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Is self cleaning sheet metal coming?

self cleaning sheet metalA team of European researchers have used the surface properties of the lotus leaf to inspire them in developing a method of manufacturing fluid-repellent surfaces.

The ‘TresClean’ project has used new photonics technology to create the first fluid-repellent and antibacterial metal surface.

High-power laser cutting devices create a tailored, rough micro-topography on sheet metal that causes liquids to be repelled. The roughened surface creates small pockets of air that minimise the contact area between the surface and a liquid, causing the liquid to form spherical droplets that slide off.

To begin with, the new technique will be used to create antibacterial surfaces for the food and drink production industries. The advancement is expected to result in increased productivity and a reduction of costs in processing food products.

Prof Luca Romoli, project coordinator of TresClean said: “In the same way that Lotus leaves keep themselves clean, without the need for cleaning products or chemicals, their jagged, rough surfaces enable water to stay as spherical droplets by preventing ‘spreading’. Bacteria do not get a chance to stick because the contact with the metal surface and the liquid is reduced by over 80 per cent. We are looking at an anti-bacterial metal.”

These advancements would have been unfeasible just a decade ago. But the innovation shows that even in the manufacturing industry product development is still unpredictable. The effects of a self cleaning sheet metal could positively impact a number of industries, and we’re certainly looking forward to seeing what the next steps will be.

F1 Manufacturing work with the latest technology meaning that we are more than equipped to deal with any sheet metal work requirements you may have; from  foldinglaser cutting, welding, CAD, and punching through to finishing.

To find out more about the financial and logistical advantages of working with F1 Manufacturing, contact us on 0116 268 8484.

 

Sajid Javid commits to UK steel long term plan

future of uk steelBefore being replaced by Greg Clark as State for Business in the recent cabinet reshuffle, Sajid Javid had committed to long term plans for the future of UK steel.

Mr Javid backed the proposal by the Steel Council for new research looking at ways to ensure a long term future for the industry. The Business Secretary agreed with a number of recommendations on energy costs, procurement, trade and research on how the sector can flourish.

Industry leaders asked Mr Javid to boost efforts to stop cheap imports of Chinese steel flooding the market in a similar way that the US has experienced. Steel exports from China to Europe have more than doubled since 2013, helping to send the price of the metal down to roughly half 2011 levels.

Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel, a trade body representing the sector, commented: “We called on the Business Secretary to take further action to ensure a positive future for steel making in the UK. UK steel producers can compete on quality and cost with the best firms from around the world, but there needs to be a level playing field.”

It is still unclear how Brexit will affect the UK’s steel industry and how the government will respond. It is hoped that the new Secretary of Business will also be committed to the long term future of UK steel.

F1 Manufacturing has been producing and manufacturing high quality metal components in the Midlands for over 25 years. Our metal supplies are always from the UK. To find out more about the financial and logistical advantages of working with F1 Manufacturing, contact us on 0116 268 8484.

 

Why use a POS display stand?

pos display standPoint of sale (POS) and point of purchase (POP) displays are essential to businesses looking to attract customers to current promotions, deals and new product lines. For retailers they can be effective for a range of products and can be designed specifically for a particular item.

Whatever the product, the display is used to grab the attention of customers. For this reason a POS display is a useful tool for product exposure.

The displays can be presented in a number of forms; shelf edging, display packs, display stands, and posters and prints. The versatility of POS displays is further enhanced by the seemingly endless amount of materials they can be designed from. They can be created using a variety of materials from cardboard to  metalwork as a way of reinforcing  the brand image of the store and  driving sales.

The design brings an increased aesthetic appeal to retail stores. Not only does this attract customers to the display, but if used correctly it can bring customers into the shop.

F1 Manufacturing have been well known as specialists in the supply of point of sale and point of purchase equipment for many years. We have worked on projects of various sizes involving a wide range of products. Here is an example of our work for a well-known sports brand.

Our engineering design team work closely with you to make your ideas into fully realised plans, and then provides you with a prototype, allowing you to see and approve your product before it is manufactured.

To speak to us about your POS/POP requirements, call us today on 0116 268 8484.

 

UK manufacturing hits five month high

uk manufacturing post referendumThe UK manufacturing sector saw an improvement in June. It was in fact the largest rise since January of this year.

The seasonal Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 52.1 points, up from the reading of 50.2 in May.

June’s data signals an increase in UK’s manufacturing production which has been supported by an acceleration in new work. New orders rose at the greatest rate since last October which showed the strength of the domestic market and growth of new export business.

Markit stated that although results were promising, nearly all of the survey responses were collected before the 23rd June, the day before the EU referendum.

Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, said: “The latest PMI gives us another positive data point for the UK’s manufacturing sector. However with economic and political uncertainty ramping up in the wake of the referendum, the future path of demand, investment and employment across the sector is unclear. While we continue to see fundamental strengths across many parts of industry, short term data movements are nigh-on impossible to predict.”

The focus will now be shifted to the post-referendum impact on manufacturing. The next report will provide a greater insight into the short-term bearing the decision to leave the EU will have on the manufacturing industry.

There will be expectations of a significant decrease in domestic confidence however should the index hold above 50.0 next month then confidence will improve.

F1 Manufacturing has been producing and manufacturing high quality metal components in the Midlands for over 25 years. To find out more about the financial and logistical advantages of working with F1 Manufacturing, contact us on 0116 268 8484.

 

CBI findings show UK manufacturing to be stable

manufacturing high quality metal componentsIn the three months leading up to June, the UK’s manufacturing sector remained stable with orders at a ten-month high, according to new research.

The latest CBI Industrial Trends survey studied responses from over 480 UK manufacturers and found that total order books had strengthened in the past three months. Total export order books were also found to have remained stable despite the strength of the pound decreasing.

The findings represent the best order book balance since August 2015, an improvement to minus two from the minus eight shown in May.

Just under one-third of businesses recognised a rise in output volumes, giving a balance of +11 per cent. The coming three months show more optimism by manufacturers with 35 per cent of companies expecting an output rise, leaving a rounded balance of +23 per cent.

Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, commented: “While British manufacturers had a tricky start to the year, there are more positive signs as output and demand stabilise.”

F1 Manufacturing has been producing and manufacturing high quality metal components in the Midlands for over 25 years and we’re pleased to see the industry in a stronger position currently.

We provide services across a wide variety of sectors and because of our complete end-to-end service, clients are confident that their manufacturing requirements are in good hands.

We’re capable of and open to helping in a range of manufacturing jobs. To find out more about the financial and logistical advantages of working with F1 Manufacturing, contact us on 0116 268 8484.

 

3 manufacturing technologies that are changing the industry in 2016

manufacturing technologies

In recent years, the manufacturing industry has made a habit of evolving and transforming the production process. Once an industry that was stuck in ‘old ways’, the industry is now innovative with new technologies now being the cornerstone of manufacturing – they give us a means to create the best end product.

Advancements in technology can result in a number of changes including increased speed, customisation, precision and efficiency – all of which would have been unimaginable a decade ago.

Here is a look at four revolutionary technologies that are shifting how we manufacture:

Internet of Things

It is the aim for all manufacturing plants to have interconnectivity. The Internet of Things (IoT) brings the possibility to new heights, allowing machinery, sensors and manufacturers to work closer together.

Being connected with the equipment surrounding you means that there is better communication, faster response times, and a higher efficiency level. The IoT is capable of enhancing manufacturing operations in a number of areas – its uses are limitless.

3D Printing

3D printing has been on the cards for a few decades now, and after becoming a necessary piece of technology in the product design industry, its uses are now being acknowledged in manufacturing.

The technology reduces design-to-production times and lead times, offers flexibility, and is more cost effective in terms of waste. The technologies involved are only going to improve in the forthcoming years.

Advanced robotics

Robotics are a sensitive area – there are unquestionable productivity benefits but there are logical concerns surrounding replacing humans and innovation.

Regardless of how you feel about robotics, there is no denying the endless possibilities they can provide and how they can impact the manufacturing industry. To get the best of both worlds, new robotics need to be embraced and used to complement your workforce.

F1 Manufacturing embrace the latest technologies that ensure we offer the best end product for our clients. We have been producing and manufacturing high quality metal components in the Midlands for over 25 years.

To find out more about the financial and logistical advantages of working with F1 Manufacturing, contact us on 0116 268 8484.

 

Why use a UK manufacturer?

Why use a UK manufacturerAston Martin, the British company, has recently chosen South Wales ahead of 20 other global locations to build its new luxury DBX. As well as attracting one of motoring’s impressive names, the decision is expected to create around 1,000 jobs with suppliers and local business in the area.

So how did they come to this decision? The UK is currently seeing signs of growth but what are the advantages of having a “Made in the UK” label?

Quality

The last thing you would want when your order has been completed is that it arrives as a sub-standard quality material. In the UK any test materials can be delivered to the client’s premises for inspection and then put into production following approval. This is more difficult when using an offshore manufacturer.

Control

There are many stories of offshore manufacturers letting down their clients. By using a UK manufacturer you have peace of mind as you are available and on hand to check the quality and deal with any problems that might arise.

With the turnover time being quicker you are also in control of your order numbers. Should you have an increase in demand, orders can be made quicker as there is no extra shipping time. UK manufacturers are also more willing to produce smaller quantity orders should that be needed.

Price

With extremely low wages, the production costs may be higher in the UK, but you will have more control over the costs and they will not fluctuate. Adding the delay to your production and factoring the cost of transportation, there isn’t a great difference in price unless large volumes are ordered.

Communication

Ultimately using a British manufacturer is more convenient than producing overseas. Instead of having to compete with different time zones and language barriers, communication is easier. Most are contactable throughout working days and it is easy for you to visit, look at the facilities and monitor how your order is advancing.

F1 Manufacturing has been producing and manufacturing high quality metal components in the Midlands for over 25 years. To find out more about the financial and logistical advantages of working with F1 Manufacturing, contact us on 0116 268 8484.

 

Sheet metal exhibition for manufacturers to draw crowds

sheet metal exhibitionEuroBLECH, the international sheet metal working technology exhibition, will be opening its doors for the 24th year in Hanover, Germany in October.

The exhibition will once again be a port of call for sheet metal professionals from around the world looking to explore the latest enhanced machinery and innovative production solutions. Attendees of the exhibition will have access to an extensive range of products, from conventional systems to high- tech solutions – gaining an insight into the latest technological advancements in the industry.

The theme for EuroBLECH 2016 is “The New Generation of Sheet Metal Working” and will reflect the trend toward digitalisation and smart manufacturing in modern sheet metal processing.

With the production industry undergoing drastic changes, smart manufacturing has become an important part of sheet metal working. As product variety is growing whilst batch sizes are decreasing the importance of having the right machinery and processes in place is increasing.

As the leading industry platform for the sheet metal working industry, the exhibition will present a range of tailor-made solutions for revolutionising and optimising the production process. The profile includes sheet metal, welding and surface treatment, and procession of hybrid structures, CAD/CAM/CIM systems and R&D.

Tickets for the exhibition will go on sale in August with some also available on site at the time of the event. The preliminary list of exhibitors is available to view here.

At F1 Manufacturing we strive to have the latest machinery and production processes in place to bring a greater benefit to our clients. Our 25 years’ experience in producing and delivering high quality components and parts, means that we offer a range our services including metal foldingweldinglaser cutting and finishing.

To find out how our sheet metal services can help your requirements, call us today on 0116 268 8484.

 

UK manufacturing retains positives

uk manufacturing

Despite the overall gloom surrounding the manufacturing industry, UK manufacturing is retaining positives. And after all, Britain isn’t the only country facing manufacturing problems – all manufacturing sectors in the G7 have remained smaller than their pre-recession peak.

Manufacturing in Britain is around 7 per cent smaller than the period in 2007, placing itself as the third best when compared to the other countries in the G7. At the bottom is Italy, where the industry has decreased by nearly a quarter since pre-recession.

The same global trends are affecting the success of the industry in each country; the rise of lower-cost manufacturing plants and weakening of international trade. However, Britain remains as one of the top ten manufacturing nations in the world, mainly due to the success of the countries automobile industry and growth in aerospace.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, the company that conduct surveys of manufacturing activity commented “We don’t see the UK as being unusually weak in recent years”. He had earlier said that Britain was one of the best performing nations in terms of rate of expansion, before sliding down ranking.

The strength of domestic consumer spending has also retained the UK’s image as one of the biggest manufacturing industries. The result of which is that there are grounds for optimism in the future, with economists predicting that rebalancing is likely to take place.

F1 Manufacturing has been producing and manufacturing high quality metal components in the Midlands for over 25 years. To find out more about the financial and logistical advantages of working with F1 Manufacturing, contact us on 0116 268 8484.

 

Seven bidders battle for UK steel company

steelmakingManufacturing giant Tata Steel operates across the globe, employing in excess of 80,000 people. The company’s UK operations are headquartered in London, with steelmaking plants in Walsall, Wednesbury and Port Talbot.

In March 2016, Tata announced that it was looking to sell its UK steel business following concerns about the future of UK steelmaking. It was predicted last year that steel prices in 2016 would reach their lowest point before a reverse trend takes effect, creating an upturn in fortunes.

As Britain’s biggest steelmaker employing over 12,000 people, the Indian conglomerate Tata are currently assessing several bids for its UK assets. Potential buyers for Tata Steel UK have now submitted their final bids and the final decision will inevitably have a significant impact on the UK steel industry as a whole.

One of the bidders Liberty House released a statement commenting “We believe that the UK steel industry can achieve long-term viability if based on an agile, sustainable, non-cyclical model.” With many suitors bidding for the assets, it is clear that these positive thoughts on the steel industry are echoed by a number of companies.

The latest forecasts from MEPS found that steel prices will rise in 2017 as the market rationalises and countries introduce measures to prevent oversupply of steel imports. With industry rises expected, the successful bidder could be making a worthwhile investment.

With over 25 years’ experience in producing and delivering high quality components and parts, F1 Manufacturing’s services include metal foldingweldinglaser cutting and finishing.

To find out how our sheet metal services can help your requirements, call us today on 0116 268 8484.