The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released the figures for government spending on science, engineering and technology in 2017. While the UK government’s expenditure on science, engineering and technology (SET) relating to research and development grew by £0.7 billion to £12.2 billion in 2017, an increase of 6.4%, many criticise the fact that this expenditure is just 0.59% of gross domestic product (GDP), little changed from 0.58% in 2016. Mark Tighe, CEO of R&D tax specialists

Catax, commented: “While the UK has always prided itself on its world-leading science, engineering and technology sectors, we need to see far more investment in these areas if we are to continue competing on a global level. “Our technology and IT sectors, in

particular, risk falling behind economic powerhouses such as the US and China due largely to a lack of investment. “Not one of the world’s 15 largest digital firms today is British and the US is forecast to

spend 175% more on IT development than the whole of western Europe between 2018 and 2022, according to market intelligence figures. “This doesn’t bode well for UK firms whose

counterparts in other regions of the world threaten to race ahead with investment in more advanced technologies, such as AI, to help them grow. “This loss of technological prowess has

worrying implications for jobs and growth too, as technology now impacts every walk of life. “More worryingly, it could mean the UK is

less well positioned to influence global standards and rules and provide consumers with choice and competition. “The government needs to direct significant

more funding towards these areas which are vital to the country’s future success but also implement policies that reward and encourage greater business investment and kick start more venture capital activity in these areas.”


Aspen Technology, the asset optimisation software company, and Hexagon PPM, a provider of engineering software for the design, construction and operation of plants, ships and offshore facilities, has announced a new level of collaboration founded on a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This will more closely align AspenTech’s conceptual, basic engineering and cost estimation solutions with the detailed engineering suite from Hexagon PPM, to enable a fully data-centric workflow across the asset lifecycle. Said to be the first to market with a fully digital design and engineering process with

integrated economic evaluation, AspenTech and Hexagon PPM suites align to help customers better manage the financial risks of complex projects, which is a major challenge today. The combined capabilities can accelerate digital transformation and enable deployment of best-in-class integrated solutions from two leading software providers. Working together, AspenTech and Hexagon PPM can provide a more complete digital

twin, inclusive of both the plant infrastructure and the chemical processes occurring within that physical infrastructure, to allow operators to make better decisions that maximise throughput, quality and uptime. AspenTech’s planning, scheduling and reliability software, coupled with the Hexagon PPM expertise for the detailed engineering phase of facility and plant design, will help operators more easily leverage engineering models during operations, obtain the most from their investments and allow them to respond better to changing market conditions. Antonio Pietri, president and chief executive officer of Aspen Technology, said: “This

collaboration will allow customers the flexibility to choose solutions from market-leading providers across the full lifecycle, from the design phase into the systems that operate and maintain a plant. Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms and owner- operators will be able to accelerate their digital transformation with complete confidence, supported by best-in-class solutions.” Hexagon PPM President Mattias Stenberg said: “Based on our assessments and

engagements with joint customers, we are confident there is potential to impact both project and operational efficiency. Aligning project costs to decisions early in the design process reduces budget and schedule risk. Post-project, the combination of predictive maintenance and advanced controls with our information management solutions translates into higher-quality plants that will perform better over their lifetime.”

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Albion Valves (UK) has opened a sister company, Albion Valves (International) Ltd. Albion Valves (International) will be providing valves

and fittings to the Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia, and will be serviced by a dedicated team based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This new company comes as a result of the success

experienced by the UK based company. It comes at a time when the construction sector in the Middle East and North Africa is booming, with regional governments continuing to invest in infrastructure projects such as Dubai Expo 2020, Qatar 2022 World Cup, New Cairo Capital in Egypt and large residential construction projects in Saudi Arabia. Albion Valves (International) has been established to

support their growing network of distributors in the region and will have a large stock holding in Jebel Ali Free Zone to service these distributors and customers efficiently. Jason Thomas, sales director at Albion Valves

(International) said: “Everyone at Albion is excited for this new venture. It comes at a time when business in the region is strong and there are plenty of opportunities to be had. Albion have a strong reputation in the UK for their quality products, comprehensive range and high customer service levels and we hope to build upon this to open doors for us in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia.”




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