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Friday Brief Archive

2020

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Friday Brief

Good morning and welcome to this week’s Friday Brief.

Its been a busy week in Westminster with the publication of the long awaited White Paper on Brexit. Some of the things that the MTA has been arguing for were included, notably a commitment to avoid costly divergence in product regulations and a scheme to enable people (like service engineers) to work across borders. But it’s important to remember that this is only the first stage in a negotiating position; we will be discussing Brexit for years to come (oh the joy of it…). The MTA’s Head of External Affairs, Paul O’Donnell, has written a quick take in the article below.

Elsewhere the trade climate seems to be darkening with the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs. Orgalime, the European umbrella body for mechanical engineering, of which the MTA is part, has issued a call on the EU not to escalate in haste – which it fears could damage long term links with the US. You can read about it below.

Much more positively, MTA member Group Rhodes is celebrating relocating to new premises on Calder Vale, Wakefield in a move, supported by Leeds City Region LEP, which is creating 21 new jobs. The new site is only half a mile from where the business was founded in 1824 and represents a significant investment by the company in the future of the area.

Over at the AMRC’s Factory 2050 a team from the Integrated Manufacturing Group has been putting an upgraded 3D optical scanner – a Hexagon Blaze 600A - through its paces to see how it can improve shop floor productivity for the automotive and aerospace industries. The new system enables scanning to take place without costly surface preparation – saving time and money. You can find out more below.

Before we turn to the economic news for this week, a quick reminder that the Business Survey is right on deadline so please take the time to complete it if you haven’t already.

The main economic news this week is the latest manufacturing output data, which suggests something of a mixed picture for the key customers of MTA members, a picture which  is complicated by revisions and re-basing of the data which has changed some of the recent history.  Therefore, although Aerospace set a new record level for output in May, the previous trend which had been almost continually upward, now has a little dip in the earlier months of 2018.  Similarly, whilst it remains high in historical terms, output of the Automotive industry is now on a clearly downward trend, although this does not entirely match up with the SMMT figures, especially for engines where output continues to expand.  The equivalent European data is equally volatile on a month-by-month basis, but the underlying trend looks to be positive;  however, it appears that the pace of growth in output for capital goods is easing on the short-term trend, although it is still the fastest growing sub-sector compared to this time last year.

Our reports on other economic data this week includes a look at the ONS’s new monthly GDP data which suggests some recovery in activity from the start of the year, although it is probably well below the long-term trend for the economy.  The Bank of England’s Agents still have a positive view of the manufacturing sector, whilst noting a subtle shift in the strength of this from exports to domestic customers;  they report that capacity utilisation is still high and investment intentions are above normal.  Finally this week, investment activity in the Euro-zone edged up in the 1st quarter of 2018, but profitability eased a little.

That’s all for this week, enjoy the sunshine and try not to think about what could have been in the football.

Orgalime reacts to the US anti-dumping duties against China

Orgalime reacts to the US anti-dumping duties against China

On 23 March, the US administration announced new anti-dumping duties of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium entering the US market from China. On the 31st of May 2018, the US administration has announced that additional duties on imports of steel (25%) and aluminium (10%) from the EU and other countries will be imposed. In return, the European Union has announced that it will trigger a dispute settlement case at the WTO and impose rebalancing measures vis-à-vis the US, concerning goods worth nearly €3 billion, including steel products, motorcycles and video game consoles.

MACH 2018 Wins Exhibition of the Year at Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards

MACH 2018 has triumphed at the prestigious Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards and Dinner 2018.

Shortlisted in the category of Exhibition of the Year, MACH 2018 took the top prize. Now in its sixteenth year the Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards recognise, rewards and promotes best practice amongst Trade Associations in the UK. The annual event formally supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

3D scanner upgraded for automated composite inspection could have big benefits for aerospace and automotive industries

Hexagon Logo
3D scanner upgraded for automated composite inspection could have big benefits for aerospace and automotive industries

A 3D optical scanner upgraded for the automated inspection of composites is being put through its paces at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to see how it can improve shop floor productivity for the automotive and aerospace industries.

GROUP RHODES INVESTS IN ITS FUTURE WITH WAKEFIELD FACTORY RELOCATION

Group Rhodes Logo
GROUP RHODES INVESTS IN ITS FUTURE WITH WAKEFIELD FACTORY RELOCATION

Group Rhodes, the Wakefield-based advanced engineering company is celebrating relocating to new premises on Calder Vale, investing in refurbishing and re-equipping its new manufacturing facility and creating 21 new jobs. The new site is only half a mile from where the business was founded in 1824.

Economic News

Pound
Economic News

MTA Business Survey: The June edition of the MTA Business Survey will be closing early next week, so there is still time to let us have your input if you have not done so already.  This survey gives us and the respondents a valuable early view of the manufacturing technology sector which complements more wide-ranging information which we report in the Friday Brief, so it is important that we get a good reflection of the trends in our sector by maximising the response.  You can access the on-line form at

A Brexit White Paper

A Brexit White Paper

Yesterday saw the long awaited (two years by most people’s reckoning) publication of the Government’s White Paper. Agreeing its contents last weekend cost the Cabinet two members and the Prime Minister a lot of political capital (even before President Trump’s typically diplomatic intervention) so there was a lot riding on its reception.