Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena

£13.5m Global Centre of Excellence
Woodhead Group has been appointed as the contractor for the University of Nottingham’s new £13.5m Research and Innovation Centre for Power Electronics and Machines.

The research and innovation centre is the biggest contract secured by the construction company and will create a global centre of excellence for the university’s world-leading Power Electronics, Machines and Control (PEMC) Research Group.

The centre is the latest of several significant projects completed for the university by Woodhead Group, including the BREEAM Excellent-rated Ingenuity Centre and the Research Acceleration Demonstration building.

Professor Pat Wheeler, Head of the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group, said: “New technologies for Power Electronics and Electrical Machines are essential to meet the massive economic and environmental benefits of transportation electrification and the integration of renewable energy sources in our electrical utility networks.

“This Centre provides the exciting opportunity for the research group to continue to expand its world leading research work in these increasingly important research topics.

“We are looking forward to working with Woodhead Group as well as the selected design and project management partners, to ensure the successful and timely delivery of this exciting flagship project.”

The new facility, which was given £9.4m by the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (RPIF), which is run by Research England, will provide office and research accommodation for the research group and will join the Faculty of Engineering’s growing research cluster. The design has been put forward by architects Bond Bryan and will be project managed by Aecom, with Turner and Townsend acting as cost consultant.

Safer option
Re-Gen Robotics, sister company of Re-Gen Waste Ltd, has launched the first and only remotely controlled, ‘No Man Entry’ robotic tank cleaning company in the British Isles. The company has invested £1.5m in two purpose-built, fully compliant, Ex Zone 0 rated machines; one designed to de-sludge, wash and clean large scale tanks and a second, lightweight and highly portable compact unit suitable for use on smaller sites and underground storage tanks and containers, including petrol forecourts, interceptors and process tanks.

The state-of-the-art, automatic tank cleaning system will eradicate industry fatalities in the British Isles, eliminating human exposure to Confined Spaces and hugely decreasing all risk categories.

Re-Gen Robotic’s unique, closed loop cleaning system is fully compliant with existing safety legislation and can reduce cleaning time by up to 45 per cent, significantly decreasing downtime and loss of production whilst the facilities are not operational.


Reaping the benefits
Nervacero S.A., a leading Spanish manufacturer of corrugated rods, is achieving increased productivity and process optimisation as a result of implementing AMETEK Land’s Slag Detection System (SDS).

The SDS is a continuous thermal monitoring system, which provides accurate and timely detection of slag carryover in the steelmaking process. Processing over 700,000 tons of molten steel per year, Nervacero recently upgraded to the latest SDS-E version and uses it in the melt shop for monitoring the steel stream from the electric arc furnace (EAF) to the ladle.

Pablo Beitia, Director at Nervacero S.A. in Spain, explains: “The SDS-E has helped to reduce slag carryover significantly and ladle refractory wear, as well as improved our ferroalloy performance whilst enhancing productivity of our melt shop and refining process. We have also been able to reduce our use of additives, therefore lowering our overheads, and avoid any ladle overfilling issues.”


Austrian investment
Dietsmann Smart Robotics Lab (DSRL), a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of the Dutch Dietsmann Group, has made a substantial investment in Austrian robotics technology specialist Taurob GmbH. Peter Kütemann, founder and CEO of Dietsmann, said in his address: “Taurob has developed one of the first ATEX-certified intelligent robots with an intuitive control system and multipurpose interfaces for quick and easy add-on integration. We see it as the near future replacement of human inspection and maintenance missions, especially in remote and hazardous energy production locations.”

In turn, Lukas Silberbauer, one of Taurob’s Directors, stated: “Compared to last year, our team has already doubled, and through our partnership with Dietsmann we will continue our strong growth path. We hired senior experts across multiple domains who help to make our robots more intelligent, capable and robust than ever before. Robots and Artificial Intelligence are the future, and we are well prepared to change the game.”

Finally, his business partner, Matthias Biegl, expressed what this new partnership means for their company, explaining that: “The announcement of the strong partnership with Dietsmann is a milestone in the history of Taurob. This co-operation will add great commercial value to industrial end users and facilitate the wide distribution of ground robots and robotic services.”

Exciting step
ABGI Group, an international leader in R&D tax incentives and innovation consulting, has launched its UK division. Operating under the name of ABGI-UK, the firm will be based in Edinburgh with its focus on companies with 500+ employees. With a heritage going back over 30 years, ABGI Group is the consulting division of Visiativ Group, a French listed company specialising in innovation and digital transformation.

ABGI is dedicated to helping clients accelerate innovation and business expansion around the world. The new UK operation will provide expert advice and support in a number of areas including R&D tax credit claims for larger companies which qualify under the Government’s RDEC scheme. It will also support large British-based businesses with grant and subsidy management as well as innovation funding applications.

ABGI-UK’s CEO, Scott Henderson, will continue with his current position as Managing Director of ABGI-UK’s sister company, Jumpstart. Other members of Jumpstart will also start to focus on the new division. Mr Henderson said: “The launch of ABGI-UK is an exciting step for ABGI Group. We are in a strong position to leverage our decades of experience and international footprint for the benefit of larger businesses across the UK. We also have the opportunity to work with Visiativ to explore the digitisation of our consulting business.”

News in brief
Leaders in partnership
Rolls-Royce and ABB have announced a global partnership on microgrid technology and advanced automation. Together the two companies will offer an innovative, energy-efficient microgrid solution for utilities, commercial and industrial entities.

Andreas Schell, CEO, Rolls-Royce Power Systems commented: “Combining our integrated MTU diesel and gas genset system technology and our control solutions, with ABB’s modular microgrid solution, control capability and remote service, will offer customers the combined strengths of the two world leaders in technology.”

Expansion plans
Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance has provided a £5m invoice finance facility to BCW Manufacturing Group, as the manufacturer looks to expand its factory space and production line. With a prestigious client-base including Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover, BCW currently has a turnover of £26m.

To support growth plans, Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance has provided £5m funding to BCW, which will be used to fund the expansion of the company’s existing site with an 80,000-square-foot development. The bolstered headquarters will see the creation of a dedicated state-of-the-art automotive machining facility and additional warehouse space.

Focused on safety
CHEP has celebrated 12 years of incident-free working at the company’s Dublin plant in Finglas through an industry leading health & safety initiative called Zero Harm. Jerry Hedderman, Service Centre Manager at CHEP’s Dublin plant said: “Everyone is extremely proud of the journey we have taken to get us to this milestone. I am delighted that we have been able to change the culture within the plant to one that is so highly focused on driving safety not only as individuals, but as a team. There is a real culture of care within the team now. We have a total of 45 staff at our plant in Dublin and everyone has played an active role in our Zero Harm initiative.”