Observations

Chinese car group bets its future on green taxis

In a cavernous plant on the outskirts of Coventry, a massive bet is being placed about the sort of vehicles that will be trundling around cities and along motorways over the next 30 years. The factory is the result of a £325m investment by a big Chinese automotive group and adds up to one of […]

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UK manufacturers plot new routes to innovation

Innovation in manufacturing is greatly prized. It can occur in a range of ways. The article focuses on the different strategies employed by five British manufacturers in varied industries to produce spectacular improvements in products or processes. The picture alongside this article provides an example of  innovation in action. It shows a virtual reality display […]

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3Cs point the route to success in 21st century industry

The 3Cs – code, collaboration and capability – are the keys to separating the winners and losers in global manufacturing. Code describes the software important in linking networks of products. Collaboration covers the relationships connecting companies with suppliers, developers and users. Capability encompasses employee skills. The 3Cs grabbed attention at the latest in a series […]

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Innovation champion who was a hidden force in electronics, football and the arts: an appreciation of the life of Eddie Davies

  Eddie Davies, who has died at the age of 72, was a resolute and imaginative businessman who made his mark in three seemingly separate areas: electronics, football and cultural institutions linked to science and technology. In electronics Davies will be remembered for his key role in building up the Isle of Man-based Strix from […]

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Polish-Canadian brings new verve to UK engineering education 

If you ask Prof Janusz Kozinski to name the people who have most impressed him since he moved to the UK, he has no hesitation: “When I’ve given talks at schools I’ve been immensely encouraged by the young people who want to talk to me afterwards about what I’ve been saying. On each occasion I’ve had […]

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Networks and niches create twin track to success

The head office of Blaze in an old industrial building in London may look unimpressive – but it’s at the centre of a web of relationships that connect the small bicycle accessories maker with collaborators spread globally. Blaze is among the exponents of the manufacturing network, an idea growing in importance as production companies particularly […]

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UK electronics businesses thrive as slimmed-down specialists

Over the past 30 years the whole of UK manufacturing has become increasingly a collection of small to mid-sized companies making specialist goods in low volumes. Yet few sectors illustrate this trend more vividly than the business of producing electronics and electrical goods. The photo above shows a product of one of the many small […]

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Japan’s robotic global champion

In a hall in a big aerospace plant near São Paulo, four yellow robots perform a series of snake-like manoeuvres as they clean and paint the exterior of giant fuselages being made by the Brazilian aerospace producer Embraer. The robots are among roughly 400,000 of the machines installed worldwide by Fanuc. The Japanese company is the […]

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How China can build brands

Goodbaby is a Chinese manufacturer of children’s  “utility” products – push chairs, infant car seats and the like – with a growing reputation. With 11,000 employees and seven research centres in Asia, the US and Europe, the company dreams of establishing a name that resonates as strongly as Coca-Cola or BMW. Much the same is […]

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What listed giants can learn from private businesses

Escorting his visitor past an array of expensive machine tools, Damon de Laszlo explains why he has avoided seeking a public listing for his engineering company. “I’d have to start justifying my spending on investment and innovation to a board of directors,” he says. “And they might be a pain in the neck.” Mr de […]

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Schools promotion of engineering ineffective and wasteful

Britain does a poor job in conveying modern views of engineering to young people and encouraging more of them to choose it as a career, according to a hard hitting assessment of the decades-old struggle in Britain to update public perceptions of the discipline. “The lack of engineers in positions of influence in society is […]

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Britain climbs the world manufacturing league table

Britain has improved its position among the world’s top manufacturing nations, moving up the league table to its strongest position since 2008 The UK was the world’s eighth-biggest nation by manufacturing output in 2015 – the most recent year for which internationally comparable data are available – with just over 2 per cent of total […]

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Peter Marsh