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Digital manufacturing specialist Protolabs is to acquire 3D Hubs, creating what it says will be the world’s broadest digital manufacturing offering for custom parts.
Operating from manufacturing facilities across three continents, Protolabs helps customers to accelerate product development in a number of industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, heavy industry and electronics.
QFS Technologies, a specialist supplier of body-in-white (BIW) parts to the automotive industry has invested in a new Trumpf TruLaser Cell 5030 five-axis (3D) laser cutter.
The company has an older TRUMPF five-axis machine but realised that the higher performance and advanced features of the new machine would give it a competitive advantage – particularly in new project work for a major customer.
UK manufacturer Fine Tubes says that it has seen demand for safety-critical tubes increase across the international nuclear sector.
Solus Testing has improved the quality and accuracy of its weld testing services with the addition of the latest hardness measurement technology.
In line with evolving customer requirements it has invested in a new Innovatest FALCON hardness testing machine from Bowers Group
Following a period of investment in new machinery and as part of its growth plans, Birmingham based Tooling 2000 have appointed three new Apprentice Engineering Technicians.
Following a competitive process, Jade Edmead, Luqmaan Iqbal and Owen Smith were successful in gaining the roles.
Tooling 2000 specialises in prototype and production tooling manufacture, 3- and 5-axis machining, 5-axis laser cutting and jig & fixture manufacture.
Small to medium-sized (SME) manufacturers are being encouraged to have their say on trading beyond Brexit as part of the latest Manufacturing Barometer.
Organised by SWMAS (The South West Manufacturing Advisory Service) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), the country’s largest survey of its kind is looking to find out how companies are coping with the early months of life after leaving the EU and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest Contract Manufacturing Index showed that the subcontracting market was down 46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 compared to the previous quarter. Year on year though the market barely moved, ending 2021 1% high than it ended 2020.
Those figures, though, conceal a volatile 12 months.
A strong start to the year was followed by a dramatic fall at the start of the March lockdown. A strong recovery followed in the summer, with activity falling back again from September.
Alucast’s commitment to investing in new technology and its people was praised during a recent visit by the Mayor of the West Midlands.
Andy Street received a socially distanced tour of the aluminium casting specialist’s facility in Wednesbury to understand how the company is bouncing back from Covid-19 by targeting new opportunities in lightweighting - a major growth market with castings at its heart.
Heat management specialist Zircotec is working with Dolphin N2 and Brighton University to develop a near-zero emission internal combustion engine that has the potential to transform the commercial powertrain market.
Zircotec provides the advanced thermal coatings and precision, ceramically coated components, along with its patented encapsulated heatshields that meet the very high demands of this recuperated split-cycle, next generation engine.
Aluminium Matrix Composites (AMC) manufacturer Alvant is working towards step change in achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
It is showing the aerospace industry what is possible through investing in sustainable materials for new, more fuel-efficient aircraft.
The Basingstoke-based company and global-leading Safran Landing Systems have partnered on a two-year, £28 million, aerospace project titled ‘Large Landing Gear of the Future’.
Calder Group has launched Calder Precision Engineering, a wholly owned division, integrating the capability, capacity and technologies of Midland Aerospace, Helander Precision Engineering and Leeds Bronze Engineering.
Tim Pryce, the CEO of Calder Precision Engineering, said: “The decision to unite the companies under one umbrella reflects the greater agility that can be achieved from integrating their incredible resources and thus enhance the value we can bring our customers.
A new laser machine tool is opening up application opportunities for Fimark, a specialist subcontractor focused on laser etching, engraving, cutting and texturing.
The AgieCharmilles LASER P 400U has strengthened the company’s existing capabilities and enabled it to develop new application opportunities in the laser 3D market.
Charles Dean, Fimark’s managing director, says: “Laser texturing is a fully-digitalised surface engineering process that has huge potential.
Fabrication is nearing completion and assembly underway on a £1 million 250kW gravity-based energy storage demonstrator at the port of Leith.
Fife fabricator AJS Production was contracted to deliver the base frame and the weight baskets for the innovative Gravitricity prototype. The system’s lattice tower has been fabricated by ESL engineers in Hull, while custom-built winches and control modules have been made by international winch specialists Huisman at its factory in the Czech Republic and are currently being shipped to Leith.
Excel Precision has recorded several consecutive months of record sales figures during the Covid pandemic. This has spurred investment in a new Sodick ALC600G CNC wire-erosion machine from Sodi-Tech EDM.
The machine, which is sited at the company’s Birmingham facility, adds to an identical model at its Gloucester site – and becomes the sixth Sodick EDM across all three Excel Precision locations (Leeds, Gloucester and Birmingham).
Birmingham-based Burcas has invested in a new large-capacity vertical machining centre to produce tooling, prototypes and high precision components for the nuclear sector.
The Doosan Mynx 9500/50 machine was supplied by Mills CNC and has also been used to machine high-precision tungsten carbide and HSS knives and blades for customers in the paper and packaging sector.
Lincoln-based Micrometric has identified new applications for a high-precision tube laser that is predominantly used to produce medical components.
The company, which produces fine parts and precision components for a range of customers in the UK, Europe and across the world, has now added a Coherent’s StarCut Tube system to its range of cutting equipment.
Advances in accessibility, reliability, materials offering, and part quality have made 3D printers a powerful tool for implementing continuous improvement initiatives, writes Dave Veisz, VP Engineering at MakerBot.
Continuous improvement (CI) is not a new concept. In order to create a competitive advantage, organisations should focus on making small, incremental improvements as rapidly as possible, instead of relying on large-scale changes that can be costly and disruptive to implement.
A Scottish supply chain collaboration is aiming to deliver a production-ready and safety certified hydrogen powered train by November 2021.
Sarginsons is looking forward to growth in 2021 following a year of investment.
The Coventry-based lightweight castings and component specialist has invested in technology and people despite the challenges of Covid-19 and has even been winning new contracts during the pandemic.
Managing Director Anthony Evans said the company’s diversification and increased consultancy activity through the Sarginsons Technology Centre could be the catalyst for growth in 2021.
Rather than stalling strategic investments in automation and digital technologies in order to control costs, some high-value manufacturers are accelerating such plans in a bid to gain market share or drive additional enterprise value in recovery.
However, playing the automation advantage requires careful consideration at the outset, writes Alec McCullie of Vendigital.