Virtual exhibition from Made in Group

With the news that the ‘Made In the Midlands’ and ‘Made in Yorkshire’ exhibitions will no longer go ahead due to COVID-19, the Made in Group has introduced Backing Britain Live 2020 – an immersive, virtual experience.

Jason Pitt, CEO of the Made in Group, says: “These exhibitions are significant events to which many members and visitors look forward but, like many aspects of our current lives, we’ve had to make adjustments. Although I predict full-scale lockdown will not continue into the summer, government leads us to believe that social distancing measures will remain for months to come. Large-scale gatherings will remain unsafe until the population has some immunity or the virus is eradicated. Despite this, I’m pleased to say that we’ve found an alternative way of delivering our expos safely and innovatively.”
On 17 August 2020, the Made in Group will launch a digital exhibition. Called Backing Britain Live 2020, the event will be an immersive experience between the digital and physical.
“We’re an innovative organisation when it comes to technology; we do more than many realise,” says Pitt. “As a business, we’ve developed a digital platform that allows members to create their own social media microsite, upload news and attend virtual webinars, and will soon include virtual mastermind groups, Q&A sessions and panel discussions.”
The event will be hosted at, where the entire exhibition hall will have virtual access to booths, interactive seminars and networking areas. According to the Made in Group, the process will be very user friendly and easy to navigate. Not only will visitors have a unique experience online, but they will receive physical goodie bags delivered to their door that are set to include: the 100-page Backing Britain 2020 book, consisting of positive manufacturing news and information about exhibitors; a large printed poster of the exhibition hall; a Backing Britain lanyard; and social posters.
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Z axis extended on customer machine

When approached by one of the UK’s leading thermoforming toolmakers with a request to increase the Z axis on one of its vertical machining centres by 1000 mm, XYZ Machine Tools was not in the least bit daunted.

By reconfiguring the machine using a specially designed riser block, XYZ managed to increase the standard minimum spindle nose to table dimension of 100 mm, taking it to 1050 mm, while maintaining the standard Z-axis travel to give a range of 1050 to 1550 mm from spindle to table. These changes were achieved in a short period of time, with the modification being accommodated within new guarding and sheet-metal work designed by XYZ.
With the build complete, the machine was put through the standard testing procedure undergone by every XYZ Machine before despatch, which includes the Renishaw Ballbar test. Once testing was complete, the customer was happy to take delivery straightaway. The machine was shipped on 24 April.
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Major investment at Inishowen

Fabrication and CNC machining subcontractor Inishowen Engineering has increased the size of its production facility in County Donegal. The move follows an €11m investment in a new 160,000 sq ft factory that opened on a 7-acre site in Drumfries, in early 2019. As part of the expansion programme, which started in April 2017, an extra €19m has been spent on machine tools.

As well as a number of Bystronic laser cutters, also on site from the same source are seven press brakes, including two Bystronic Xpert 6 m, 650 tonne capacity machines that arrived in 2019.
The increasing size of components going through the factory necessitated a press braking cell to bend up to 12 m lengths, hence the installation of two Bystronic Xperts. These machines are positioned side by side so that they can be used individually or in tandem, mirroring the earlier purchase of a pair of 400 tonne, 4 m press brakes.
Half of all profiled sheet that is folded in the factory is less than 1 m in length. This factor proved to be the reason for the purchase in 2015 of an Xpert 40 (1 m, 40 tonne capacity) press brake that owner and managing director Michael McKinney says is at least one-third faster at bending smaller components than larger machines.
The extra speed translates into higher productivity and, in addition, the machine does not draw as much power, just 7.5 kW instead of typically 30 kW for a large press brake, so electricity bills are lower. Inishowen’s acquisition was so successful in raising the profitability of smaller component production that, two years later, the folding department added the next larger model in the Xpert range with 1.5 m/80 tonne capacity.
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Rental scheme boosts confidence

With the coronavirus causing so much uncertainty in the marketplace, many companies are understandably hesitant to invest in new machinery right now, even if they have a legitimate need. With this thought in mind, CNC machine-tool distributor Ward Hi-Tech has re-launched its ‘Confidence Package’, a simple rental scheme that enables users to lease a new CNC lathe or machining centre on a short or long-term basis. The machine can be purchased outright at the end of the rental period (with the rentals taken as a deposit) or simply returned, thus taking away the worry of long-term commitment.

Ward Hi-Tech business manager, Paul Eaton, says: “We’re extremely sympathetic to the dilemma that many customers find themselves in at the moment. They may be busy themselves, or with the manufacture of parts to help fight the virus, but with all the gloomy news they may lack the confidence to invest in a new machine tool right now, even if it appears sensible to do so.”
By taking advantage of the Ward Hi-Tech Confidence Package, any manufacturer with a current machine-tool requirement can select a new CNC lathe or machining centre from the company’s large showroom stock and decide which rental period best suits their needs. A varied stock of CNC lathes and machining centres is available, including lathes with chuck sizes from 8” to 32”, and vertical machining centres offering X-axis travel dimensions from 720 to 2600 mm.
Ward Hi-Tech is also able to provide outright purchase funding packages, utilising the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The scheme includes 12 months’ interest contribution and no personal guarantees up to an investment of £250,000.
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0114 2560333

AR proving crucial in ventilator production

A provider of industrial innovation technology is supporting the UK’s call for more ventilators through the power of augmented reality (AR).

Industrial 4.0 , Augmented reality concept. Hand holding tablet with AR service , maintenance application and calling technician for check destroy part of smart machine in smart factory background

PTC has been announced as one of the partners in the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium led by High Value Manufacturing Catapult CEO Dick Elsy and a host of the engineering businesses, including Ford Motor Co, GKN Aerospace, McLaren, Airbus, Meggitt and Siemens UK.
The consortium has used PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture AR technology and Microsoft’s HoloLens to capture the crucial assembly steps and processes involved in building RMVS (rapidly manufactured ventilator systems). This data will be uploaded and edited in PTC’s Vuforia Editor technology, which runs on Microsoft Azure, to create a virtual assembly guide. The guide is then relayed, through wearable equipment or smart devices such as a phone or tablet, to the factories of consortium partners that traditionally do not make ventilators.
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