The best of British manufacturing | February 2020
At the start of each new month, we summarise the very best of British manufacturing by showcasing the most popular content featured on our site throughout the previous month. An even more convenient way to read the best news and insight from the manufacturing sector.
Highlights in February 2020 included:
• Rolls-Royce marking 25 years of the Trent engine family, which collectively has travelled more than 145 million engine flying hours since 1995
• Saica Group announced a huge new £50m investment in Scotland
• LEVC, Food Attraction and Maine all announced plans to create new manufacturing jobs
• The new £150m National Automotive Innovation Centre was officially opened in Coventry
• Data from the Office for National Statistics confirmed that 2019 was a record-breaking year for UK exports
• The latest CBI SME Trends Survey highlighted optimism has rebounded sharply over the last quarter
• and, Lotus announced it has made progress on the new manufacturing facility for its new Evija hypercar
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Top 10 manufacturing highlights in February 2020
1. Rolls-Royce marks 25 years of the Trent engine
Twenty-five years ago – on February 28, 1995 – the very first Rolls-Royce Trent engine powered the first Airbus A330, as it completed its delivery flight to Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong. Since then, the engine has become part of a global aviation success story, which has seen the Trent family travel more than 145 million engine flying hours; carry approximately 3.5 billion people on holidays, business and humanitarian missions; and achieve a world record for time on wing – last year, an Aeroflot A330 powered by the Trent 700 reached 50,000 engine flying hours without requiring an overhaul.
2. £150m National Automotive Innovation Centre officially opens
The National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC), one of Europe’s largest automotive research and development facilities, has been officially opened by HRH the Prince of Wales. Situated at the University of Warwick in Coventry, the centre brings together the brightest minds from industry and academia and is a beacon for future mobility and sustainability research and development. It will create future vehicles and personal mobility solutions, as well as deliver the skills required to keep the UK globally competitive. The £150m centre is a partnership project by Jaguar Land Rover, WMG, Tata Motors and the University of Warwick, with £15m funding from the UK Government’s Research Partnership Investment Fund, through Research England.
3. 2019 confirmed as record-breaking year for UK exports
According to new data published by the Office for National Statistics, 2019 was a record-breaking year for UK exports. The UK has now experienced 45 consecutive months of annual export growth on a rolling annual basis, and UK companies exported £689bn worth of goods and services across the globe last year – up by 5.0% on 2018. Goods exports to non-EU countries grew by 13.6% and some of the UK’s fastest growing goods exports include cereals, which were worth £2.5bn, up by 16.6%; fish and shellfish, which were worth £2.1bn, up by 13.1%; and meat and meat preparations, which were worth £2.1bn, up by 12.4%.
4. LEVC to create 100 new jobs to meet growing demand
LEVC is set to create more than 100 new jobs at its headquarters in Ansty, near Coventry. Building on a record year in 2019 – with more than 2,500 units of its taxi sold – LEVC is forecasting a 50% increase in demand for 2020. The electric vehicle maker expanded its product line-up beyond the successful TX taxi with a TX shuttle variant in September last year. In Q4 this year, its range will grow further with the launch of a new electric van. Through the company’s export strategy, its market presence is also projected to more than double, with plans to be operating in 20 countries by the end of the year.
5. Saica Group announces £50m investment in Scotland
Saica Group has announced its intention to establish a new, purpose-built production facility in Livingston, West Lothian within its packaging business division, Saica Pack. The new site, due to be completed by the end of 2021, will see the firm transition from a two-site structure with de-commissioning of its existing Edinburgh and Milngavie sites, into one main plant in Livingston. The company’s decision to invest has been driven by changes in customer demand, ageing facilities and the need for increased capacity.
6. Food Attraction to expand capacity & create 150 new jobs
Food Attraction – the firm behind street food-style brand Jake & Nayns’ – has announced plans to make a major manufacturing investment that will extend its Leicestershire site, increase factory capacity and create 150 new jobs. The company has seen a 57% growth over the last financial year, following a wave of retail wins across the industry. Its flagship on-the-go filled naan bread and the recently launched burritos range has helped quadruple its store listings – growth that has seen the brand selling over 55,000 units per week. To meet demand and to cater for further expansion, founders and brothers Jake and Naynesh, invested a seven-figure sum into the business, which enabled the company to purchase the surrounding factories and land around its existing headquarters.
7. SME optimism rebounds with output & orders set to grow
Optimism among small and medium-sized manufacturers rebounded sharply in the three months to January, according to the latest quarterly CBI SME Trends Survey. The survey of 279 SME manufacturers reported that optimism about the general business situation in the manufacturing sector rose at the strongest pace since April 2014 in the quarter to January. The upward swing in growth from the previous quarter was the largest improvement in optimism in a single quarter in the survey’s history, since October 1988. Optimism about export prospects also rose for the first time since July 2018.
8. New Lotus Evija manufacturing facility nears completion
The new manufacturing facility where Lotus will build its Evija all-electric hypercar is being readied for final prototype production. Series production and first customer deliveries of the pioneering two-seater are set to begin this summer. The new production hall is situated at the brand’s historic home of Hethel in Norfolk. It has been built trackside, next to Lotus’ 2.2 mile purpose-built test circuit, and construction has involved the co-ordination of 20 specialist contractors, with more than 50 experts on site over the last six months. The result is a versatile and inspiring workspace that will see Lotus hand-build up to 130 examples of the Evija. The first year’s production allocation is already designated to customers around the world.
9. Maine Surface Finishing to create 155 jobs in £9.5m expansion
Coleraine-based manufacturer, Maine Surface Finishing, is to create 155 new jobs in a major £9.5m expansion. The company provides powder coating, wet paint spraying and in-house fabrication across its four factories in Coleraine, Dunloy, Garvagh and Magherafelt. Roles to be recruited include highly skilled engineers, fabricators and welders at the company’s premises in Wattstown Business Park in Coleraine – an Invest NI-owned industrial park. Invest Northern Ireland are supporting the creation of jobs and purchasing of new equipment with a £1.5m investment. Forty jobs are already in place and the other 115 staff will be recruited over the next two years.
10. Schneider Electric to invest in its UK manufacturing facilities
Schneider Electric has announced plans to expand its UK manufacturing facilities in Scarborough and Leeds – driven by rising demand in renewable and green technologies. As part of a multi-million-pound investment and upgrade, Schneider Electric intends to boost the capacity and productivity of its operations and facilitate production of new technologies for the renewables industry. It also plans to create an innovation hub at its Leeds site, showcasing sustainable energy management technologies.