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Licenced for growth: How manufacturers can avoid penalties

By Clare Darwood, specialist commercial property solicitor at hlw Keeble Hawson


lthough advancing technologies now enable manufacturers to review the

efficiency of their production/logistics spaces virtually, tenants are urged to avoid making actual improvements without careful checks. Leases of any commercial space usually

prohibit or restrict the tenant’s ability to alter the property in various ways. This protects the landlord from changes that may have an adverse effect on the property such as its value or the ability to re-let it in the future. A way around this is for the lease to permit tenants to apply to the landlord for a licence so alterations can be made. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 states that, where these are put forward as an ‘improvement’, consent cannot be unreasonably withheld. When applying for a licence, the tenant must set out the proposals clearly, so the landlord is able to make an informed decision about consent or reasonable refusal. The financial penalties for making alterations

without a licence could be crippling for a manufacturer. They can include the lease being forfeited and/or the landlord requiring that the property be returned to its original state. There is also the wasted expenditure on making the alterations in the first place. However, securing a licence to adapt

manufacturing spaces can take time - and is also costly. Many innovating businesses find it unreasonable to expect a licence to be entered into every time adaptations are needed for improved operations – whether for a change of layout or a complete reconfiguration of the production line.

Tenants must usually pay their landlord’s

legal and surveyor’s fees when preparing a licence - and, with so many manufacturing, engineering and tech operations accelerating their growth and development, this can become very expensive. There is a growing opinion that

manufacturers should be able to alter the property without consent in order to develop their businesses. So how can they avoid being thwarted and impeded when seeking to customise the space they operate for enhanced working practices? A method to streamline the process is agreeing an over-arching licence to make improvements. Although these licences have traditionally been seldom used, they are forecast to become increasingly popular with advancing technologies. The licence could set out a framework for production companies to develop their environment as the need arises. It would detail the types of alteration that might be required, any reasonable limitations to change - and the tenant’s responsibilities upon the termination of the lease, however this may come about. Understanding and complying with the rules

on alterations to a leased workspace while obtaining maximum benefit from it as a production base can be a complex affair. This makes taking advice from a legal practice with a strong reputation in commercial property when drawing up a lease - or reviewing one - essential for fast-evolving manufacturers. Clare can be contacted on 0114 290 6266 or


This year has seen the global footprint of CC- Link IE and CC-Link reach a new high, with the number of CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) member companies passing 3,000. With this surge in members, of whom more than 300 are offering some 1,700 products available for the technologies, CLPA is helping to drive the digitalisation of manufacturing which is central to the goals of Industry 4.0. Further, double-digit year-on-year growth

has seen the number of installed devices increase from around 17 million in March 2016 to over 19 million at the end of March 2017, and today the installed base is well on the way to passing the 20 million mark. CLPA-Europe general manager, John

Browett, said: “The rate of new installations continues to grow at a double digit pace as

more and more users come to appreciate the benefits of our technology. The industry leadership of CC-Link IE has proved to be key, being the first industrial Ethernet technology to provide gigabit transmission rates with full determinism. Given the current move towards Industry 4.0 applications and the bandwidth required for their success, it’s no surprise that its user base is growing so quickly.” With its roots in Japan, CC-Link IE and its

fieldbus counterpart, CC-Link, have long been the de facto networking standards across Asia. But recognition of their key attributes has seen them become an attractive networking option across Europe and the Americas too, with adoption in a variety of industries, including automotive, consumer packaged goods and water.

/AUTOMATION right depends


How to dimension a variable speed drive

By Andy Preston, UK Drives Product Manager, ABB


orrectly dimensioning a variable speed drive (VSD) helps improve

an application’s reliability. But getting

it right depends on many factors relating to the machine or process in which the VSD is going to operate. It is important that the VSD is correctly selected, taking into account the actual application, the load and the environmental conditions. If the ratings are above a maximum ambient

temperature of 40°C, you may need to derate the VSD. Another environmental factor, and one which is often overlooked, is the altitude of the VSD installation. The VSD will need to be derated if the operating site is located 1,000 metres or more above sea level. If the application requires more current than the derated VSD is capable of supplying then a slightly larger drive will need to be selected. In practice this usually means taking the next larger frame size. The drive will also need to be derated if a switching frequency is selected that is higher than the nominal rate. You need to determine if the load is cyclical and if it

is quadratic or constant torque. With demanding, highly cyclical loads it may be beneficial to oversize the drive to increase its life time. Investing time upfront to ensure the correct drive type and making sure that it will be operating within its specifications, helps ensure reliable performance. To make these selections as accurate and robust as

possible, ABB has developed a tool called Drive Size, where all of these factors are compared to the operational limits of the drive so that optimal selections can be made. With dimensioning and derating issues resolved,

selecting and installing the drive is made easier. Additional factors such as ensuring EMC compliance

and harmonic mitigation also influence drive selection. Making sure harmonics on the supply are kept to a minimum ensures the motor-driven application will not ‘pollute’ the end customer’s electrical network.

Conditions requiring detailed drive selection include: • Higher or lower ambient temperature, or challenging environments generally

• Higher switching frequency • Higher altitude • Demanding duty cycle, cyclic application • Long motor cabling • Common DC system • EMC compliance and low harmonic performance

Taking these factors into consideration will help secure a trouble-free performance over the drive’s design lifetime. Also bear in mind that it is never a good idea to select a drive based on cost alone – choosing a product simply because it is the cheapest may save some money at the outset but will usually end up costing much more through incorrect operation and lack of reliability.

For a free download on dimensioning, visit:


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