TPP & TTIP | What Do They Mean For Manufacturing?

Untitled design (7)There’s been a lot of talk in the Media about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week as it’s finally been agreed upon between states after a 12 year negotiation. Though the TPP does not directly affect the UK there is a similar agreement in negotiation called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which is between the US and various EU countries. These agreements are meant to encourage Free Trade and are being sold as ‘good for everyone.’ It’s very obvious that this is almost never the case in the world of business. Continue reading

How do we solve the skills gap in the UK?

skills gap graphicA recent survey revealed that Finance Directors are more worried about the skills shortage in the UK than they are about the UK remaining in Europe. In fact, it ranked second only to concerns regarding the oil price. A worrying statement!

We ourselves have written previously about the skills shortage in engineering indicating that the practical skills needed are not being taught early enough. The misheld perception that engineering jobs are ‘dirty’ and carried out in oil covered overalls or while wearing hard hats on a building site is a perception we need to change. Schools need to open the eyes of their students to the possibilities of engineering careers out there. We also need to ensure that the practical skills that come with these jobs are taught and practiced throughout any period of education. There is little point in learning the theory of how to do something for 3 or 4 years and then not being able to apply that practically when looking for employment.

It seems, that these concerns do not only relate to engineering, but to employment as a whole in the UK. A report by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants recently stated that UK school leavers are the worst in Europe for essential skills. Whether they are leaving school at 18 or graduating later, employers state that students are lacking the skills they are looking for. It seems the most basic skills such as communication and teamwork are a struggle for many and is given as a major factor when deciding whether to employ a young person. Continue reading

3D Printing | Additive Manufacture Moves From Prototype To Production

CNC machineTraditionally 3D printing, or ‘Additive Manufacture’ has been used mainly to create prototypes and showcase design ideas. The speed with which Additive Manufacture (AM) can take place along with the versatility of the manufacture method causes it to be the most obvious choice when creating new designs.

An example of where AM is still being used for it’s traditional versatility is the surgeons of Great Ormond Street Hospital using a 3D printer to create a model of a patients’ Trachea. The surgeons had to perform a delicate surgery on a child. They used a CT scanner to map the boys’ Trachea, 3D printed an exact model of it and then assessed which surgical instruments fit the tiny spaces best. Continue reading

Electric Car Industry Boosting Busbar Uptake

various busbarsIn the majority of instances a busbar is a better choice for conduction needs however the uptake of busbars as standard parts has been somewhat slower than one might imagine when looking at all the benefits they bring. The benefits over cabling in most instances are quite well documented.

  • Versatility both in terms of the various connections and the ease with which busbars are installed and changed means they are quicker and easier to slot into design work
  • Physical costs of installing busbars are lower because they are easier to install and wiring errors are eliminated
  • Busbars can be made to order and between the various different material make-ups there are busbars fit for almost any purpose
  • Busbars allow better thermal management both due to their inherently better connections and also their sleeker design, which allows for greater space for airflow or cooling systems
  • Busbars can connect at right angles, the space saved by using busbars because significant when compared to large bundles of cables required in many projects
  • Because of their modular design busbars can deal with changing energy loads far better than traditional cables
  • Although initial material/part costs may be higher for a busbar solution in the majority of cases the labour saving plus the saving over the lifetime of the materials (such as alterations) will more than recoup that initial outlay

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Exciting Developments in Solar Energy in 2015

Solar Power Innovations 2015

Solar Energy is having some ups and downs in 2015. Whilst more and more governments are committing to increasing their Solar Energy production output some of the biggest deals we were getting excited about seem to be stalling a little. News of the deals being done within the industry means a lot to us, but isn’t always the most exciting or accessible content for everyone to read.

With that in mind here are the 4 Solar Energy Projects or Innovations that have really been picking up speed in 2015 that we think could have a big impact in the near future. Continue reading