I n manufacturing technology, there is a current trend in data exchange and automation which is called Industry 4.0 (pronounced four point zero). It is mainly composed of the internet of things, cognitive computing, cyber-physical systems, and cloud computing. Industry 4.0 is also being called the fourth industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 is about digitisation that brings the physical and virtual worlds closer together, ensuring that each learn from one another. Although Industry 4.0 has set out to transform the manner by which companies approach business, the UK is lagging behind in this and has a hurdle to climb to keep up with not only other European countries, but other international countries too.
A Warwickshire-based metal forming specialist is celebrating a major transformation in fortunes just one year after a Management Buy-In (MBI) was completed with a sales boost.
Aerospace & defence manufacturing usually commands a lot of expertise, as both industries deal with production of systems with both complex designs and functionality. Therefore, their entire manufacturing processes are carried out with an extra level of precision, since any small defect will inevitably lead to the loss of multiple lives.
For instance, whenever aircraft are in the air, the lives of those in it are solely dependent on how well the systems of the aircraft were designed, developed and manufactured. Any minor errors that are made during the design, development or manufacture of any one of the thousands of components in the aircraft, will potentially lead to a significant number of fatalities. The same applies to any of the defence vehicles which are used by our military personnel, where the lives of the men and women in uniform using them, are dependent on how well these machines were designed, assembled and tested.
A vehicle frame forms the basis of an automobile which, known as the chassis, this frame supports the sub-assemblies and other components of the car. The chassis also provides stability to the car from the variety of forces and impacts that it has to sustain throughout its life. The construction of the frame is of a uni-body type in the case of passenger cars and most commercial vehicles, such as trucks, are produced with a body-on-frame construction.
The automotive industry is continuously changing and one of the greatest new focuses in this industry is an emphasis on lightening materials used in the construction of vehicles. Pressings are produced by stamping and it is this method that is being used to replace some of the manufacturing methods from the past.
Materials and manufacturing processes remains an essential component of industrial design education. But for many students and young designers, they are still unsure of their comfort with these complex issues and how they affect their designs.
After many months of arduous due diligence, the Napier team from Left Hand Press finally acquired 90% of Pressmark Pressings Limited in a project which was codenamed Sandstone. The team, which has been led by Alan Gardner through the acquisition, brings a wealth of experience to Pressmark. Leading the new team will be Chairman, Les Wilkins, who brings exceptional experience from the press industry, which has been evolved over 40 years. Les has headed up OEM plants for Rover and BMW, as well as major tier 1 plants’ Les has also worked as a consultant for major automotive OEM’s in both Japan and China too. When questioned about the acquisition Les said “Pressmark is a great company with lots of opportunities and I am looking forward to working with the team to develop this further. We want to build on the excellent reputation that Pressmark have for Quality, Cost and Delivery.”
Heading up the executive team will be Chief Executive, John Nollett, who brings a wealth of knowledge from the manufacturing sector, where he has been involved in design, manufacture and assembly direct into automotive OEM’s. On speaking with John he spoke about the opportunity saying “I have been fortunate enough to have spent some time with the existing team at Pressmark, learning about their capabilities and can honestly say that the company has all of the fundamental structures in place that we need to develop this business further. The team here are great and I am truly looking forward to developing some strong relationships with them, along with our Customers and Suppliers alike to drive this business forward.” He went on to say “Based in the Atherstone, Warwickshire, we are ideally situated to fulfil the needs of the UK manufacturing sector. There is a great automotive and manufacturing heritage locally within the Midlands Engine and it will be fantastic to draw upon that experience as we grow our business here in the Midlands.”
Finally, Alan Gardner brings significant change management experience, along with his financial expertise, where he worked at partner level within KPMG. Alan has had a lot of experience working alongside manufacturing business throughout his career. Holding the position of Finance Director, Alan spoke of the deal saying “Pressmark is an ideal acquisition for Left Hand Press, as it brings a variety of large bed presses with ample free capacity to grow the business, not only in the automotive sector, where it is strong, but other sectors too. With the financial support that we have, along with the experience that both John and Les bring to the team, I am excited about the future for Pressmark.”