More than half (52%) of UK manufacturers think that ‘a lack of UK economic certainty’ is the most pressing concern for business, according to a new snapshot poll by Santander Corporate & Commercial. The research, which coincided with Santander’s Manufacturing Industry Day, also found that one in five (21%) of the manufacturers surveyed were concerned about a lack of skilled workers. The vast majority (75%) say

they are planning to expand overseas in the next three years, and of those looking to expand, the European Union is their preferred market, cited by two thirds (66%). This was followed by North America (45%), with the Asia-Pacific region third (36%). The figures also revealed that

25% of manufacturing firms were ‘very confident’ on prospects for the sector. While a further 44% said they are ‘slightly confident’ on prospects, just 3% expected the manufacturing sector to ‘grow significantly’ over the next three years, with 44% expecting moderate growth. Paul Brooks, Head of UK

Manufacturing at Santander UK, commented: “It is clear that UK manufacturers are focused on growth and opportunities but have real concerns about the strength of the UK economy. Despite this, the strongly positive aspiration to invest in their businesses and, more particularly, export overseas or expand current international trading activity is very encouraging. Santander has a specific team focused on helping

UK manufacturers to export globally, and we are committed to growing this activity as demand increases.” To succeed in this market

environment, a third (34%) of manufacturing firms said they had already increased investment at their business in 2019 – this compares to 10% who have cut investment. Some 38% said they are planning to increase investment looking forward across the year. Santander’s Manufacturing

Industry Day, based in the Midlands, brings together sector leaders and industry experts from across the country to look at challenges and opportunities for the sector. manufacturing

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The use of process automation equipment/software and robots on the factory floor is a subject area that gets covered frequently by Process & Control. But the concept of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) relating to backoffice and business/operational processes may be a relatively new concept for process engineers. UiPath, a company specialising in

RPA technology, recently opened an Immersion Lab in Bucharest, Romania, with the aim of demonstrating the capabilities of RPA to both new and existing customers. I was lucky enough to take a tour, and learn all about how manufacturing companies can use RPA to attain improved agility and more streamlined operations across the value chain, resulting in up to a 20% cost savings across various touch points. You can find out more about the

efficiencies that RPA could bring to your organisation on page 20. Michelle Lea


Essex-based Gibbons Engineering Group are gearing up for a visit from local school children again this summer. Celebrating their 50th

Anniversary this year, Gibbons are looking ahead to their next 50 years in business and are keen to inspire the future generation of engineers. The number of exciting

opportunities available to young people pursuing a career in engineering aren’t always widely known, and not enough young people – especially girls – are considering a career in engineering when they think about their futures. As a partner to the government-

led Year of Engineering last year, Gibbons took part in a number of activities to highlight what an exciting and varied career the industry can offer. As part of their efforts, they hosted an open day for local school children, which was a

Specialist flexible conduit systems manufacturer Flexicon has become a member of the European Hygiene Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG). The EHEDG is a non-profit

great success. They are therefore delighted to be repeating the day once again this year. School children can look forward to

a tour of Gibbons’ offices and workshops, and some hands-on engineering activities to take part in, which will give them a taste of the challenging and varied career available to them in the industry. To find out more about a career in

engineering and opportunities for young people you can contact Gibbons on 01621 868 138 or email

consortium of equipment manufacturers dedicated to ensuring the hygienic design and maintenance of food production systems worldwide. It is a globally-recognised mark of quality in the food and beverage industries. EHEDG membership highlights

Flexicon’s status as a proven and trusted supplier dedicated to providing safe cable protection solutions for food and beverage production environments. Flexicon’s range of hygienic conduit fittings are designed in accordance with EN 1672-2 and EN ISO 14159, with a smooth, easy-to- clean surface and finish that eliminates the build-up of bacteria and micro-organisms. Flexicon hygienic conduit solutions

suit applications requiring a high level of ingress protection (IP), with IP ratings of IP66, IP67, IP68 (2 Bar) and IP69 achievable.



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