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The Friday Roundup – 10/05/2019

Every Friday, we round up our top 5 most popular reads from the week, along with sharing some of our favourite finds from around the web.

This week’s roundup sees Bentley Motors factory in Crewe install the UK’s largest ever solar carport, Nexen invests £8.5m in Lowestoft expansion and Swedish electric carmaker Polestar sets up a new R&D base in Coventry.

Our top 5 most read this week

1. Bentley Motors continues sustainability investment

Bentley Motors has reinforced its commitment to sustainable energy with the installation of the UK’s largest ever solar carport at its factory headquarters in Crewe. This means – in the company’s centenary year – all electricity used to manufacture every Bentley is solar or certified green. The installation of 10,000 solar panels, which have a capacity of 2.7MW, cover 1,378 car parking spaces and an area of 16,426m², enough to cover two football pitches. Peter Bosch, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing, said: “It’s important to look ahead and prepare the business for the next 100 years by investing significantly in our products, our people and our site infrastructure. This includes new initiatives that reinforce our commitment to the environment.” The solar carport takes Bentley’s total on-site solar panel energy capacity to 7.7MW, enough to cover over 1,750 homes. This includes the 2013 rooftop installation of 20,815 panels, with the total number of individual solar panels on site in Crewe now 30,815.
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2. Nexen Lift Trucks to invest £8.5m expanding factory

Lowestoft-based Nexen Lift Trucks – a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment – has announced an £8.5m investment at its UK-based headquarters and manufacturing facility. The 48,000 sq. ft. purpose-built extension to the company’s existing 55,000 sq. ft. factory will enable Nexen Lift Trucks to double the output of all models via new production and assembly lines, and see the manufacturer further invest in its state-of-the-art research and development facility. Nexen Lift Trucks currently employs 50 staff at its Lowestoft headquarters and, to help facilitate the doubling of output and an increasing export order book that equates to 70% of its products, the company also expects the planned investment to create 40 opportunities for new engineers, technicians and other staff. As part of Nexen’s investment and expansion plans, the research, design, development and production of many of the company’s forklifts, sideloaders and warehousing equipment will continue to be undertaken at its headquarters in Lowestoft.
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3. Progress made at SNOP’s new £15m IAMP factory

A giant metal stamping press, that will power the first occupier of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), has been shipped through the Port of Sunderland. French car parts business, SNOP, which is locating on nationally significant manufacturing hub IAMP, will take delivery of a 3,000 tonne transfer press and the £15m investment in this facility will form a key part of its equipment when SNOP begins a phased move to its new site in just a few months’ time. Although the press, capable of stamping new generation ultra-high strength steels to support vehicle lightweighting, has been delivered, it will take around three months to assemble and commission. The company, which designs and manufactures a range of automotive parts, supplying the likes of Peugeot, Audi, Renault, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Seat, as well as Nissan, will take more than 17 acres of the first phase of IAMP, and has invested some £15m into the new building and a further €15m into the equipment needed to power it. It is expected the move will increase the firm’s capacity, taking turnover from 54m Euros to 90m with further space to expand and creating an additional 100-150 jobs, on top of the firm’s existing 250-strong team.
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4. CMR Surgical opens new HQ & manufacturing site in Cambridge

CMR Surgical, the British company that has developed the next-generation surgical robotic system Versius®, has officially opened its new global headquarters and manufacturing facility. Lord Prior of Brampton, Chair of NHS England opened the new 55,000 sq. ft headquarters on the outskirts of Cambridge which is now the centre of CMR Surgical’s operations; supporting growth across four continents and commercialising the Versius® surgical robotic system. Lord David Prior, Chair of NHS England, added: “Robotics is going to play a growing role in surgery covering an increasing range of different procedures and specialities giving greater accuracy, quicker recovery times and better outcomes. It is fantastic that we now have such a major player in the UK, at Cambridge. They are a great example of British engineering excellence, inventiveness and entrepreneurial ambition.” CMR Surgical has grown significantly in the five years since the company was founded, now employing over 300 people. Versius® is expected to be used in hospitals in the UK and continental Europe in the next 12 months, with wider international expansion shortly afterwards as the company completes significant regulatory milestones.
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5. Polestar establishes new electric vehicle R&D centre in Coventry

Polestar has significantly expanded its research and development capacity with the establishment of a new R&D centre in the UK. Situated in Coventry, the new facility will allow Polestar to increase its own R&D capabilities, and further strengthens the brand’s ability to engineer its future electric performance vehicles. In one of the world’s most prominent automotive engineering environments, Polestar’s UK engineering operation will initially employ around 60 engineers, bringing a wealth of specialised skills to the company that will specifically support the development of future Polestar cars. Hans Pehrson, responsible for Research and Development at Polestar, said: “Polestar’s role as a technology spearhead requires new and developing skills in low-volume, light-weight, multi-material performance car engineering, and the new UK operation will allow us to take the next steps towards our future cars. The team that will kick start the new UK R&D subsidiary is already well-versed in Polestar engineering philosophy, and we will expand the initial team further during the course of 2019. These engineers will be a great complement to our existing R&D team based in Sweden, and other supporting teams around the world.”
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Our favourite #GBmfg & #UKmfg tweets of the week

Recommendation roundup

Our picks of the business and manufacturing related content that caught our attention this week.

1. Lessons learnt from 40 years as a designer / via @LinkedIn

Being open to new ideas and new experiences is so important, not just in design but in all business. Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar Cars, shares five thought-provoking lessons from his 40 year design career.
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2. Whisky tourist site gets the green light at former HoF store in Edinburgh / via @BBCNews

Plans to open a “world-class” whisky tourist destination in one of Edinburgh’s most prominent empty buildings have been approved by councillors. Drinks giant Diageo will transform the former House of Fraser building at the west end of Princes Street into the Johnnie Walker whisky experience, which could create up to 180 new full-time jobs and would include an “immersive visitor experience” across three floors of the vacant building. It’s part of Diageo’s £150m investment in the Johnnie Walker brand.
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3. Britain passes one week without coal power for first time since 1882 / via @guardian

Britain has gone a week without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since Queen Victoria was on the throne, in a landmark moment in the transition away from the heavily polluting fuel. The last coal generator came off the system at 1.24pm on 1 May, meaning the UK reached a week without coal at 1.24pm on Wednesday, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator, which runs the network in England, Scotland and Wales. The latest achievement – the first coal-free week since 1882, when a plant opened at Holborn in London – comes only two years after Britain’s first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution.
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And finally, some bonus picks to add to your reading list this weekend:

1. Saving bees with sugar: Connecting with nature or ‘a last resort’? / via @BBCNews

If you see a bee crawling on the ground in the summer, there’s a good chance that little guy is in trouble. Bumblebees have such a high metabolism and are usually so busy, even one with a stomach full of nectar can be just 40 minutes away from starvation, according to Professor Dave Goulson. Which is why people often feed bees with sugar water – to give them a boost so they can get on with their business. This summer, a new device will be launched which means you can do that no matter where you are. Made from old credit cards, Norwich-based inventor Dan Harris has created “bee saviour” cards which put tiny amounts of potentially life-saving sugar solution in your wallet. Some may call it a ‘nectar’ card…
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2. Who owns the country? The companies hoarding England’s land / via @guardian

Multi-million pound corporations with complex structures have purchased the very ground we walk on, with companies today owning about 2.6m hectares of land, or roughly 18% of England and Wales. An interesting Guardian long-read on land ownership, with edited extracts from Guy Shrubsole’s book, Who Owns England?
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Spot something you think we should see? Share with us! Email and we may feature it in an upcoming post.