Manufacturing Sector Key stats
Manufacturing contributes £6.7 trillion to the global economy. Contrary to widespread perceptions, UK manufacturing is thriving, with the UK currently the world’s eighth largest industrial nation. If current growth trends continue, the UK will break into the top five by 2021. In the UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of GVA, 44% of total UK exports, 70% of business R&D, and directly employs 2.6 million people. (The Manufacturer)
What’s keeping UK manufacturing business owners and decision-makers awake at night?
71% of UK manufacturers say Brexit is damaging strategic-planning and business prospects
64% say Brexit will cause chaos for the manufacturing sector
55% say the government could do more to promote exports (The Manufacturer)
Menzies Manufacturing Week
The Manufacturing team at Menzies spent a day with their clients to gain an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day manufacturing processes and efficiencies. The aim was to expand our knowledge through hands-on involvement on the factory floor.
Below is a summary of their experiences.
Caroline Milton along with Directors, Tim Croxson and David Giles of William Croxson & Son Limited visited leading glass manufacturer Encirc in Chester as part of Menzies Manufacturing Week. Croxsons, a fifth generation family owned business, trading for almost 150 years, purchase over 150m bottles a year from Encirc and it was fascinating to find out more about the glass manufacturing process.
Encirc offer a complete supply chain service and currently produces more than 3 billion bottles a year from its three sites in Cheshire England, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and Milan, Italy. Encirc operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We were given a site tour of Encirc’s 200 hectare Cheshire site, and learnt about hot end and cold end glass manufacturing processes. With two furnaces heating sand, soda ash and limestone to over 1500 degrees they produce flint and amber glass via 13 glass production lines. It was certainly impressive to watch.
Encirc is clearly aware of need to take care of their environment and have invested heavily in their own rail service. They now get delivered 97% of sand and 65% of cullett (recycled glass) by rail. This has saved 6,592 lorry movements per annum.
As Croxsons are a leading international business in glass bottle design and supply, quality is of utmost importance and Tim was pleased to see a number of their bottles mid production during our tour.
Thermco Systems (Tetreon)
Andrew England spent a day with Ian Holmes, Senior Programme Engineer at Thermco Systems (Tetreon), as part of Menzies Manufacturing Week. Tetreon designs and manufactures furnace systems, custom wet benches and chemical handling equipment for the semiconductor, MEMS, LED, photovoltaic and nanotechnologies industries.
It was fascinating to learn about the development processes for key products and the level of expertise and experience that is required to deliver a market leading product. This experience is supplemented by careful planning and a high level of attention to detail down to small things like the routing and coiling of internal wiring. This combination allows the furnace machines to be developed and tested at the company’s premises and then efficiently disassembled for transport to a customer’s site where they can be installed and tested effectively.
It was also interesting to gain an insight into some of the practical challenges facing a manufacturing business developing bespoke products to customers’ demands. These challenges include changes in specification and the consequential impacts; the importance of effective project management around stock holding, costs, quality of bought in materials and development and delivery timescales; and retention and recruitment of skilled and experienced staff.
As part of their approach to managing the skills challenge, the company has invested in apprenticeships to develop the next generation of staff.
As part of the day Andy tried his hand at plastic welding and it is clear that this is not where his future lies!
Charlotte Langdon visited Polystar Plastics Limited as part of Menzies Manufacturing Week meeting with Florin Baldean and Ralph Arrow. Polystar Plastics have been operating since 1993 and is one of the fastest growing and most respected independently owned polythene manufacturers in the UK.
They provide the expertise, technical excellence and quality bespoke polythene products requested by their customers. The company’s investment in the latest polythene extruders enables them to manufacture a wide range of specialist films and packaging. The combination of technology and experience means every product they manufacture is unmatched in quality or value, earning them the reputation as one of the leading polythene manufacturers in the UK.
The company has 19 polythene extruders producing films from 150mm to 7,500mm and 11 conversion lines specialising in the production of most forms of polythene packaging such as Shrink and Mailing Films, Pallet Covers, Polythene Bags, Horticultural Polythene and Refuse Sacks and as part of Charlotte Langdon’s visit she was able to see the production process in action. she was amazed by the height of the polythene extruders and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
As part of its five year plan, the company aims to become the UK’s ‘go to’ supplier for any and all packaging requirements, across every market sector. In addition, they are looking to purchase new and more efficient machines, consider automation and reduce waste. Charlotte Langdon wishes them every success for the future and would like to thank them for the opportunity to expand on her knowledge of the manufacturing industry.