Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena

Going micro
Earlier this year, Tel-Aviv based additive manufacturing innovator, Nanofabrica, commercially launched its micro 3D printing technology that reaches micron-level accuracy over a build envelope of 5cm x 5 cm x 10 cm. This ground-breaking technology now provides a viable mass manufacturing alternative to traditional manufacturing processes such as micro molding, and its characteristics open up the opportunity for significant innovation in product design and development.

Nanofabrica’s technology is much more agile and flexible than traditional alternative manufacturing technologies; the requirement for no tooling meaning that designs can be altered with little expense.

Through the use of a micro additive manufacturing process, manufacturers can also optimise workflow, plus significant operational cost benefits are now attainable at the micro manufacturing level.

While the Nanofabrica micron-level additive manufacturing process can cater for high volume applications (multiple thousands of small parts and components fitting easily in the machine’s build envelope), the introduction of a 3D printing solution for micro manufacturers also means that OEMs are able to reduce the reliance on economies of scale, as the technology makes full production runs measured in thousands as inexpensive as producing one. The Nanofabrica technology makes low to medium-volume production runs possible that have previously been uneconomic due to the high tooling and set-up costs associated with traditional manufacturing alternatives.

Low carbon future
Veolia, the UK’s leading environmental solutions provider, has launched a new web based platform for the UK that can evaluate the complete carbon and water use of business activities. Aimed at helping organisations determine their real carbon footprint, the tool, called GreenPath, provides a true picture of achievement, carries out biodiversity diagnoses at the scale of a physical site, and contributes to strategic future planning.

Unique in the market, GreenPath is fully adapted to measuring impacts from energy, water, and waste operations and has been designed to integrate future resource efficiency activities. Designed to deliver site-wide analyses GreenPath will help all kinds of businesses and public sector organisations meet their commitments for carbon reporting covering footprint calculation and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction, potentially saving them thousands of pounds per year. It will also help organisations of all sizes meet their own regulatory obligations and achieve their environmental performance objectives through long-term improvement plans.

Externally recognised, the tool complies with international standards including ISO 140641, ISO 14069 Standards, and the GHG Protocol, and was certified in November 2018 by the Interprofessional Technical Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies, CITEPA, based in Paris. To ensure accuracy and compliance the platform is continuously updated to take account of legal and scientific changes, and tracks indicators over time to produce a wide range of reports. The tool is also upgradeable to enable integration of new activities on demand.

World excellence
An £8.9 million centre to help companies benefit from lightweight manufacturing technology has been officially opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will develop lighter, more efficient, components for high-value industries, including automotive and aerospace. It also has the potential to benefit other enterprises looking to replace traditional manufacturing processes and materials with the next generation of innovative solutions to help meet the engineering challenges of today and tomorrow.

The centre, operated by the University of Strathclyde, is the first stage of establishing the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute Scotland that aims to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, explained what the new centre will bring: “The new centre provides the skills and services needed to place Scottish industry at the forefront of lightweight manufacturing, helping companies of all sizes compete globally. This launch marks an important milestone in Scotland’s innovation journey, and we look forward to working side-by-side with businesses around the country.”

Certification achieved
Wren Kitchens has been internationally commended for its manufacturing facilities in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Wren’s state-of-the-art factories have recently achieved an official stamp of approval by the worldwide standard-setting body – International Standards Organisation (ISO).

After extensive assessments, Wren achieved the following recognitions:

  • Wren’s factories in Barton-upon-Humber and Howden have been awarded with ISO 9001. It recognises the kitchen retailers’ efforts to continually improve and streamline the performance of the business
  • Howden has been certified with one of the newest and most highly commended – ISO 45001 which focuses on employee’s health, safety and welfare. It has also achieved ISO 14001, for proactively minimising its environmental impact

Wren is confident in replicating its success with ISO 45001, 9001 and 14001 at its remaining sites, with an eight-day audit planned in the next few months.

Wren Kitchens Manufacturing and Logistics Director, Rafal Klimek, said: “These recognitions further cement our name as an industry-leading kitchen manufacturer, and it’s thanks to the tremendous efforts of our Wren family for making this possible.

“We’re proud to say that we’re celebrating our tenth year in business and as we continue to expand at pace, we’re focusing on streamlining our processes and further developing initiatives to create a happy, safe and healthy workplace.” To educate its employees on new equipment and safety procedures, Wren has introduced a new training academy which is a simulated factory setting packed full of equipment. Every week it enhances the knowledge of around 200 people.

To further strengthen its manufacturing facilities, the company recently announced plans of opening a £120 million factory in Barton-upon-Humber by 2021, employing a further 1200 people.

News in brief
Award winners
The HARTING Technology Group has received a coveted German Innovation Award 2019 for its ix Industrial range. The pioneering connector impressed the German Design Council and won the award for ‘Excellence in Business to Business’.

“This is the third award acknowledging ix Industrial. I see this as clear proof that we have clearly understood the sign of the times with our ix Industrial and have created the future miniaturised interface for Ethernet in the industrial arena,” commented Jonas Diekmann, Technical Editor at HARTING Electronics.

Are you compliant?
The German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce is warning that the newly created German Packaging Register (ZSVR) has passed on some 2000 discrepancies in reported packaging data to the relevant German authorities for legal enforcement. Affected companies can expect severe financial penalties for the breaches. The Chamber therefore advises British companies to check their German packaging obligations and license their packaging if necessary.

The new Register has been operating since January this year and since then companies have been legally obliged to report their packaging data to both their chosen recycling scheme and the Register. To be legally compliant, British companies need to sign up with the Register http://lucid.verpackungsregister.org/ and join a German recycling scheme, which will license the packaging for a fee.

Second wave rollout
Following Transatel’s successful delivery into the UK, Germany and Italy for Jaguar Land Rover in 2018, Wave 2 of the personal SIM card and mobile data plan services deployment programme launched in May of this year. During Wave 2, Jaguar and Land Rover dealers in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France, will begin providing Ubigi SIM cards to the owners of the latest vehicle models. Jaguar Land Rover offers customers a three-year prefunded data bundle with the latest vehicle models, which includes the option for the customer to purchase additional data top-up packages if desired.