Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena

Leading the race
Kite Packaging, one of the UK’s leading packaging distributors, has seen a hugely positive response to its 2019 initiative aimed at reducing the impact of plastics in the environment. At the end of May the company announced that it is well on its way to reaching its goal, with the initiative already delivering a 95 tonne plastic reduction.

The team at Kite launched its 120 tonne challenge at the start of 2019, setting itself and its customers the task of reducing plastic usage by a total of 120 tonnes by the end of the year. With a focus on ‘reduce, re-use, recycle and replace’ Kite has utilised a wide range of new eco-friendly products and its state-of-the-art Mobile Test Facility to target opportunities for itself and its customers.

Part of the reduction includes Kite no longer sending out any direct mailing in polythene mailing bags, as well as carrying out an ongoing review of its distribution process to minimise plastic wrapping around products.

To support customers joining the initiative Kite’s new Mobile Test Facility, the first of its kind in the industry, has been despatched to customers’ premises all around the UK along with a team of packaging technologists and specialist engineers. The Kite team is able to utilise the Mobile Test Facility to work alongside customers and carry out waste minimising packaging audits, as well as exploring and testing more eco-friendly packaging alternatives.

Taking shape
Factories of the future are taking shape at the UK’s newest advanced manufacturing park. Architects are busy designing 180,000 sq ft of factory space for tenants of phase one of TeesAMP advanced manufacturing park, in North East England.

Now the team behind the designs – which will be home to the next generation of UK manufacturing – have spoken about the creation of the first 14 buildings.

Mark Barlow, co-founder and project architect at Logic Architecture, explained: “It’s a real privilege for our team – who live and work in Tees Valley – to play such a strategic part in shaping our industrial future.”

Mark’s team has been working on TeesAMP since its inception. He added: “So far we’ve designed fit outs to include offices and meeting rooms overlooking the river Tees with changing rooms and showers. Externally we have separated visitor and staff parking from the compounds with charging points for electric vehicles. We’re creating a state-of-the-art environment that will set the standard for this type of advanced manufacturing development.

“TeesAMP is designed to look and feel like an impressive business park – not an industrial estate with all the offices orientated to the front, and that’s the impression you’ll get when you drive down the central boulevard to the central artwork feature.

“TeesAMP will be the catalyst for an industrial renaissance in Tees Valley, and it’s on us as architects to make sure we create an industrial home that will stand the test of time.”

Going smaller
Israeli 3D printing start-up Nanofabrica has been selected to participate in the Siemens’ start-up commercialisation programme – Siemens Dynamo. Nanofabrica is providing pan-industrial micro manufacturing 3D Printers, that allow a variety of new applications across sectors like aerospace, automotive, medical, optics, and semiconductors.

“We have been following Nanofabrica for almost a year,” says Ran Livnat, an Innovation Partner at Siemens Dynamo. “Some of our more innovative customers are already using their technology commercially, and we were able to witness the disruptive effect it has on product design and on production.”

Jon Donner, CEO of Nanofabrica added: “Joining the Siemens Dynamo program is a great honour for us. We see huge potential in working together, and we already signed up as a precision manufacturing supplier in the Siemens Additive Manufacturing Network. These are exciting times for Nanofabrica and for the 3D Printing industry in general. While there are an increasing number of manufacturers from across all sectors of industry that are adopting additive manufacturing as a viable production technology, the micro manufacturing sector has been neglected. There is an inexorable drive throughout the industry to miniaturise products and components, but additive manufacturing has been unable to achieve the levels of resolution, speed, and cost effectiveness necessary to facilitate ‘mass’ micro manufacturing.”

Pioneering recycling solution
Unilever has pioneered the use of a new detectable black pigment for its High Density Polyethelyne (HDPE) bottles for its leading brands, TRESemmé and Lynx, so they can be detected by recycling plant scanners and sorted for recycling.

The new detectable bottles will be phased in during 2019 and will allow Unilever to further ‘close the loop’ and include the recycled black plastic back in new packaging. In 2019, TRESemmé and Lynx will both introduce a minimum of 30% recycled material into their packs.

Unilever has carried out extensive trials, in partnership with RECOUP and waste management partners Veolia, SUEZ, Viridor and TOMRA, which have proven that this new pigment can be technically detected within their material recycling facilities in the UK.

The knowledge and expertise from developing this technical solution for detectable black bottles will be made accessible to others in the industry, as well as to other markets globally.

This move to using the new detectable black plastic is part of Unilever UK’s commitment to The UK Plastics Pact and its new ‘Get Plastic Wise’ campaign, a Five Point Plastics Plan which aims to tackle plastic waste in the UK and move towards a closed loop where plastic stays within the plastic economy, not the environment.

Sebastian Munden, General Manager of Unilever UKI, said: “We’ve been working on a solution for black plastic for some time, and this move to using detectable black plastic in our TRESemmé and Lynx bottles means we will potentially be removing around 2500 tonnes of plastic from the waste stream.

“Unilever has committed to ensuring that, globally, all of our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to using more recycled plastic content in our packaging.”

Going 3D in Spain
Ultimaker, the global leader in desktop 3D printing, has announced that Heineken is using its solutions to produce a variety of custom tools and functional machine parts to aid in manufacturing at the company’s brewery in Seville, Spain. Using a set of Ultimaker S5 printers, engineers at Heineken now design and print safety devices, tools and parts on-demand rather than outsourcing the job to external vendors, increasing production uptime and saving around 80% in production costs on the parts they 3D print.

“We’re still in the first stages of 3D printing, but we’ve already seen a reduction of costs in the applications that we found by 70-90% and also a decrease of delivery time of these applications of 70-90%,” said Isabelle Haenen, Global Supply Chain Procurement at Heineken. “Local manufacturing helps us a lot in increasing uptime, efficiency and output. We use 3D printing to optimise the manufacturing line, create safety and quality control tools, and create tools for our machines which that help us to reduce change over time. I think there will be even more purposes in the future.”

News in brief
Network transformation
Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread business, has selected Aryaka to streamline the performance of its business applications across its China sites. Headquartered in the UK and with 19,000 employees across 50 countries, Coats has already achieved a 300% improvement in employee user experience since deploying Aryaka networking services. The company is addressing the challenges of connecting its locations in China to its European offices by replacing its legacy, underperforming MPLS solution with Aryaka’s global managed connectivity delivered as a service.

“Aryaka was the only provider that was able to optimise and compress the traffic to our critical applications both in the cloud and on hosted datacentre providing a simple design and fully managed service,” said Tania Sanchez, Head of Global Architecture, Coats.

21-year landmark
Tetra Pak has published its 2019 Sustainability Report online, marking 21 years of sustainability reporting. “This year’s sustainability report shows many improvements that Tetra Pak is very proud of. Especially in the North European market where renewability is high on the agenda for both consumers and our customers,” says Berit Hoffmann, Marketing Director at Tetra Pak North Europe. “For example, over 80% of our European sales of fully renewable carton packages are in the UK, Scandinavia and the Baltics. This shows that these markets care about the sustainability performance of packaging, choosing Tetra Pak to bring them the solutions they need.”

Long-term thinking needed
Too many small to medium manufacturers are focused on stockpiling at the expense of long-term productivity planning, software specialist, Access Group, has said. Andy Brown, divisional team leader at the company, says reports indicate that many companies are becoming too focused on mitigating disruption from potential trade barriers at the expense of longer-term investment to improve productivity. He said: “The true objective should be to improve productivity over the longer-term in order to increase competitiveness in the context of global markets.”