16 September, 2019

Atlas Copco Compressors names Air Kraft as Distributor of the Year

02 April, 2015

Coventry-based Air Kraft Ltd. has been awarded the accolade of Atlas Copco Compressors’ Distributor of the Year for 2014.

NFPC Open Day attracts over 250 visitors

02 April, 2015

National Fluid Power Centre’s free-to attend Industry Open Day, held on 18 February, was a major success, with over 250 visitors in attendance. The yearly event has established itself as an important fixture for manufacturers/OEMs, distributors and end users of fluid power and control and automation equipment.

Learn to win against the cost of contamination

02 April, 2015

MP Filtri is to host a free training seminar on 7 October at the National Fluid Power Centre (NFPC), Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Back to school with Brammer and Buck & Hickman

06 March, 2015

Brammer, the UK supplier of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services, and Buck & Hickman, the UK distributor of tools, maintenance and health & safety products, are supporting local schools in the West Midlands by linking up with a highly innovative education scheme. Solutions for the Planet is a business, education and community engagement programme themed towards sustainability, energy and engineering. Balfour Beatty, Brammer, Buck & Hickman and Lafarge Tarmac are supporting the project as it aims to inspire young people, aged between 11 and 14, to be the scientists, engineers and responsible citizens of the future. The programme sees mentors from across the four businesses selected to work on an array of projects in six schools throughout the West Midlands. North East Wolverhampton Academy, Heath Park College and Colton Hills Community School in Wolverhampton, Lyndon School in Solihull, and Ninestiles School and Hodge Hill College in Birmingham are the schools involved. Mentors are helping the schoolchildren with their ‘Big Ideas’ tackling issues such as sustainability and work alongside them to develop simple, effective and economical solutions that could positively impact society, the economy and environment. Four Big Ideas days have been held already, with more planned for January. Brammer and Buck & Hickman have also hosted a successful Mentor Training Day at Brammer’s Centre of Excellence in Wolverhampton. Last year’s winners earned a visit to the Palace of Westminster to receive trophies and certificates from the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, so there is real incentive for this year’s participants. Dave Whittingham, Head of Human Resources at Brammer and Buck & Hickman, said: “Solutions for the Planet is becoming a highly successful way of promoting innovation and smart thinking from school children. We are proud to be a partner in the programme and to show our support for the development of young people’s skills and learning.” Once the project has completed its first phase in July 2015, the programme will be increased to 10 schools in the West Midlands, allowing more opportunities for Balfour Beatty, Brammer, Buck & Hickman and Lafarge Tarmac to support the development of young people in the future.

MF Hydraulics acquires Thamesair Swindon

17 February, 2015
Hydraulic distribution company, MF Hydraulics, has acquired pneumatic firm, Thamesair. Together covering most of the South with depots in Oxford, Swindon, Reading & Worcester, the companies intermix in becoming a knowledgeable hydraulic & pneumatic supplier. MF Hydraulics incorporated with Central Engineering Services and Central Hydraulic Services in 2000, creating the Centinal Group. Together the group distributes, designs, manufactures and markets a full range of hydraulic equipment, cable jointing, engineering products. It can now add pneumatics with Thamesair. Group chairman Les Jenkins commented: “Adding Thamesair to the group is a perfect match, bringing experience and new opportunities to the group. We are all very much looking forward to what the future brings.'

Jubilee scoops ‘Manufacturing Award’ first time

01 February, 2015

Jubilee Clips has come first in the Manufacturing category of the prestigious Medway Business Awards. Jubilee Clips reports that it is particularly pleased as this was the first time the company had entered the event. The 30th outing of the awards was presented by BBC news reader Rob Smith at a gala dinner held at Gillingham Football Club at the end of 2014 and was attended by local businesses and dignitaries. Medway is the largest conurbation South of London in the UK with over 260,000 inhabitants and an economy driven by manufacturing, with the sector contributing a third to the area’s GDP. The judges consider a range of factors in determining the winners, and although Jubilee has a rich history, having been based in Medway for 93 years, it was the present and the future that particularly impressed the panel. Targeted export growth in recent years and the wide spread of export markets, proving that Jubilee Clips is a global player, caught the attention of the judges with 12 per cent growth to European markets in 2014 and 20 per cent growth to markets further afield. Ongoing investment The judges were also inspired by the ongoing investment in technology and the in-house machine building programme, increasing automation and keeping the business at the cutting edge of technology and efficiency. Of high importance to the judges was the Jubilee apprentice scheme, which proactively recruits and trains the next generation of engineers. It wasn’t just the judges who were impressed by the Jubilee Apprenticeship scheme; one of the attendees, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, Rehman Chisti, was so impressed that he arranged a visit to the factory himself. He then shared his experience in a Commons discussion on Business Innovation and Skills congratulating, “businesses such as Jubilee Clips on providing excellent engineering apprenticeships”, a point supported by the Minister for Skills and Equalities, Nick Boles, “Businesses such as [Jubilee Clips] are leading this country into recovery and ensuring that that benefits everyone,” he said. Jubilee Clips’ managing director, Ian Jennings, commented: “Obviously, recognition of our efforts and achievements such as this is very rewarding, not just for Jubilee Clips but also our suppliers and customers – and to receive a mention in Parliament was pleasing too.” He continued: “The award is a credit to the whole team and a by-product of the hard work that happens here every day and that will continue to happen here every day.”

Atlas Copco opens custom engineering workshop

01 February, 2015

Atlas Copco’s Systems Hemel Hempstead custom engineering workshop was officially opened in January following the completion of a £680,000 (€870,000) upgrade. The workshop at Systems Hemel Hempstead – one of Atlas Copco’s six global competence centres that design and assemble bespoke compressed air and nitrogen generation packages primarily for the oil and gas industry – has more than doubled in size and been equipped with a range of new facilities in order to meet growing international demand for its services. Visiting the UK to open the expanded workshop at Systems Hemel Hempstead, Nico Delvaux, president of Compressor Technique at Atlas Copco, said: “As one of the first competence centres in our global Systems network, the Hemel Hempstead site was established in 1972 to serve customers operating in the North Sea but, since beginning to fulfil orders from oil and gas operators internationally in 2008, this facility has taken on even greater importance and the investment we have made is a testament to that. Today we have a custom engineering competence centre with staff, expertise, products and capabilities that are truly world-class. This will help us meet the long-term needs of the oil and gas industry and other industries for many years to come.” Expanded floor space The upgrade of the workshop in Hemel Hempstead has seen the total floor area expanded from its original 850m2 to 1950m2. A new mezzanine level has been built above a section of the workshop to accommodate, alongside some new offices, a dedicated viewing area for customers to witness product testing. An external 12m x 15m covered test area has also been built, adding a valuable additional space for testing large engineered packages in any weather. These packages can now be moved around in the workshop more easily thanks to the provision of two new 5-tonne cranes, trackways and controls, which complement three existing cranes. These additions increase working capacity and throughput, shortening lead times to the customer. The fluctuating man hours required to handle this type of work is done using a core of 45 Atlas Copco employees, with some work sub-contracted when necessary to handle peak demands. This represents approximately 20 more employees than a decade ago. Paul Frost, manager of Systems Hemel Hempstead, explained that, in addition to the new cranes, Atlas Copco has also renewed the paint facility, the grit blast facility and added a brand-new external facility where we air-cooled machines can be tested in the outdoor environment whilst also protecting the workforce from the elements. “We now do everything on site; we design, assemble, test, pack and deliver from Hemel Hempstead,” he said, adding that the company is proud to be investing in this local competence centre for custom engineered compressed air and nitrogen packages. 'Plug and play’ The majority of Systems Hemel Hempstead’s end products are modular ‘plug and play’ packaged solutions, custom-built and shipped with all components, such as compressors, dryers, filters, air receivers, nitrogen generators, instrumentation and control systems, on a single base frame for integration with land-based or offshore process installations. Frost explained: “Each project is different because customer requirements tend to be unique for the intended environment. We have recently supplied compressor packages which must operate in a range of temperatures from -40degC to +45degC in Russia and to an oil company in the Middle East where reliable operation at +55degC is required to withstand regular sand storms.” Bespoke solutions As the most technically advanced of Atlas Copco’s six strategically located custom engineering competence centres, the Systems Hemel Hempstead workshop plays a major role in the supply of bespoke solutions across the globe meeting the needs of demanding applications within the worldwide energy, industrial power, pharmaceutical, chemical and petrochemical markets.

Manufacturers press ahead with further growth in orders

01 February, 2015

New orders continued to expand for British manufacturers in the three months to January, but firms expect their export orders to tail-off in the coming quarter, according to the latest CBI Quarterly Industrial Trends Survey. The survey of 467 firms saw a rise in the volume of total new orders, led by strong demand at home and very modest growth in export orders. Manufacturing output rose at a similar pace to the previous quarter and it was notable that costs and prices fell, with unit costs edging down for the first time in over twelve years. Average domestic price deflation is at its fastest rate since 2010. Meanwhile, numbers employed in the manufacturing sector continued to grow at a solid pace. Over the next three months, firms anticipate new export orders to be flat, acting as a drag on total orders growth, while domestic orders are set to continue rising, if at a somewhat slower pace compared to previous quarters. Output is expected to continue growing modestly. However, access to skilled labour and capacity constraints are key factors cited as likely to limit output in the next quarter, and significantly more respondents expect price competition to limit export orders. Firms do, however, remain more optimistic about the general business situation than three months ago. Positive plant investment plans Looking to the year ahead, manufacturers’ plans for investment in plant and machinery have strengthened, while plans for spending on product and process innovation and training/retraining remain robust. Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said: “British manufacturers are still heading along the right path: new orders are up, bolstered by domestic demand and more people are getting work in factories across the UK. Exports have grown modestly, but there is a feeling that we will not see a repeat in the next quarter, especially with the Eurozone still treading water and battling deflation. “Falling oil prices should be positive for the UK economy overall, benefitting households and lowering costs for firms, although North Sea oil producers are being hit. With overall cost pressures contained as a result, it’s no surprise to see average domestic prices in the manufacturing sector falling at the fastest rate for five years.” Key findings Key findings for three months to January 2015 include: • 36 per cent of businesses reported an increase in total new orders, and 17 per cent a decrease, giving a balance of +20 per cent. • The rounded balance for new domestic orders (+15 per cent) was well above the long-run average (-5 per cent) with 30 per cent of respondents reporting orders up and 16 per cent down. • Export orders saw a return to growth (+4 per cent) following a fall in the previous quarter (-7 per cent). • 27 per cent of manufacturers said employment numbers were up, and 15 per cent said they were down, giving a balance of +12 per cent. • 25 per cent reported a rise in output volumes, and 15 per cent a decrease, giving a balance of +10 per cent. Key findings for the next quarter include: • 25 per cent of manufacturers expect total new orders to increase, and 14 per cent expect them to fall, giving a rounded balance of +11 per cent, the lowest since October 2012 (+8 per cent). • A rounded balance of +12 per cent expect new domestic orders to rise (23 per cent expect an increase, and 12 per cent a fall), but following the slight increase this quarter, export orders are predicted to be flat (+1 per cent; 17 per cent expect a rise, and 16 per cent a fall). • 25 per cent of firms anticipate a rise in output volumes, and 12 per cent a fall, giving a balance of +13 per cent. • 23 per cent expect employment to increase, and 11 per cent expect it to decrease, giving a balance of +13 per cent. • Expectations for growth in domestic and export prices remain negative (-6 per cent and -2 per cent respectively). Unit costs are expected to also fall slightly further (-5 per cent).

Boge recruits new business development appointment

04 January, 2015
Compressed air specialist Boge Compressors has appointed Ian Nicolson to the position of business development manager for Northern England. The appointment is in response to increased sales and service business for Boge in the region. In his new role, Nicolson is responsible for working alongside new and existing customers in the North of England to identify opportunities where they can reduce their energy costs and improve the efficiency of their compressed air systems. He will also provide customers with ‘tailor-made’ service packages designed to reduce overall compressed air net spending by businesses. “We are really pleased that Ian is joining us at this exciting juncture in Boge’s development,” said Mark Whitmore, general manager at Boge Compressors. “Ian has the skills and attitude to help Boge continue to grow in this competitive market, while further strengthening the excellent customer services that we are renowned for.” Prior to joining Boge in the role of business development manager, Nicolson studied at the University of Aberystwyth, where he graduated with an honours degree in Mathematics. “I am delighted to become part of the Boge team and look forward to developing strong relationships with our customers in Northern England,” he said. “This region has historically played a pivotal role the UK’s industrial offering and naturally in Boge’s development in the country. I will be looking to build on our success in this region as we continue to enhance our product and service offerings.”

CBI unveils package to keep the recovery motoring

12 December, 2014

Against a backdrop of solid UK growth but increasing global risks, the CBI is calling on the Chancellor to focus on infrastructure investment, encouraging innovation and removing barriers to enterprise, in the Autumn Statement.

Manufacturing Forum success for Brammer and Buck & Hickman

12 December, 2014

Brammer and Buck & Hickman recently hosted the eighth annual Manufacturing Forum at Silverstone. The event, an opportunity for Brammer and Buck & Hickman customers and partners to gather and discuss the current topics and issues in the manufacturing industry, was attended by more than 200 delegates.

MDS Rotherham stresses ‘systems engineering’ approach to energy efficiency

12 December, 2014

The Motor Driven Systems Conference visited The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham on Wednesday 29 October in the first of two vendor-hosted events aimed at helping industry professionals generate major financial savings from motor driven apparatus.

Brevini UK investment increases capacity

12 December, 2014

Brevini Power Transmission has completed the first stage of its development plan which will eventually see its two UK sites undergo expansion to increase its warehousing, distribution and gearbox servicing capacity. The initial investment was spent at the Scunthorpe location to optimise the gearbox service centre and expand the offices to create space for product training for customers and graduate employees.

Manufacturing Forum success for Brammer and Buck & Hickman

11 December, 2014
Brammer and Buck & Hickman recently hosted the eighth annual Manufacturing Forum at Silverstone. The event, an opportunity for Brammer and Buck & Hickman customers and partners to gather and discuss the current topics and issues in the manufacturing industry, was attended by more than 200 delegates. Among them were leaders from major manufacturers including Siemens, The Royal Mint and GKN Aerospace. Brammer and Buck & Hickman hosted several speakers, an awards ceremony, a networking lunch and panel discussion. There was also an opportunity for guests to try the virtual Formula One time trials or drive round the international circuit at Silverstone in Ferraris and Aston Martins. Brammer and Buck & Hickman showcased their Mobile Centres of Excellence along with the Specialist Tool Demonstration vehicles for visitors to explore. Guest speakers at the forum included behavioural expert Jez Rose, whose seminar explored whether the success of a business is based on the people within it. Other speakers included managing director of Weatherford, Daryl Stroud, who explored the supply chain in manufacturing, Douglas Dawson, COO at Caparo discussing the challenges of attracting young people into manufacturing and Warren Limbert from innovative engineering company, Lambert, on its successful apprenticeship and mentoring programmes.

First London ParkerStore opens for business

11 December, 2014
Parker Hannifin, in partnership with distributor Hopespare Ltd., has opened the first London ParkerStore, creating the first self-serve supermarket for hydraulics and pneumatics products in the capital. Products in the new store, run by Hopespare at Woodall Road in Enfield, are organised into categories and part numbers, which means customers can browse at leisure for items such as air brake parts, couplers and filters. There is an in-store ‘while-you-wait’ hose assembly service, so people can take a seat, enjoy a drink and watch their product being made. All store staff have received the British Fluid Power Association’s skills training programme and are qualified to assemble a hose correctly and safely. Store manager Richard Durrant commented: “We’ve moved away from the traditional trade counter format to a much more relaxed shopping experience, complete with customer seating and refreshments. People can pop in, browse around and handle product without any commitment to purchase. They decide what they want for themselves and just tell us if they want to buy something or need help solving technical problems.” He continued: “Our team has loads of experience in hydraulics and pneumatics and we’re used to handling all sorts of queries – from very technical industry problems, to diagnosing what’s needed from a picture on a customer’s mobile. And as an official Parker store, we also sell genuine parts and fittings that are guaranteed to match. So it’s much easier than ever to buy hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical and motion control products in north London.” The new format store is already proving a hit with customers. Ben Bradford of Glendining Highways said: “We buy all sorts of hydraulic parts and air tools and with old trade counters, you can’t see anything. This shop is much better. Instead of relying on a book, you have loads of products on view and advice to help you get the right parts, first time round.” Rob Mead of BIZ Karts added: “It’s really well organised. Everything’s clean and modern, and the products are nicely displayed. They’ve made hoses and fittings for us and the staff were great to deal with, we wouldn’t go anywhere else now.” The store opening hours are 8.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 12.00noon on Saturday. Customers can also call the technical helpline on 0208 804 9001.

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