Engineering Industry Roundup: April 2017

 

Engineering Industry Roundup April 2017Renown Engineering is bringing you the biggest stories and latest news in the engineering, fabrication, and manufacturing industry in a bitesize industry roundup. This month we are looking at the continuing optimism in the UK manufacturing industry, improvements in the defence sector, and the North East’s focus on R&D.

Optimism in UK Manufacturing Continues

April has seen the manufacturing positivity streak continue. UK manufacturing is on the up, exports are increasing, and the automotive industry is at a 3-year high. Not only is this contributing to the UK’s economy post-Brexit, but it is also helping to improve the industry’s employment market.

A report from the independent job board, CV Library has found that vacancies and salaries have improved, and job applications have risen by 45.5% since the last quarter in 2017. Manufacturing was the top industry for job application growth over the period, indicating that the sector’s job market is significantly expanding and strengthening. It also suggests that more people are eager to become involved in the industry, which is helping to close the skills shortage that is being experienced.Optimism-In-Engineering-Renown-Engineering-Industry-Roundup

Further evidence that UK manufacturing is growing in 2017 comes from the recent East Midlands Manufacturing and Engineering Conference and Expo. A survey of the first 3 months of the year determined that there has been an increase in both domestic sales (50% growth) and overseas sales (40% growth). This has resulted in nearly 50% of manufacturers needing to increase their workforce to meet the demand.

Chris Hobson, director of policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “It’s great to see our manufacturers accelerate into 2017, taking advantage of growth in both domestic and international markets, aided by a favourable pound for those exporting. 

 Boost in the UK Defence Sector 

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The UK has seen a boost in the defence industry with a number of contracts to support the Ministry of Defence. The contracts, worth a combined £539m are estimated to sustain more than 130 jobs in the UK.

The projects involve producing missiles for the new F-35 stealth fighters, which is expected to begin its service on the Typhoon fighter aircraft in 2018. There will also be improvements made to the Royal Navy’s anti-defence system, the Sea Viper weapon. The largest of the contracts are going to CAMM defence missiles for the Ministry of Defence. All of the above contracts have been awarded to weapons manufacturer and major defence supplier, MDBA.  

Sir Michael Fallon, the secretary of state, said: “Backed by our rising defence budget, these contracts will sustain high-skilled jobs across the UK and demonstrate that strong defence and a strong economy go hand in hand.”

According to the Telegraph, the UK’s defence budget increased for the first time in six years last year, to £35.1bn.

North East Manufacturers Look to R&D Investments

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According to a Rethink Manufacturing report by KPMG, North East manufacturers are aiming to grow their businesses through investments in R&D (research and development).

The report found that 72% of manufacturers based in the North East believe that innovation is vital to the industry. A third of these aimed to focus on new technology as one of their top three internal factors that would help increase turnover and improve productivity.

It is clear that the arrival of Industry 4.0, ‘smart factories’ which are operated with the latest digital technology is having a significant impact on manufacturer’s growth strategies, with 39% saying Industry 4.0 affected their business model. Whilst more than half (56%) believed it would create an opportunity to revitalise UK manufacturing.

Debbie Reith, Senior Manager, Innovation Reliefs and Incentives at KPMG in Newcastle, said: “The impact and importance of innovation for UK industry has been clearly recognised by manufacturers in the North East.

Reith added: “The Government has already announced or launched a host of initiatives that champion innovation, such as its £2bn R&D fund for emerging technology, which includes artificial intelligence and robotics, and changes to make claiming R&D tax credits easier.

We hope you enjoyed this month’s industry round-up. Join us again in May for the latest in the industry. For regular insights into the world of engineering and manufacturing, you can follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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