeed at the moment, and with the demand for wallcovering increasing, we have every intention on capitalising upon this. In the meantime, both the Middle East and Far East are modernising at a significant rate, and when
this happens markets tend to turn to tried and tested businesses and models to meet their needs, and there is arguably no other player around with more experience or with a better track record that Muraspec! “The secret to capitalising upon this demand, however, is ensuring that we remain on the cutting edge of the industry. This means continuing to progress things like digital techniques, factory processes, and equipment, while also identifying new and innovative products to meet the demands of each market. The fact is that each market is very different and requires a different offer, so our agility and nimbleness as a business will be paramount if we are to stay at the top of our game.” As Simon accurately says, 2019 has been
a unique year to date, with numerous geopolitical situations resulting in some market instability. Nevertheless, he believes that with some much-needed certainty from the powers that be, Muraspec will be able to push on to a new level. “Here in the UK, when it comes to Brexit, what we want is certainty, because whichever side of the coin things fall on we believe there will be a whole raft of opportunities for us,” he declares. “As a UK manufacturer, we are perfectly poised to serve the needs of customers at home, and with our international presence and experience we are able to respond when international markets open up. So, whatever the future holds, we are confident that there will always be opportunities for an agile, adaptable, innovative business such as Muraspec!”
Muraspec Products: Commercial and bespoke wallcoverings www.muraspec.com
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#1 Lifecycle cost Bearward Engineering deploys its sectional, modular-based manufacturing system to increase its productivity and the quality of its industrial cooling systems
s Matthew Eggleton, Senior Sales Manager UK at Bearward Engineering, aptly remarks, 12 months go by very quickly, making it hard to keep track of all the exciting developments that have been happening at the company. It was almost exactly a year ago when one of the world’s largest producers of industrial cooling systems and radiators last featured in our magazine. In the time since, it has explored new manufacturing routes, diversified its offering, and continued to grow overseas. “From a manufacturing standpoint, we’ve now released enhanced aluminium packages which drive down material costs. We have
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developed this for use on our high horsepower cooling systems that make use of our innovative and unique sectional, modular-based solutions. The latter allows for low-cost serviceability for radiators, regardless of their size or location, which helps to maintain the cooling system to an as-new condition, thus improving cooling performance and maintaining engine performance for life,” Matthew explains. Owing to the flexibility of the system, Bearward Engineering is looking to bring it into larger engines. The sectional core allows large radiators to be built using smaller modules that are fitted into steel frames with a variety of finishes. Matthew adds: “The modular system that we have, has a floating core design, which
allows thermal expansion and serviceability in the aftermarket in the future. The cores can be serviced in situ without heavy lifting equipment. We have seen multiple benefits from revolutionising our manufacturing process, as we are now able to build low-volume cooling systems using high-volume manufacturing techniques.” Part of the reason for the company’s intensified efforts to optimise its manufacturing process, can be associated with the increased competition Bearward Engineering is facing at the moment. Matthew comments: “This competition comes mainly from the Far East. More and more manufacturers have started developing their own systems and bringing
Bearward Engineering them to Europe, especially in the last five years. This is a trend that is forcing us to be more resourceful in our manufacturing and bring our costs down, but we also treat it as an opportunity that enables us to take new paths and diversify our offering.” To affirm this point, Matthew reveals that Bearward Engineering has been investing in robotic welding cells for heavy fabrication works. “We need these to use them on the cooling systems for drive systems and chassis, to add value to our scope to customer. In fact, quite often, we collaborate with other companies within Wabtec – the group we are part of – to serve our customers as one entity that provides multiple components and not just cooling systems.” Being part of Wabtec’s global network has been instrumental in Bearward Engineering’s recent international growth, too. With business in 50-plus countries, Wabtec’s experience is being drawn on by the cooling systems manufacturer in its overseas exploits, with Bearward Engineering currently pressing in the US, Chinese, and Indian markets, in particular. “We supply cooling systems to some of the largest diesel generator manufacturers such as Cummins, Kohler, CAT and MTU and, as these companies have established a presence all over the world, it is just natural for us to follow them, if we are to stay competitive,” Matthew claims. “Our approach is to manufacture key components in the UK and then ship them globally for assembly. We have got quite ambitious plans regarding our expansion in India and China for the next year. It is important for us to complete the technical signoffs for the high horsepower systems and introduce them into these markets. The plan is to be fully established in these regions within the next 12 months, which will allow us to think about further growth opportunities,” he shares. The last few months have also seen Bearward Engineering direct its attention to the field of aftermarket support. “When you supply to OEMs as we do, it is important to acknowledge the level of support our OEM distributors and end users require for aftermarket components as well as technical support. This also opens up additional sales revenue which operates at a different level to OEM work.” Further diversifying its activities, Bearward Engineering is now trying to capitalise on the increased growth in demand it is experiencing from the maritime, renewables, and offshore support markets. Matthew discusses: “What is more characteristic about our work in the marine industry, for example, is that we
develop coatings for our cores, which enables us to provide cooling systems in coastal and offshore environments, ensuring that they have a long life. Operating in these sectors does not necessarily mean that we need to meet more unusual requirements, but we certainly do a lot of testing calibrated to ASTM B117, which is the most widely adopted standard for salt spray testing.” Backed by a well-established global corporation and constantly pursuing product developments and expansion in new markets, Bearward Engineering has laid solid foundations for its future growth. With the company continuing to regularly invest in strengthening its capabilities, there is little doubt that its efforts will continue to meet with success in the years to come.
Bearward Engineering Products: Industrial cooling systems www.wabtec.com/business-units/ bearward-engineering
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Working with customers throughout the world and across more than 40 different industries, Ecolab’s products, services and expertise helps to ensure operational efficiency, safety and sustainability
ith a 95-plus year history of innovation, more than 10,000 patents, and nearly three million customer locations across 170 countries under its belt, Ecolab has more than solidified its status of being the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technology and services. Around the world, businesses in the foodservice, food processing, hospitality, healthcare, industrial, and oil and gas markets today use Ecolab products to keep their work places clean and safe, operate efficiently and achieve their sustainability goals. Meanwhile, the company’s 49,000 associates – including 27,000 service professionals and 1600 R&D scientists –
help to deliver comprehensive on-site service to maintain clean environments, promote safe food, optimise water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies. Jerome Charton is Ecolab’s executive vice president and president of the Europe region, and is responsible for the broad scope of the company’s business across the continent. In the ten-plus years that he has been with Ecolab, Jerome has also led its Paper division – which operates now under the Nalco Water name – and its Food & Beverage business in Europe, giving him an excellent understanding of what makes the company tick. “Ecolab is very much a value driven entity, and making things safer and healthier for our customers is what motivates us day in and day out,” he states. “Each division of the company is specifically organised around its customers, adding value wherever possible through the supply of products, services and expertise specific to a particular industry sector. “In my time with Ecolab, I have witnessed first-hand how it is a company that thrives on its ability to grow, whether that be through
Jerome Charton Executive Vice President and President, Europe
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organic growth or through targeted acquisitions, and embraces constant evolutionary change. The latter is facilitated, in part, through a commitment to innovation, which has seen us launch numerous new products and services that have not only helped our customers, but helped Ecolab to reinvent itself.” Looking over Ecolab’s recently released 2018 corporate sustainability report – titled Accelerating Meaningful Change – one can see the positive effects the company is having. In 2018 alone, it helped its customers conserve more than 188 billion gallons of water – placing it ahead of its target of saving 300 billion gallons by 2030 – save 19 trillion British thermal units of energy, avoid 2.4 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, and eliminate 54 million pounds of waste. “One of the biggest reasons behind the recent success of the company has been its ruthless focus on its customers and their needs,” Jerome continues. “Our own ability to innovate, and to be nimble and agile has meant that Ecolab has been best equipped to anticipate said customer’s requirements and develop new technologies to manage these. For example, we recognised early the fact that water usage and
scarcity would become a global challenge to respond to, and so we invested accordingly to transform ourselves into a global leader in water management. We have since taken the same approach when it comes to the other ‘megatrends’ of today, specifically food scarcity and the need for hospitals to treat an increasingly aging population.” Through its Nalco Water subsidiary, Ecolab recognises that water is a critical component of its customers’ business, and it has used its expertise and innovative solutions to help them to manage their water usage. An example of such innovation can be seen in its online tool, the Ecolab Smart Water Navigator. “This free online platform allows companies to better understand how they are using water footprint, find tools and actions that they can implement and access
by 1.7 million tonnes, resulting in savings of approximately €6 million. This example reinforces our belief that, fundamentally, the protection of the environment and optimisation of resources go hand-in-hand with economic growth. It is that balance of encouraging reduced consumption of limited resources while helping industries to grow that we try to achieve with every one of our customers.” Ecolab, as Jerome goes on to reveal, is also a company that does its best to practice what it preaches. “Internally, we have instigated programmes of our own to become more efficient as a business, while also keeping one eye focused on the future success of Ecolab. We have our own sustainability targets that we are taking great strides towards, including reducing our own water usage by 45 per cent in Europe by 2020, saving 60,000 tonnes of CO2 per year on the continent, and utilising renewable energy across Carter Retail Equipment our own facilities. “We also constantly make efforts to develop Products: Refrigerated display cabinets our working culture, all the while maintaining and cold-room solutions those core values of customer focus, creativity and flexibility, through a programme called www.cre-ltd.co.uk ‘Faster, Smarter, Better’. The aim of this is to simplify what we do as a business by removing unnecessary processes and pushing those processes and ways of operating that best suit our customer’s needs.” With its excellent levels of staff retention, Ecolab benefits from the experience of its a practical roadmap for sustainable water workforce, but this also means that it needs management,” Jerome explains. to appropriately lay the groundwork for the There are also lots of examples of tangible, next generation to come through the business, field-based work that Ecolab has completed both on the manufacturing and field-based with customers around the world to address sides. “We have several successful programmes the issues surrounding water use. “In Spain, for that we use to recruit and retain new talent,” instance, we have worked with a large chemical Jerome says. “In addition to partnering with customer based close to the Ebro River which, bodies such as major universities throughout due to the nature of its operations, consumed Europe, we also support employee networks a lot of water,” Jerome adds. “By working with that help to foster development. These include this company and encouraging it to embrace the CONNECT, which brings together young reuse of waste water in its process, we were able professionals across business units through to reduce its total water needs by some 40 per networking and events, and the E3 resource cent, and also to make more water available to group that works to empower and engage growing municipalities along the river. female employees. These are just some of “Meanwhile, in the Nordics, we have been examples of the effort being made to ensure working with a major dairy industry player that the next generation of Ecolab employees to reduce not only its water use by up to have the best chance to grow and to promote 700,000 cubic metres, but also its total wastage the values that Ecolab holds dear.”
Ecolab Services: Global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies www.ecolab.com
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improvement A dedicated presswork manufacturer and supplier with over 70 years of experience, A. E. Oscroft & Sons Ltd has been restructuring its operations in order to be ready for the next phase of growth
ith heritage dating back to 1947, much of A.E. Oscroft & Sons Ltd’s (AEO) early development is owed to the Midlands’ emerging post-war motor industry and its local demand for quality metal pressings. Through a constant process of evolution and investment, today AEO offers a complete service from laser cut prototypes to full production, and combines technology with quality, using its expertise to develop customers’ designs into durable and adaptable products. Looking in more detail at the services provided by this ISO 9001, ISO 14001, IATF
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16949 and UKAS Management System certified business, and its know-how in prototyping speaks for itself. AEO’s years of working in component development has given it great insight into designing prototypes with a view to volume production. It is able to provide customers with a full consultative service aimed at assisting them with the design and development of prototypes, ultimately ensuring a quality component or assembly that is fit for purpose and economical to manufacture. Moving onto presswork, AEO has the experience and flexibility to meet the most challenging of projects, and is able to provide
A. E. Oscroft & Sons
Carter Retail Equipment Products: Refrigerated display cabinets and cold-room solutions
We’re aiming for a turnover of £15m by 2021 through developing new markets, sectors and products, and we have started looking at acquisitions to broaden our capabilities. We are looking forward to an exciting future
what it describes as a ‘total’ service. Its range of modern presses (latest addition being an Aida 630T Servo press), is ideally suited for the manufacture of high-quality, smallto-medium components, and in addition, the flexible utilisation of plant allows larger projects to be accommodated when required. AEO is able to supply progression, welded and drawn pressings, and additional operations such as automated welding, precision machining processes, surface preparation and plating & coating. It encourages close working partnerships throughout every project, however large or small, to ensure clients are always involved in the decision-making process, and is happy to advise on any production or component problem. Having referred to its welding capabilities, it is worth expanding on the range of technological expertise available at AEO. Its workshop is equipped with fully automated MIG, Robot MIG & TIG, Projection, Spot,
Rotary Welding systems and Spin Riveters to provide a flexible range of assembly options, and the team is comprised of highly skilled welders who are experienced in programming and machine maintenance. AEO’s Tooling capability has been developed following the successful re-siting of the business, and during this change a fully operational tool room was integrated into the fabric of the factory. Investments in a new Sodick CNC wire cut EDM and two Haas Vertical machining centres have enhanced the tool room’s capabilities. These are not the only investments, and Chris Oscroft, Managing Director, also highlighted several other significant purchases that are assisting AEO on its path of continuous improvement: “We have recently invested in 3D scanning and 3D printing to enable a more efficient product development cycle,” he explained. “We have built our own CRM system to assist with
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Honda Trading Europe The Honda name has been synonymous with the art of mass production for decades and no-one understands better the need for fast, efficient supply chain management. As a member of the Honda family, Honda Trading Europe has been satisfying the needs of car production facilities around the world for over 30 years. With the impending closure of our facility in Swindon, we can now offer this same expertise to all manufacturers in the automotive sector, and beyond. Ask us now about SOURCE STORE SUPPLY - an “all in one” supply chain package that adds value not cost.
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the integration of software and will continue to cascade this APP builder throughout the organisation to improve communication and process adherence. “We are also making internal changes to reposition ourselves within our own supply chain - we are currently looking at a £250,000
investment into new machinery, which will move the company forward technologically and streamline manufacturing processes to improve profitability and growth.” The overall strategy that AEO has adopted has resulted in a period of fast growth, and as Chris noted, this caused the need for some
A. E. Oscroft & Sons
other changes. “Since we last appeared in MTE around 12 months ago, we have spent some time restructuring the organisation ready for our next growth spurt. As a result of our activities, we have introduced a new Operations, Sales and Commercial team and engaged with a marketing company to increase our network and to further promote the business. We are now in the process of updating our website and working with our new marketing and NPI team to enhance our presence further.” This process of reorganisation had to occur concurrently with a raft of new product development projects, and as Chris identified, these are spread across a range of sectors and applications. He gave more details to illustrate the accomplishments of AEO: “We have designed, developed and tested Weller 20” steel wheels for the VW camper, where we discovered a gap in the market for wheels that are load rated for these vehicles. “We have also designed and successfully FEA tested two new innovative products for the AA that we are currently building prototypes for physical feasibility review. We’ve worked on M800 stampings and assemblies, as well as a mini project for an in source F5XX assembly bracket with full Poka Yoke systems. We’ve helped develop battery components on electrification work for automotive battery modules, and in the rail
market we have re-developed a type of tip up seat for rail carriages.” This last project is a new market for AEO, and Chris also noted that the company has been awarded business for a major OEM in a niche vehicle sector. “We see this sector as a major opportunity for forward growth,” he confirmed. “We are also working on EV with Williams/JLR, and various projects with Delta Motorsport.” Exciting times are evidently afoot at AEO, and to maintain the momentum, it has recently entered into a partnership with a training provider, and is investing in internal apprenticeship programmes to develop its employees. “Our staff are eager to learn and they want to grow and support the company moving forward,” added Chris. Having recognised a skills gap in engineering, AEO wants to encourage the next generation into the industry by offering good opportunities, with an overall aim of giving them ‘a sense of belonging and help them
to realise their true potential’. Apprentices who are accepted by AEO join a team of experienced toolmakers who support and guide them through all the skills they need to become a proficient toolmaker within a manufacturing environment. Outside of the toolmaking arena, all of AEO’s staff have attended a half day Lean awareness course, which brought several impacts, not least improvements in productivity, quality and efficiency. The development of other staff includes NVQ’s in team leading, and CNC training on the HAAS machining centre and Robot weld programming. Looking to the future, AEO is keen to enrol its production engineers on courses for Diplomas for Mechanical Engineering, and is always identifying and developing innovative opportunities for both new and existing staff. With a new structure, new employees, new technology and new sectors coming on board, so far, 2019 has seen a lot of change at AEO, but as Chris noted, these preparations have all been made in anticipation of very busy times. “Over the next six to 12 months we will bed in the new structure in readiness for a further period of growth over the next few years,” he concluded. “We’re aiming for a turnover of £15m by 2021 through developing new markets, sectors and products, and we have started looking at acquisitions to broaden our capabilities. We are looking forward to an exciting future.”
A. E. Oscroft & Sons Products: Presswork manufacturer and supplier www.aeoscroft.co.uk
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For DS Smith, the last several years have been a time of significant change, featuring the acquisition of assets in both Europe and North America, and the sale of its plastic division
hen Manufacturing Today Europe last shone the spotlight upon the activities of DS Smith – one of the world’s leading providers of corrugated packaging – in the summer of 2018, it was an interesting time for a company that operates in 37 countries and employs over 31,000 people. It was then that, amongst other things, it was in the midst of advanced talks to acquire Europac – one of the most prominent packaging companies in Europe – and pushing forward with its efforts to solidify its newly established presence in the US corrugated market following its purchase of Interstate Resources in 2017. Speaking with Group Finance Director, Adrian Marsh, almost a year later, it quickly becomes apparent that the last 12 months have been equally as exciting. “The last year has been one of good volume growth, particularly when it comes to our FMCG customers and those whose
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operations incorporate e-commerce sales,” he begins. “In that time, we have successfully grown the business organically, taken a larger share of the markets in which we are active, expanded in each geographic region we are represented in, and made significant capital investment throughout the business, which is continuing to deliver benefits.” This calendar year began with the completion of the above highlighted acquisition of Europac in January 2019, a development that has given DS Smith a much larger presence in Iberia and a particularly good craft paper asset in Portugal. “The actual integration of Europac into the DS Smith Group has been exceptional,” Adrian enthuses. “During the regulatory process, the people at Europac were able to gain a better understanding of DS Smith, while we were able to reaffirm the fact that Europac was extremely well aligned to our values and how we operate. The result is
that we could single out the best facets of both businesses which will help us to grow stronger together. “The assets that we have acquired, certainly from a paper making perspective, are excellent, while those on the converting/packaging side are well invested sites in good locations. What we saw was the opportunity to truly optimise these assets, and they have been very receptive to that. This, in turn, has allowed us to increase our synergy targets from €50 million to €70 million, which will create fantastic benefits for everyone concerned. Therefore, it is safe to say that the purchase and integration of Europac has been very much a transformational development for DS Smith.” Similar terminology was used when it came to the aforementioned acquisition of Interstate Resources, and the moves made by the company to grow its proposition in North America since suggest that these were certainly not
loosely thrown around words. “In addition to opening our new head office in Atlanta, Georgia, we have also broken ground on a new greenfield site in Lebanon, Indiana, which will be the site of a large, state-of-the-art converting facility that will give us the capability and capacity to serve our multinational customers,” Adrian states. “The greenfield site is expected to come online in October/November 2019, and when it does it will increase our converting capacity by around one third, which we anticipate being a major driver for future growth!” The year of 2019 will signify another defining moment for DS Smith, as it was in March that the company announced that it had agreed to sell its plastic division to private equity group Olympus Partners for an enterprise value of £585 million. “The plastics division had been a part of DS Smith some considerable time, however it was one that hadn’t been our focus for a while as it is not where we
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see the future, which is in our development of sustainable fibre-based packaging,” Adrian explains. “As such, we decided it was the appropriate time to sell that asset, and that will allow us to reallocate capital and utilise the funds of the sale to drive growth in our underlying business.” The sale of DS Smith’s plastic division is just one of a long line of initiatives that the company has enacted to boost its sustainability efforts. These included its newly signed agreement to become a Global Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a partnership that will accelerate the company’s circular economy drive and support innovation across the business, including recycling and
carbon-efficiency in e-commerce. It will also go a long way towards DS Smith achieving its long-term sustainability targets, which include manufacturing 100 per cent reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025. It is fair to say, therefore, that Adrian is very pleased with the performance of the company in recent times. “Things are going
well,” he somewhat understatedly adds. “We are seeing strong growth originating from our sustainability agenda and through the continued rise in e-commerce-related business. Meanwhile, the work we are doing with our customers to identify solutions on both sides of the Atlantic is really exciting – particularly in North America – and we will continue to work as hard as ever to generate strong cash flow into the business. “As far as what the next 12 months will hold, I expect that if we speak again then we will be talking about a number of positive topics. These will likely include, the success of our greenfield site in North America and how that will be delivering high value solutions to customers, the continued integration of Europac’s assets into the group, and wider growth in Europe as a whole. Lest we forget, also, the on-going support we will provide to our FMCG and e-commerce customers as they seek out the very best in packaging innovation and design, which DS Smith has proven it is able to deliver.”
DS Smith Products: Corrugated packaging www.dssmith.com
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want not The last 12 months of award success and new product development have seen Inciner8 reaffirm its position as the market leading provider of incinerators to the waste management industry
oday a globally respected manufacturing organisation whose solutions are specifically designed with clean air incineration at the forefront of its product development for medical, animal by product and general municipal waste streams, Inciner8 was originally formed in 2003 by its Chairman Vince Ferguson. The concept behind the business was to provide affordable and environmentally friendly incineration concepts, with the incinerators themselves designed to be easy to install in any remote location with minimal operator input and unsurpassed durability. By 2006, the company had already shipped its products to 35 countries, ensuring that
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with each order it provided an excellent service, with after sales and customer care at the forefront of its operations. This ethos saw Inciner8 begin to supply NGO, military, and government customers across the global, each buoyed by the fact that they could trust it to carry high levels of stock for immediate deployment. Having solidified itself as one of the most respected names in global waste management solutions, clients soon included the likes of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, MSF, the Red Cross, and the British Foreign Office. Come 2012, demand for the companyâ€™s solutions had grown to such an extent that it acquired an engineering company in
Southport, with its additional space allowing it to increase its production capabilities accordingly. That same year, Inciner8 was immensely proud to secure its first Queens Award for Export, in recognition of the global demand for its incinerator range and the engineering excellence required to build them. Four years later, it surpassed this when it was presented with two Queens Awards, this time for Export and for Innovation, becoming one of only three companies across the UK to have ever won two awards in one year. Awards success has continued to be a feature for Inciner8 in 2019. In May, for instance, the company was crowned Exporter of the Year at The Insider Made in the North-
Inciner8 West Awards, following what was a recordbreaking 12 months, which saw it secure individual sales to 172 countries. It was here that the company was commended for being the region’s most outstanding exporter in terms of ‘international presence, export growth and exports as a proportion of sales’. Then, in July, the company was found toasting back-to-back accolades, when it was named International Business of the Year by the Echo Regional Business Awards and in the same week received a Highly Commended distinction at Insider Media’s Made in the UK Awards national final. The former of the two awards was presented to the company for its achievements in attaining the highest and most sustainable levels of international growth through exporting, while the latter followed the aforementioned win at the Made in the North-West Awards regional heat. Vince Ferguson OBE, founder & chairman of Inciner8, commented at the time: “Being awarded these two regional and national accolades is another real milestone for Inciner8 and once again demonstrates the strength of our business on a global scale. Being an innovative British business and world-leading advanced manufacturer is one of the key reasons why our clients buy from us. We pride ourselves on our ability to work across every marketplace and our constant focus on solving clients’ waste management problems means that we are unrestricted by geography. “The calibre of businesses that were represented at these awards demonstrates the quality of the competition, whilst illustrating the strength of entrepreneurship in Merseyside and the national manufacturing sector as a whole. It was a real honour to receive these two accolades and recognise our entire team’s success, as without them, our reach wouldn’t stretch as far, nor be as impactful.” With a track record that it enthusiastically declares as being “second-to-none”, Inciner8 has become the company of choice that existing and new clients from around the world call upon for their incineration solutions. By investing in its people, facilities and processes, it has been able to develop a host of world-leading products, including a small-scale waste to energy solution and solar incinerators, a brand-new range of medical waste incinerators, and the world’s first mobile human crematorium. On top of supplying a range of standard models, the company has also developed a bespoke service for specialist markets and requirements. New for Inciner8 in 2019 has been its
development of a range of small scale wasteto-energy, moving grate incinerator solutions aimed specifically at the waste management industry. The company identified the need to provide an all-inclusive waste-to-energy system allowing serious waste management from storage and feed, through to final conversion of the heat and gases into energy. Each predesigned stage/module of the system delivers formulated and regulated flows of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) with key characteristics, through each phase of the conversion, from combustion, gas emissions, heat regulation and, finally, the mechanics of turbine generated electricity. The company clearly has high hopes for
the future use of moving grate incinerator technology. As well as allowing for larger batch sizes and ensuring a quicker, more even combustion cycle, benefits of the technology also include increased robustness, the highest unit capacity and plant capacity of all wasteto-energy solutions, and the ability to manage its use through remote monitoring. With the potential to also utilise the natural by-product of excess heat from incineration to create electricity, hot air and/or hot water for cleaning, it is no surprise that such technology is being increasingly adopted by many industries and applications worldwide as companies look at new ways to conserve energy and do their bit for the environment.
Inciner8 Products: Medical, animal and generation waste incinerators, and waste-to-energy systemss www.inciner8.com
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All photography © Dreams
With its ‘bedquarters’ in High Wycombe, bed manufacturer and retailer extraordinaire Dreams sells 10,000 mattresses, bases and headboards per week to customers nationwide
proud British business, Dreams remains committed to making its products in the UK, with the Dreams Bed Factory in Oldbury now manufacturing over 250,000 mattresses and over 200,000 beds a year. Dreams is continuously looking at ways to improve its manufacturing efficiency and as CEO Mike Logue noted the last time MTE spoke to him, the business has invested over £1 million to re-lay out the factory and bring in new machinery and technologies in order to make it more efficient. “We have our own quality team, situated in the factory, so that we can quality-check every product that leaves it,” he added. “We have a very rigorous in-line quality inspection process, and the results of it can be seen in the under one per cent returns rate we have achieved.” Improvements to the factory are not the only developments that have been underway for Dreams. With both customers and employees in mind, every single one of its 198 Dreams stores in the country has been renovated.This has included refreshing signage and store layout, as well as
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introducing the ‘Comfort by Colour’ proposition. A simple and effective way of categorising customers’ potential mattress choices by colour, Comfort by Colour is a unique initiative in the sector and has been successful in making the shopping experience easier and more straightforward for the customer. While big recognisable brands such as Tempur, Silentnight and Hypnos are available from Dreams, the company also offers its own in-house brands, including Flaxby and Dreams Workshop. As recently as May 2019 the company saw another exciting product launch, with the advent of two new adjustable bed frames, the Sleepmotion 900i and the Sleepmotion 200i. The launch followed research commissioned by Dreams, which found that more than two thirds of Brits are unhappy with the quality and quantity of their sleep. As many as a third never wake up feeling refreshed. The state-of-the-art Sleepmotion bed frames offer customers a wide range of ergonomic positions to choose from to aid sleep.This also allows customers to watch TV, read a book or
relax in bed in their most comfortable position. Embracing the use of technology, the frames are remote and app-controlled, via the exclusive Napp by Dreams sleep-tracking app, offering comfort at the touch of a button. Commenting on these innovative new products, Daniel Parsons, Director of Buying at Dreams, explained the reasoning behind the launch: “Poor sleep is widespread in the UK today. Given there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to getting a better night’s sleep, it’s important we offer beds to suit all customer lifestyles. “That’s why we’ve developed our new Sleepmotion adjustable bed frames. By offering customers the tools to easily adjust their beds’ positioning, height and support, we’re empowering them to achieve the perfect conditions for a better night’s sleep.” Dreams’ Sleepmotion technology ensures customers don’t miss out on the comfort of a perfect mattress either, as both ranges can be used with a wide range of Dreams mattresses including TEMPUR, Hyde & Sleep,TheraPur and Doze. Furthermore, choosing the mattress for the
frame is now even easier thanks to Dreams’ Sleepmatch technology, which profiles individuals’ unique sleep requirements to help them find the perfect mattress. Developed through decades of testing and scientific research, the Sleepmatch system analyses 18 unique measurements, including height, weight, shoulder width and preferred sleeping position and conducts 1000 calculations, to pair customers
with their perfect mattress. Unlike other mattress matching systems, Dreams’ is the only one to be backed by science, supported by the findings of a largescale research study by a leading university in the US. Customers are invited to try the innovative Sleepmatch process whenever they visit a Dreams store. While lying on the Sleepmatch mattress, the technology will capture key profile measurements
BeA, a global provider of specialist fastening tools and consumables for manufacturing industries, continues to build a reputation for high quality industrial product backed by the highest levels of service and support. BeA has successfully worked closely with Dreams to bring about advanced automation and innovation. Offering bespoke tools designed and built for the bed-making industries, BeA offers manual, semi-automatic and fully automated fastening solutions capable of reducing costs and improving production efficiencies. With over 100 years of experience supported by quality and innovation, BeA remains a global manufacturer of fastening technology for the leading furniture manufacturers including Dreams.
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Dreams before producing a Personal Sleep Profile, detailing their unique mattress requirements. Working in partnership with Dreams’ exclusive Comfort by Colour system, Dreams’ in-store colleagues will use the Sleepmatch findings to guide the customer to their ideal mattress; advising they choose the option that’s best for them. Daniel added: “Too many people in the UK are currently suffering from a poor night’s sleep – and a bad mattress can be the main culprit.Yet we know the process of picking a new mattress can be sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing. We don’t think it should be that way.That’s why we’re so proud of our Sleepmatch technology – the only system backed by science and specifically designed to make choosing the right mattress easier than ever.This nationwide rollout is a significant step towards helping more people to get a better night’s sleep.” Dreams’ Sleepmatch technology has already proved a huge success, having been introduced to its first Dreams store in November 2018. Globally the technology has resulted in over 12 million profiles being built within the database. The first half of 2019 has clearly been an exciting time of product development for Dreams,
and reflecting its performance it recently was crowned Specialty Retailer of the Year 2019 from Retail Week. Its expertise in providing the most restful night’s sleep was also recognised in another way when in February the company confirmed its partnership with Team GB as its ‘Official Sleep Partner’ up to and including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With the Games under 20 months away Dreams and Team GB will work closely together, specifically looking to help the athletes sleep, rest and recuperate. Sleep is an integral part of the athlete’s performance and as part of the deal Team GB will receive products and sleep advice to support their efforts in Tokyo. Dreams was delighted to become the first ever official sleep partner of Team GB in the run
up to and throughout the 2020 Olympic Games, and Mike acknowledged how the company’s sterling reputation for excellence was pivotal in achieving this ground-breaking agreement: “We pride ourselves on being a great British brand as we make, sell and also deliver our Dreams beds setting us apart from the competition and making us the best and most natural fit for the nations most loved sports team. “As the UK’s most recommended bed retailer, we’ve been helping our customers sleep better for over 35 years and this new and exciting partnership will see us utilise our wealth of knowledge and expertise to aid Team GB athletes rest and recovery, helping them to reach their full potential and be able to perform to the best of their ability.”
Dreams Products: The UK’s number one bed specialist www.dreams.co.uk
Apropa Machinery Since 1954, Apropa Machinery has supplied cutting edge machinery and automation to the foam, bedding, furniture and building industries. As agents for world leading machinery suppliers, its aim is to help its customers increase productivity, reduce costs and downtime, and increase revenue through technology. For mattress production, Apropa supplies equipment from start-to-finish including Baumer foam cutting lines, Lamit automatic glue lines for foam and spring encapsulated mattresses, Grauff covering machines, and Sala ‘bed-in-a-box’ mattress wrapping, pressing and rolling equipment to significantly reduce shipping costs and boost productivity. Apropa is pleased to count its customer, Dreams, as one of many leading mattress companies who choose to use its Sala mattress line to produce their ‘bed in a box’ range of mattresses. Apropa offers comprehensive after-sales support with highly trained UK-based engineers available to assist rapidly if needed. Please call its consultants today and they will be glad to assist in optimising your production.
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Worshipping innovation and employing some of the world’s best engineers in the field, Linn Products has been reinventing the hi-fi industry for almost five decades
p until the early 1970s, the conventional wisdom across the hi-fi industry was that the loudspeaker is the most important part of a hi-fi system. The introduction of the Sondek LP12 by Linn in 1973, however, quickly forced the proponents of the idea to dispense with it. “It is the product that turned the industry on its head by proving that it is actually the
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source that is the key factor in getting a clearer sound. This discovery made by my father has informed the company he founded ever since: the more musical information you retrieve from the source, the better sound,” begins Linn’s Managing Director, Gilad Tiefenbrun. The creation of the LP12 was the result of Ivor rethinking the turntable. Where other turntables were primarily designed to be shock-proof, he designed his to be immune
from acoustic feedback, so that it could get as much information from the record groove as possible. Together with ensuring an improved sound, the new product was also designed in a modular way for it to be upgradeable. Ivor was fully aware that the technology would improve and he wanted the turntable and the people who bought it to benefit from these improvements. By doing this, he killed two
Linn’s Managing Director, Gilad Tiefenbrun
Carter Retail Equipment Products: Refrigerated display cabinets and cold-room solutions www.cre-ltd.co.uk
By showcasing our music system to Harrods’ international customer base, we will be exposing Linn to a variety of new customers and spreading the message of high-quality, high-performance music reproduction to an even wider audience
birds with one stone – not only did he create strong customer loyalty, but he also attracted skilled engineers to the company who shared his passion for better sound. To this day, the LP12 remains core to the product range from Linn. “My father’s innovative spirit has been contagious. Over the last ten years, we have invested more than £20 million to create the best R&D facilities and recruit the best possible people across all engineering disciplines, as we want to continue making ground breaking products,” Gilad explains. “The field of audio is amongst the most technicallydemanding areas of engineering. In order to
deliver pitch-accurate sound reproduction, our products must provide extremely low distortion, emit little to low noise, and be immune to acoustic feedback from the environment. This is the reason why we make sure that we employ only highly-skilled people who hand-build our products to order, take full ownership of their work, and only sign their name to a product when they are completely satisfied.” Linn’s commitment to high-quality engineering and manufacturing, and investment in R&D have made the company one of the most attractive workplaces for talented individuals across all engineering disciplines.
Gilad discusses the reasons why this is so: “We have integrated all the different disciplines to create a connection between our R&D teams that simply does not exist anywhere else. In doing this, we aim to encourage our talent to collaborate and interact, which means that we can push Linn to the forefront of technology, and this is what makes us an exciting and interesting place to be. “It would be remiss of me not to mention the excellent facilities and benefits we provide for employees, including an on-site gym and free exercise classes, an awardwinning canteen, and a cycle to work scheme. Moreover, we are really committed to offering a good work-life balance and have flexible working options to ensure that,” he adds. As it stands now, the focus areas for Linn’s R&D team concern the improvement of the company’s core technologies such as digital to analogue conversion and extracting more information from the groove of a vinyl record. Gilad comments: “We are seeking to integrate our electrical and software prowess with exciting physical enclosures to create new types of audio products for the home. “At the same time, with music consumption having migrated from physical to digital, we are working hard to remain market leaders in high-performance reproduction of streamed music. In recent years, the Linn DSM range of
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network music players have accounted for over 50 per cent of our sales and we have recently launched a new network music player that we call Selekt DSM,” he sheds light on the latest product development work undertaken by the R&D division. In line with the tradition of designing its products modularly, Selekt DSM does not make an exception, which means that its performance and features can be configured in a variety of ways either at the point of purchase, or upgraded at a later date. Among the key features of the player are that it can stream virtually any digital source over a standard network, as well as its seamless integration with Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming services. What is more, its dial and customisable smart buttons allow for immediate on-product control and access to favourite content from any source. Unsurprisingly, Linn Products has built an excellent reputation across its domestic UK market over the years. Other places that have provided a conducive soil for the growth of the company’s products are countries that have always been known for their technological prowess, such as Germany, Japan, and the US. “What we are also seeing at the moment, is a marked growth in demand from Eastern Europe and South East Asia,” Gilad reveals. “We are seizing the great opportunity for UK exporters to reach new markets, especially in territories where we have not traditionally had a large presence. Linn has been expanding its network of distributors in these regions, raising awareness of what we can offer to meet the needs of customers with rising affluence, increasing sophistication, and a demand for premium brands.” The first half of 2019 saw Linn open its flagship concession in the new Technology Department of Harrods’ Knightsbridge store. One of the main highlights of the year so
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far, this breakthrough sets the stage for a continued strong performance by the business.
“By showcasing our music system to Harrods’ international customer base, we will be exposing Linn to a variety of new customers and spreading the message of high-quality, highperformance music reproduction to an even wider audience,” Gilad enthuses. Mapping out Linn’s long-term ambitions, he is expecting the company to keep its finger on the pulse of the ever-developing music industry and stay at the forefront of new technologies and customer requirements. He concludes: “The world is constantly changing and we must always evolve, in order to meet emerging needs. By embracing this change and bringing innovative manufacturing processes in-house, we will continue to create the products that delight our discerning and demanding customers worldwide.”
Linn Products Products: High-end music equipment www.linn.co.uk
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