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When too much is a bad thing


When it comes to protecting employees' hearing, too much protection can actually be as damaging as too little. You need to be able to hear a forklift approaching, says Ian Crellin


MACH poised to be the go-to event for 2022


Government forecasts suggest UK growth of 6.0% while the incentive of 130% capital allowances are in place on qualifying plant and machinery investments. Add in the COP26 global summit, focussing attention on the importance of tackling climate change, and 2022 is set to be a momentous year.

IPE Editor

Embrace the crisatunity, business-as-usual is complacency


Just-in-Time seemed so efficient, so obvious, so unquestionably right that it’s only when things went wrong we realised the value of holding inventory of key components.

Charlotte Stonestreet

Got a labour crisis? Look at automation


THE UK has a labour shortage – and OK, for those of you currently going “but the whole world has a labour shortage”, I grant you, there are issues beyond the UK – but there is no doubt in my mind that the UK’s problems are being exacerbated, if not caused, by Brexit.


Focus on decarbonisation


With less than 200 days to go until the opening of MACH 2022, the first national gathering of the UK engineering community post-COVID-19, excitement is mounting for the much-anticipated event.

Charlotte Stonestreet

The push-pull of recovery


THE LATEST UK Manufacturing PMI shows that, while rates of expansion in output and new orders have slowed from June, July has seen the upturn continue with robust sales to both domestic and export clients.

Charlotte Stonestreet

Digital and IT skills: Whole-career approach needed


EARLIER THIS year, research from UK think Tank, the Learning & Work Institute revealed that the number of students taking IT subjects at GCSE has dropped by a 40% since 2015. Against a background where the industrial sector skills-shortage has been long acknowledged, this is particularly vexing. Within industry, there are many organisations, companies and individuals making a huge effort to encourage young people into STEM careers - but the message just doesn’t seem to be filtering down to secondary school level.

Charlotte Stonestreet

Everyone can make a difference


For those of you old enough to remember the 1980s sitcom ‘Yes Minister’, I’m sure that much of the satire still rings true today. One particular scene sees two civil servants outline how to approach political problems thus: Stage one, we say nothing is going to happen; Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it; Stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing we can do; Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it’s too late now.

Charlotte Stonestreet

Testing times


AS I write, the UK is in its third period of full lockdown due to COVID-19, new variants of the virus are emerging and many businesses are of course feeling the pressure. Many, including myself and my colleagues on the IPE team, are able to work very effectively from home, however, this is not the case for everyone. In addition to the most obvious front-line workers, staff whose roles cannot be carried out from home continue to work across the manufacturing, industrial and distribution sectors. Workplaces have been adapted to accommodate social distancing and PPE has become a part of daily life.

IPE Editor

2020 ends on a positive of sorts


One way or another 2020 is a year that none of us is going to forget in a hurry. For the manufacturing sector, while Brexit dominated the first couple of months, it was soon to be overshadowed by COVID-19. Furlough, lockdown and social distancing became part of the vernacular and businesses tried, with varying degrees of success, to adjust to the ‘new normal’.