ore than half of UKmanufacturers see the weaker sterling as a key benefit for their business over


visited the aving

first Smart

Factory Expo event, I think it’s safe to say that ‘Industry 4.0’ has now becomemore than just a buzzword ormarketing term. Many of themajor automation vendors were in attendance and all with a very similarmessage: it’s time to stop talking and

starting implementing. Of course there is still some confusion about the concept, but when referring to ‘Industry 4.0’, it helps to think of it as an evolution rather than a revolution.

Industrial technology has been developing at quite a pace for the last few years, so ‘Industry 4.0’ and ‘the digital smart factory’ are not new, rather a natural

progression and automation is really at the heart of it. These are topics that this magazine has been covering since it was first published just over 20 years ago, and it will continue to be at the forefront of the industry as we see digital and smart technology become more widely adopted. NeilMead -Managing Editor

the next 12-24months, with 44 per cent of businesses refocusing on internationalisation in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, according to a new report by accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO LLP, in association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

Despite over half of UKmanufacturers still believing the UK’s decision to leave the European Union would have a negative impact on themanufacturing sector and their business, they refuse to let it dent their growth

reduce their investment intentions – a positive sign for the sector. Of those that are, however, reducing spend on outsourcing was themost popular choice. Also, 60 per cent ofmanufacturers are continuing investment in research and development and innovation – a key element for growth and competitiveness. Worryingly, 45 per cent of

manufacturers have little or no confidence that the current Government can negotiate a favourable trade deal with the EU. Some 37 per cent favoured the UK remaining amember of European Economic Area (EEA), which would include access to the singlemarket, free

ambitions and are not putting investment plans on hold. movement of people, financial contribution to the EU According to the BDO/IMechE research, a weaker sterling was cited by 51 per cent of respondents as a key opportunity for growth. Low interest rates and a lower regulatory burden were also seen as benefits to their business. However, two thirds of respondents highlighted currency volatility and a changing political landscape as the two biggest risk factors to manufacturing caused by the Brexit vote.

Looking ahead, internationalisation is central to the strategy of 44 per cent of the businesses surveyed with over one third saying they will target markets outside of the EU as a result of the Brexit vote. While not a majority, this is a substantial number given the costs and workload involved for any business in establishing foreignmarkets. According to the survey, 65 per cent of manufacturers said they aremaking no plans to

and accepting some EU regulation. According to the report, when questioned on an industrial strategy, the singlemost important factor for UKmanufacturers is to have a long-termstrategy with a 15-20 year horizon. Philippa Oldham, head of manuf IMechE, said: “Manufacturers are cl

ear that they need acturing at the

confidence in the skills pipeline and the country’s industrial strategy, in order to properly prosper. “As the UK gears up to leave the EU, this is more important than ever. Despite many manufacturers disagreeing with the Brexit vote, these findings show that they are committed to making it work. As Government begins the difficult task of negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU, it must work closely with industry and manufacturers to ensure we get the best deal for the country.”


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manufacturing company which specialises in the automotive sector is celebrating receiving an award for its application of new technology. The Autins Group won the ‘Excellence in Science and Technology’ category at the annual Coventry Telegraph Business awards. The company, which has five sites in theMidlands and two inmainland Europe,manufactures lightweight thermal and acoustic insulation components for vehicles. In order to win the award, Autins had to demonstrate commitment to innovation and

sustainability with a strong scientific and technological ethos. This has been a busy year for Autins. It has set up the Autins Technical Centre which is dedicated to research and development and which will enable the company to test and develop newmaterials for the automotive and other industries. “It has really been an exciting 12months for the company and this award recognises the hard work that all the staff has put into taking Autins forward,” commented CEO, Jim Griffin. “We are particularly pleased to have won the award for technology as we have invested several millions of pounds in premises and equipment to ensure our products and processes are innovative. We aimto be at the forefront of manufacturing technology not just in the Midlands or the UK, but across Europe.”

Autins ( was set up in 1966making parts for the originalMini. Clients includemajor vehiclemanufacturers such as Bentley, the VWGroup, Honda and Jaguar Land Rover. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in the summer and it currently employs over 200 people across seven sites.


to date Th UK and/or ‘

te? Then follofollowus onTwitter: d/

Twitter: /or ‘Like’ us on Facebook! Fa e’ us on Facebook! ROCKWELL APPOINTS


appointedMark Bottomley ockwell Automation has

the UK. Bottomley, a qualified to the role of sales director in

wealth of experience to the chemical engineer, brings a

director-level experience at role, including in-country

Invensys in Ireland In his previous roles at Rockwell


Automation, Bottomley has overseen the integration of ProsCon and LeKtroniX into the business in Ireland as well as taking on senior roles within the UK and EMEA region in the Life Sciences sector.

Bottomley will be responsible for overseeing the continued growth of Rockwell Automation

products, solutions and services in the UK, and for leading the continued expansio Enterprise’ principles and soluti

ons that help its n of ‘Connected

customers harness the power of information to drive better decision-making, improve efficiency and grow productivity.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the continued development of Rockwell Automation as a leader in industrial automation. It’s an exciting time for all of us, as the ‘Connected Enterprise’ approach begins to unlock the potential of the IIoT for our customers,” said Bottomley.


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