All of Beko Technologies’ UK service personnel have been successful in gaining the full qualifications for the safe handling of refrigerants - J11-F Gas Cat1.

The British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) has introduced a new practical, workshop-based course titled ‘The BFPA Hose Assembly Skills Training Programme’. Following in logical succession to the Association’s complementary ‘Foundation Course in Working Safely with Hydraulic Hose and Connectors’ launched in January 2010, the Skills Course takes this basic level of knowledge and trains to a fully assessed level of ability in hose assembly techniques.

By EEF chief executive, Terry Scuoler

1987 - Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), earned $1.5 billion in 1986, the second - best performance in British manufacturing history. The company was independent from 1926 to 2008.

Retirement age has been scrapped. From 6 April employers will no longer be able to compulsorily retire employees using the default retirement age (DRA) unless the default age can be objectively justified.

The world's foremost technology event, Hannover Messe 2011, ended with the best outcome in 10 years, according to the event organiser, Deutsche Messe. "This year's event in Hannover has given industry a real boost, powering it up to drive the economic recovery”, commented Deutsche Messe managing board chairman Dr. Wolfram von Fritsch at the end-of-show press conference. "This Hannover Messe has generated even more momentum for industry as the force behind the economic upswing." Over 6500 businesses from 65 countries came to Hannover to display their solutions.

Warwick University is bidding to become the first UK university to set up a campus in the United States. Although there have been many partnerships between UK and US universities the Higher Education Statistics Agency, says there has not been a campus set up by a UK university in the US.

EXCELL-ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS TEST FACILITY OPEN WEEK – FOAM COMPACTION

It’s now over a decade since HPC KAESER introduced its SIGMA Control internal compressor controller - the “PC in a compressor.” The integration of an industrial PC as standard in every energy efficient rotary screw compressor not only enabled cost-effective control, but also allowed networking capability between individual units and with master control systems. This breakthrough provided the keystone for today’s integrated system approach to compressed air production by enabling continuous advances in energy performance and improved reliability of complex compressed air systems.

Bulk solids handling specialists, Flexicon (Europe) Ltd. have announced an all-new TIP-TITETM Drum Dump Feeder that seals drums against a discharge cone, tips the drum and feeds bulk material into downstream equipment, dust-free at controlled rates.

Specialist gas burner manufacturer Lanemark International Ltd. has announced a major development to its business activity in China with its largest burner supply contract into the country to date.  Lanemark Combustion Equipment (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. has recently been established and is jointly owned with Pacific Central Teknik PTE Ltd., Lanemark’s long-term agent in Singapore, to supply process gas burner equipment for tank and air heating applications to customers throughout China.

Quentin Willson, well known columnist and TV presenter, presented MPs with letters from the Fair Fuel UK Campaign.

Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes, visited Bentley Motors’ Pyms Lane headquarters in Crewe recently to meet some of the Company’s outstanding apprentices who maintain the high luxury automotive Company’s reputation for excellence.

Despite the short month and adverse weather, December results from the MTA’s monthly survey of members show increased order intake and invoiced sales in UK’s manufacturing technology sector, setting a positive tone for 2011.

A continued strong performance from the UK’s manufacturing sector spurred on by solid growth in export orders, particularly to emerging markets, is set to lead the continuing economic recovery in 2011, according to a major report published in January.

British manufacturing is poised to fill the growth gap as the public sector plays a smaller role in the economy. It is well placed to respond to the Prime Minister's call to 'create and innovate; invest and grow' according to a major report and survey of 300 companies published last month.

Standfirst: Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) systems can significantly improve efficiencies and productivity within any warehouse or distribution centre operation. However, when designing a VNA system, it is not unusual for insufficient attention to be paid to the specification of the warehouse floor and this can have a dramatic impact on the overall performance of the equipment, says Steve Richmond, general manager of Jungheinrich UK Ltd’s Systems & Projects Division. PWE reports. If a Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) storage system is failing to reach optimum levels of efficiency the user’s first reaction is, generally, to assume that the trucks are underperforming. In most instances, however, this is not the case: more often than not the fault does not lie with the equipment but the surface it is operating on. “The floor is the point at which the warehouse building and the truck interact and quite simply, a poor floor will result in poor VNA performance”, says Steve Richmond, general manager of Jungheinrich UK Ltd’s Systems & Projects Division. Steve Richmond believes that the design, specification and final finish of the warehouse floor is absolutely critical to the optimised operation of VNA trucks. And, he contends, with truck manufacturers pushing the physical design of the equipment close to maximum efficiency, the performance of the floor will come under ever greater scrutiny. He says: “You can invest in the best forklift trucks and materials handling equipment on the market, but if your warehouse floor resembles a ploughed field, the trucks will never be able to operate at their top speeds or optimum efficiency - think of it as driving a Ferrari down a cobbled street,” Whether faced with a new building where the floor has been laid to a particular specification or an existing site that is to be modified to accommodate a VNA application, a warehouse’s floor will present different challenges – although, generally, most problems occur within older buildings. When installing VNA systems, the responsibility for specifying the level of the floor finish required lies with the truck manufacturer and there are accepted industry standards that lay down the specification, which the flooring should meet. The responsibility for achieving this specification lies with the flooring contractor. The relationship between the flooring contractor and the materials handling supplier is therefore critical and so, to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal, a floor survey is always highly recommended. The survey will highlight any remedial works that might be required – as well as the extent of the works and should be used as a basis for all parties to assess the condition of the surface and its likely impact on the operation of VNA equipment. From the outset, it is important to realise that floor flatness and floor level are two different things and their respective effects on the operation of a truck are totally different. According to TR34, the Technical report from the Concrete Society, flatness relates to the “bumpiness” of the floor and general stability in operation of the truck. Floor level relates to the building as a whole and has to be right to ensure that both static and mobile equipment can perform satisfactorily together. Richmond comments: “Effects from the floor, can cause trucks to move from side to side or in a front to back ‘nodding’ motion as they travel along the length of the aisle. In some scenarios the movement of the trucks may be so significant that there is a potential for them to come into contact with the rack structure.” He adds: “Meanwhile even relatively small differences in the floor level within a racking aisle can have a significant impact when the truck is operating at heights often in excess of 15 metres. The higher the mast height, the more pronounced the ‘lean’ from uneven floors and the greater the potential problem.” While it is clear that there a number of important factors to be taken into account in this area, the good news is that anyone considering a VNA system should not be put off by the condition of their warehouse floor: in most cases, solutions are available to ensure that the floor can be made fit for purpose, as Richmond explains: “Options include full aisle grinding, or local grinding where problematic areas are easy to identify. But, it is crucial that you engage a company that is competent in all aspects of the solution - from the initial survey to implementing the works.” Of course, just as the floor impacts on the capabilities of the truck, the truck will impact on the condition of the floor. In new buildings cracks often appear in the floor as a result of natural shrinkage of the concrete during the drying out process. However these cracks will worsen over time as heavy trucks run over them. In addition, the location of floor joints can effect the operation - although in new buildings these can often be designed into the system if the truck manufacturer is consulted at an early enough stage in the process. Needless to say, as a floor deteriorates, the performance of the materials handling equipment working on it may also suffer. “Because the floor forms the platform for the materials handling operation and is, therefore, critical to the smooth running of the process, it is often difficult to understand why floor maintenance is sometimes overlooked within a warehouse”, says Richmond. Richmond continues: “Some warehouse operators specify a coating for their floors. A wide variety of products are available so choosing the coating that’s right for your facility can be difficult. Apart from cosmetically enhancing a store, a floor coating will – to a degree - prevent dust build-up. But coated floors can also bring about a build up of static, which can, in turn, lead to forklift problems - especially with electrical and electronic components. There are a number of ways to combat this effect, such as fitting ‘anti static’ discharge devices to the trucks, but it is always advisable to discuss all aspects of the floor with the truck manufacturer before making a decision on the solution that best suits your company’s needs.” The construction method used when laying a floor will also have an impact on a VNA system – particularly where wire guidance systems are installed into the floor to guide narrow aisle trucks within the aisles Where high levels of steel are incorporated into the design of the floor it is possible that the signal from the guidance system may be effected and this should be considered at the early stages of the design process. Richmond concludes: “VNA systems can offer significant improvements in performance and efficiency of a warehouse or distribution operation. However, because the warehouse floor can have such a significant impact on the operation of the trucks and indeed the overall facility, it is important to assess the design of the floor at the early stages so that the operational design of the system can be optimised. But, it should also be remembered, that if a survey shows that a floor is not suited for its proposed use there are a host of options available to upgrade the surface in order to achieve the necessary tolerances.” For further information please visit: www.jungheinrich.co.uk

Casella CEL will be exhibiting three of its products at the Health & Safety Expo, 13-14 October 2010, at the REEBOK Stadium Bolton. Casella CEL has redesigned its popular dBadge noise dosimeter to increase its robustness, allowing the dosimeter to be used in the harshest of environments with absolute reliability. Visitors will also be able to examine a new product in the range, the dBadge lite, which offers simple functionality for users wanting straightforward noise dose results without additional features, at a very affordable price. Also on show will be the TUFF range of Personal Air Sampling Pumps, which has gained ATEX (intrinsically safe) approval for use in flammable atmospheres. Designed to IP54 standards, the TUFF is claimed to be the only Personal Air Sampling Pump to receive certification to ‘M1’ classification required for mining applications. Casella CEL’s new distributorship agreement for RAE Systems’ world-renowned gas detection monitors means it will be showcasing its full range of portable gas detectors for personal monitoring of toxic and flammable gas hazards. For further information please visit: www.casellameasurement.com

“Don’t let ‘dodgy’ ladders shatter lives”, that’s the message from Ladderstore.com for companies who don’t keep a careful eye on their ladders and risk the health and safety of their staff. The company’s message is in support of the 2010 Ladder Exchange which started on 1st September with Ladderstore an HSE campaign partner for the fourth year. Last year 1400 ‘dodgy’ ladders were taken out of service, with a total of 7000 since the campaign began in 2007, as ladder owners and users were given the opportunity to get rid of bent, broken or battered ladders in exchange for new ones at discounted prices. Ladderstore has seen its fair share of surrendered ladders but puts its emphasis on education for ladder users through training and correct on-going ladder inspection. Gail Hounslea, managing director of Ladderstore.com, commented: “This year we have even more to offer businesses and organisations. As before, we are taking in old and damaged ladders and offering a great discount on a new replacement, but in addition we are also offering a free Ladderlog Starter Pack worth £12.95, a ladder safety checklist which can be downloaded for free and 10% off our ladder training courses held at either our Bolton Training Centre or on-site.”

For the second year running, Health & Safety E-Learning provider Safety Media has been short-listed for the E-Learning Development Company of the Year award at the E-Learning Awards. The E-Learning Development Company of the Year Award recognises companies that have achieved exceptional results within organisations as a direct result of bespoke E-Learning content developed. Julian Roberts, Managing Director of Safety Media said: “I’m delighted that we have been short-listed for this award for a second consecutive year. This is a great achievement for the whole Safety Media team who put a tremendous amount of hard work into developing engaging and innovative courses for our customers.” The winner will be announced at the E-Learning Awards at a ceremony on 11th November 2010 at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel in central London. For further information please visit: www.safetylearning.co.uk

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is highlighting the major problem of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as the most common occupational injury. With an estimated 538,000 people in Great Britain who had worked in the last year, suffering from a musculoskeletal disorder that was caused or made worse by their current or past work, the BSIF would like to see the number of MSD’s fall. An estimated 11.6 million working days a year are lost to work-related MSDs and the Labour Force Survey shows that an estimated 9.3 million working days (full-day equivalent) were lost in 2009/09 through MSDs caused or made worse by work. The figures alone show what a significant problem this is and one that every employer needs to be aware of not only to ensure they are protecting their staff to the best of their ability but as the possible loss of working days will also potentially harm their business. As a valuable information source, whose core purpose is to support and represent suppliers, the BSIF can offer advice and provide direction in all health and safety matters. Statistics gathered through the Labour Force Survey suggest that the overall incidence rate of self-reported work-related MSDs has fallen over the period 2001/02 to 2008/09 but the BSIF would like to see these fall further. In the case of MSD’s, some jobs will have risks which will be unavoidable such as manual handling, however with practical advice, training and deployment of a handling aid e.g. a pallet truck, electric or hand powered hoist, or a conveyor, the risk will be minimised. Where a mechanical aid or safety equipment is needed it is important to ensure that it is suitable for the job and also conforms to standards if necessary. Most personal protective equipment (PPE) will need to conform to the requirements of the PPE Directive. By working with a member of the BSIF or a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier, purchasers can be assured they are using a reputable supplier who is committed to issuing genuine and suitable products and offering trustworthy advice. For further information please visit: visit www.bsif.co.uk

Standfirst: The Health and Safety industry has become the target of vilification and derision. Its salvation is in helping small firms understand that health and safety is not just about compliance, but business success and a moral imperative, argues Karen Baxter*. It happens at every networking event, when I answer the dreaded ‘So what do you do?’ question. “Oh ho, ‘Elf and Safety’”, they chortle (as if I haven’t heard that one before), “the people who stop kids playing conkers”. Well no, we don’t actually. Generally speaking, it’s the insurers who stop people doing things by putting in hundreds of unnecessary clauses which might, at some time in the future, avoid them paying a claim, together with the under-trained, confused and unconfident managers who have to go along with it. No joke More importantly, why are we making a joke at all? If a plane crashed and killed 180 people, we wouldn’t be having a good laugh and calling it ‘Sky Pixie Syndrome’. Yet that’s the number of people who die every year in accidents at work, not counting the 246,000 that get injured, or the estimated 1,700 who die while driving on business. The Health and Safety industry has become the acceptable butt of everyone’s humour, partly because the media just loves a story about old people being refused doormats in case they trip over them. It’s also because we have allowed people to believe that Health and Safety is about speaking in impenetrable acronyms, filling in reams of paperwork and adopting a ‘belt and braces’ approach to everything, in place of good old common sense. Currently there are around 4.7 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employing nearly half the workforce. They are present in all industry sectors, including those associated with the highest risks of injuries and ill-health. I would argue that the Health & Safety sector is still struggling to get to grips with what this huge number of employers needs from us. When you have to be worrying about whether you are going to be able to pay your employees this month, or take a salary yourself; when it’s 2am and you’re just getting around to doing your accounts, then worrying about your Health and Safety procedures is not top of your list – and we have to understand that. Acronym hell Even the small business managers who make the effort soon find themselves mired in acronym hell. I read an article recently that contained 32 different acronyms, and not just the ones we’re mostly familiar with like H&S and DWP, but really clever ones like CHaSPI (Corporate Health and Safety Performance Indicator), SBTAF (Small Business Trade Association Forum), and LACORS (Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services). HSE research shows that most small and medium-sized businesses do want to comply with health and safety. It also shows that most believe they are complying although realistically, research asking someone to incriminate themselves, even anonymously, is likely to be flawed. The HSE itself faces the problem of being both poacher and gamekeeper; there is a genuine fear among small business owners of asking the HSE anything, in case it results in an inspector knocking on the door. We in the industry know that isn’t the case but the hard-pressed entrepreneur doesn’t. That’s not to say that small businesses want to flout the laws. It’s disparaging to say that because a business is small, it wants to get away with as much as it can. The issue is that the laws are the same whether you employ two people or two hundred so there is a disproportionate burden on small companies. Within the H&S sector, there has developed a tendency to use these laws as a big stick. Consultancies looking to make a fast buck have resorted to scare tactics, supported by an ever-helpful media. For small firms, therefore, health and safety has become a ‘must do’ compliance issue rather than a culture that can genuinely deliver business success. Three drivers For small business people there are three drivers to adopting better H&S practices: compliance, business cost, and moral cost. Far too much is made of the first and not enough of the second and third. Every death or serious injury at work leaves a trail of tragedy in its wake. No one who has been involved in causing harm to someone at work ever wants to go through it again. There is a moral imperative to try to get this right. It also makes sense from a business standpoint. The benefits of an effective H&S culture are well documented: accidents avoided, fewer working days lost, improved recruitment and staff retention, improved customer confidence, reduced insurance premiums, and the ability to tender for large corporate and government contracts. As if that wasn’t enough, working in a healthy and safety-conscious environment can have a hugely positive impact on staff morale, attendance and productivity. Common sense tells us this is true but when it comes to dealing with the law, then a certain level of competence and confidence is also needed. A manager who has been given the responsibility without support and advice will inevitably take a ‘belt and braces’ decision and that’s where Health and Safety falls into disrepute. But there is a different way. Take driving as an example. Most of us do it and we don’t need to keep looking at the manual. We know that to drive correctly we need to put our minds to it and stay in the moment. It’s about practical, simple actions, not process. But we can only do it well if we were taught in the first place and understand the need to comply with the rules of the road. Excuses Finally, the Health and Safety industry has to stop making excuses. It is vital to everyone who goes to work – employer or employee. In what other sector (apart perhaps from medicine) would you have the potential to save 180 lives a year and protect 246,000 people from injury? We have to learn to communicate, especially to small companies, what our business is about and that by making health and safety an enterprise-wide culture, small firms can reap enormous benefits. Together, we need to shoot the Elf and return ourselves to Health.

Standfirst: Coding, marking and labelling have become an essential component of modern production technology. Correct packaging labelling is critical for consumer safety, especially in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and medical industries and, of course, for ensuring that the correct spare parts are available for maintenance. In addition, “mark and read” applications are used for product identification and traceability, especially in safety-critical industries such as aerospace and automotive. Don Braggins, UK Industrial Vision Association reports. Tracking a component and all the processes it has gone through, from manufacturing, assembly right through to end-user requirements for spare parts replacement (from the cradle to the grave) is becoming an essential requirement in complying with industry guidelines and standards as ERP, MRP and quality assurance systems become more widespread throughout the manufacturing supply chain. Coding can facilitate inventory management. Coding and labelling usually takes the form of alphanumeric codes (e.g lot details and best-before information), barcodes and the more recently introduced 2D codes. Products and packaging can be tagged either by a stick-on label or by information printed directly onto them. Label-free direct marking methods are intended to survive the most unfavourable of production and operational processes, as well as environmental factors. Practical applications The complexity of the code reading solution required for date codes, lot codes, stock keeping units, serial numbers and other text based codes depends on a number of factors. These include: •\tRegularity of code or label orientation on the product or package •\tPosition of the code on the product (irrespective of orientation) •\tRegularity of the codes or characters (e.g. are the characters stretched or skewed?) •\tIs there damage to the code? •\tThe contrast between the code or characters and the background •\tThe code/background colour combinations •\tReflections from surrounding surfaces •\tThe space available for the code reader •\tAny interface required to a reject mechanism and/or the rest of the process •\tSpeed of measurement The sheer variety in coding types and labelling methods places high demands on industrial code readers. Marking Marking methods include lasers, dot-peening, electrochemical etching, and ink-jet printing. The appropriate technique is chosen according to the application, material composition, surface texture, the amount of data that the mark needs to contain, the available space for printing, and the mark's location. In practice, many codes are in poor condition when they are read. This may be due to normal wear and tear during the life of the product, or may even be due to poorly maintained marking equipment. Fortunately, vision based code readers are well-equipped to deal with code defects. Code reading The basic process in reading codes is to: illuminate the code, locate the code, and then extract the data. Checking a stick-on label on a packet or carton in a warehouse presents a significantly different challenge to checking a code dot-peened onto a small automotive component as it progresses along a production line. Industrial vision code-readers provide an alternative to the more conventional laser scanners. A 1D bar code has a 'check sum' built in so that a laser-scanning type of reader can tell if there is an error in reading it, but can do nothing about it except to say 'unreadable'. A vision system has a better chance of reading a 1D code because if any part of a bar is intact, it can use that information. Vision-based readers tend to be used in circumstances where it is simply not acceptable to receive a 'cannot read - check sum not correct' from a laser scanner. Vision-based code readers fall into two basic categories: dedicated code readers, both for 1D and 2D code reading, and systems based on industrial cameras. Both could vary from a hand-held code reader to a dedicated system fully integrated into a manufacturing control system. Vision technology Dedicated vision-based code readers generally feature an integral illumination source and lens and an image of the code is produced using a CCD sensor. They feature onboard software to process the image and read the code. 1D codes are less robust than 2D codes but vision-based readers can be effective in reading low contrast or damaged codes or those distorted by severe perspective. Since these readers generate an actual image of the code, it is possible to archive images of read failures and download them to a PC in order to diagnose the root cause of a problem. 2D codes allow much more information to be stored than is possible with a 1D code and in a much smaller space. The 2D Datamatrix code format includes built-in ECC220 error correction to allow the recognition of codes that are up to 60% damaged, making it particularly popular for direct part marking. Some code readers now support the ability to read multiple codes in the field of view, including different code types (1D/Stacked, Data Matrix, QR) at the same time. The ultimate in code reading flexibility is offered by using a fully functional industrial vision system equipped with code reading and optical character recognition (OCR) and optical character verification (OCV) software. These differ from the dedicated code readers in that they feature a full camera and lens, often with an external illumination source. Images of the code are recorded for subsequent processing and measurement. The camera may be connected to a PC where the processing is carried out, or smart cameras can be used which are self-contained, standalone vision systems with built-in image processing capabilities. A third option is the compact vision system, where all the processing power is contained in a rugged, DIN mountable enclosure, instead of the camera head. With a comprehensive choice of camera types and connectivity standards available, industrial vision systems can be chosen for a huge range of industrial environments. Code reading and OCR software is available from a number of different suppliers. OCR uses sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms. As barcodes have become mandatory in some industries, so their quality has needed to be analysed. There are a number of grading standards relating to different industries. 1D grading usually specifies a minimum contrast for a colour of illumination in addition to print quality. 2D codes have far more parameters such as the squareness and uniformity of the grid and it may be important to check that a particular software package supports the required grading standard. Producing an image of the code or alphanumeric with the best possible contrast can often be dependent on getting the optimum illumination conditions and the development of high intensity LED light sources has helped enormously. An added benefit of using more powerful vision systems is their flexibility, since they can carry out a host of inspection tasks as well as reading the code. For label applications, this can include checking that the proper label is on the package and that the label is correctly positioned, as well as looking for consistency in colours and logo positioning for brand image purposes.

Toyota Material Handling UK will be showcasing its strengths at IMHX 2010 – 16-19 November, (stand 20F70) - by showing visitors the company’s products and developments, along with its range of services and solutions. The theme for its stand will be ‘stronger together’. The Toyota Material Handling stand at IMHX will provide the first opportunity for visitors in the UK to see the full range of Toyota counterbalance forklifts and towing tractors and BT warehouse equipment together since the integration between Toyota Industrial Equipment and BT Rolatruc in 2007. The Toyota stand will feature three live demonstration areas, which will enable visitors to see the many product features and benefits. Combined with a full range of product displays and a seminar theatre featuring a series of master-class workshops, Toyota will show how they can help customers improve efficiency in their business. The stand will incorporate three live demonstration areas that will provide the opportunity to show visitors the benefits of the Toyota product range. The three demonstration areas will focus on different product areas including hand pallet trucks, the powered range of counterbalance forklifts and warehouse trucks and a virtual warehouse. IMHX 2010 will also be the first chance to see the new Traigo HT electric counterbalance forklift. This high tonnage electric truck with load capacities from 6.5 – 8.5 tonne is designed to provide a heavy-duty electric alternative to engine-powered forklifts. Visitors to the stand will be able to see the full range of materials handling equipment available from Toyota and talk to experienced Toyota experts from across the company including product specialists, sales, service, rental and operator training. In addition, for the first time at IMHX, Toyota will be holding a series of workshops in its seminar theatre located on the stand. These master classes are designed to share Toyota’s knowledge and expertise and provide attendees with practical guidance on how they can reduce costs in their business. The first workshop will focus on the Toyota Production System and will demonstrate how elements of this renowned business model can be applied to any business. The afternoon workshops: ‘Managing your assets’ and ‘Driving down costs’ will show how effective fleet management and damage management can help companies to actively reduce unnecessary cost in their business. Visitors to IMHX can register for places on these workshops by visiting the Toyota website www.toyota-forklifts.co.uk Mike Mathias, managing director from Toyota Material Handling UK commented: “We want visitors who attend the IMHX to leave with an understanding of what working with Toyota Material Handling can offer and the passion and desire we have to meet their business needs in this environment. “ For further information please visit: www.toyota-forklifts.co.uk

Combilift, the manufacturer of customised 4-way handling equipment has two adjacent stands at this year’s IMHX, the smaller one being a dedicated hospitality area (stands 19K 135 & 130). The highly skilled drivers will be giving regular performances to demonstrate the manoeuvrability of these compact counterbalance design trucks. Combilift has introduced a considerable number of new models since the last IMHX show, and the number of exhibits on the stand reflects the extensive range available from the global leader in its field. As well as the Combi-CB, which is now available with 3 and 4 t lift capacities, other exhibits include the original and “core” Combilift; the 4t capacity C4,000, a 4-way sideloader, plus a selection of larger Combilifts for heavier duty applications with lift capacities of 6t, 8t and upwards. Managing director Martin McVicar commented: “We are continuously adding to and improving our range, and recently built our largest 4-way forklift to date – a 25t model. Whether there will be room for this on the stand remains to be seen, so you will need to pay a visit to find out.” For further information please visit: www.combilift.com

High productivity and low cost of ownership will be the two themes of the Jungheinrich stand (stand No: 19 L100 & 142) at IMHX 2010 (16-19 November). Among the trucks on display from the company’s wide warehouse range will be: reach trucks with a lift height of 12 metres; the world’s best selling low level order pickers; powered pallet trucks – including a Lithium Ion-powered pallet truck concept - and a range of very narrow aisle stackers such as the recently launched EKS Series of order pickers that use RFID technology to guide forklifts quickly and efficiently around a narrow aisle store. Products to be shown for the first time include a new model multi-directional reach truck for long load handling. The new truck has been designed to significantly reduce tyre wear during operation – thereby cutting running costs – with all three wheels powered electrically. Jungheinrich’s range of electric-powered tow tractors, which are offered in capacities from one to 25 tonnes, will also be highlighted. Like all Jungheinrich electric-powered handling equipment, models in the tow tractor range feature the latest generation AC motors for high productivity and low running costs. There will also be a strong focus on counterbalanced trucks. Among the three and four wheel machines on show will be Jungheinrich’s VFG range of IC engine-powered counterbalance lift trucks which, thanks to their hydrostatic drive, are ideal products for applications where a lot of ‘shuttling’ work is involved – such as lorry loading and unloading within and around a busy warehouse or factory environment. Used equipment from Jungheinrich’s Ready-to-Go range will also be on display with a ‘cut-away’ truck graphically illustrating the thorough rebuild process that all Jungheinrich used equipment goes through before being starting its second life. Key personnel from the company will be on hand to discuss Jungheinrich's projects and systems capabilities, aftersales support network, rental and financial services, racking systems and warehouse planning services. Craig Johnson, marketing manager of Jungheinrich UK Ltd explains: “There will be a comprehensive display of products and services ideally suited to manufacturing, logistics and retail operations of whatever size. “A team of highly trained materials handling equipment professionals will be on hand to provide industry leading advice and operational solutions centred on creating value by increasing productivity and lowering costs. “Our stand will be a comfortable place to spend some time amid the hustle and bustle of the show and visitors are invited to call in and see us to learn how we are helping companies – big and small - to drive operational efficiencies throughout their materials handling processes.” For further information please visit: www.jungheinrich.co.uk

Darcy Spillcare Manufacture has introduced a bund water control unit dewatering system into the marketplace that is completely intrinsically safe and ATEX Approved. This product forms part of the wide range of technical products developed by the company to help prevent environmental liability, prosecution and negative publicity providing businesses with environmental peace of mind. Bund Water Control Units assist companies in meeting environmental regulations including ISO 14001, PPG8: Safe Storage and disposal of used oils, PPG2: Above Ground Oil Storage Tanks and the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999. A large fuel distribution company distributing throughout Ireland was faced with the task of operating multiple sites from one central office. A common challenge this company encountered, says Darcy, was the removal of the rainwater from the bund areas surrounding the tank farms. Due to the high level of rainfall in Ireland, these watertight bund areas would collect large volumes of rainwater reducing the bunds ability to contain at least 110% of the tank’s maximum capacity. Removal of this rainwater proved to be costly especially as some sites are very remote requiring long distance travel for pump out companies. Disposal rates were based on hazardous waste even though the majority of the content was rainwater thus increasing costs significantly. Darcy Spillcare Manufacture was commissioned to supply six Bund Water Control Units at six of the most affected sites throughout Ireland. The bund water control units had to be intrinsically safe (ATEX approved) for use in hazardous zones and fully integratable into the company’s existing operating system. Six units were installed at various sites throughout Ireland and have the capability to constantly monitor the rainwater collected within the bund, automatically pumping it out to the on-site interceptor as the levels rise. The system also has in-built oil detection technology that will shut down the pumping operation and send an alarm signal to an authorised person should there be a tank failure or spill of stored product. As a result of installing these bund water control units the company says it now has peace of mind that these remote depots are safer and meet environmental regulations. They no longer have to be faced with the prospect of pumping out and disposing of thousands of litres of rainwater at hazardous waste rates – this waste management cost saving alone is forecast to provide a company with a return on investment within six months of installation. They will also be alerted immediately should there be an unusually high amount of oil present within the bund area. The bund will also be constantly maintaining 110% of the tank’s capacity preventing the risk of a spill spread, which again should bring peace of mind for the company. For further information please visit: www.darcy.co.uk

The Royal Academy of Engineering is now hosting the new Technician Council, a joint initiative intended to raise the profile of Technicians in the UK. It includes members of the engineering, science, ICT and health communities and is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Technician Council is chaired by National Grid Chief Executive Steve Holliday FREng and had its first meeting in July. The Council was formed in response to the findings of a group, led by Lord Sainsbury, that included The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, The Engineering Council, The Science Council, EngineeringUK, the Department of Health, The Royal Academy of Engineering, the National Apprenticeship Service, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and others to develop and secure the UK's STEM based sectors by encouraging the training, support, development and recognition of Technicians. The Further Education team at BIS is encouraging the Technician Council to provide a catalyst for the engineering science, ICT and health communities in their work to provide opportunities for progression for people in vocational occupations, and upskilling the workforce. All have a keen interest in the career development of hundreds of thousands of skilled and semi-skilled employees and by working together will ensure that technicians know which qualifications are in demand, and where to find employers that require them. Technician Council chair Steve Holliday FREng said: "As the chief executive of National Grid I am only too aware of how important technicians are to the success of our business. I am delighted to have been asked to chair the Technician Council. I look forward to working with other key stakeholders to build a framework for a modern class of technician to ensure that this critical role in the workplace is more widely recognised and respected. "I am particularly keen to ensure that young people have a better understanding of what technicians do and the rewards that training to be one brings them."

New advanced technology safety testing instrumentation has been developed for multiple standards, production line and type testing applications in the avionics, appliance, lighting, defence and similar electronics manufacturing sectors. The new Clare HAL 104 http://www.clare.co.uk/hal104 from Seaward combines the performance of a multi-function production line safety tester with load and power factor measurement for product energy consumption and ratings assessments. Part of a new and extended range of specialist HAL electrical safety testing instrumentation, this highly versatile all in one tester has been specially designed for the fast and accurate electrical tests required by modern electronic manufacturing environments. As well as incorporating key functional checks, the new HAL104 meets the end of line electrical safety compliance tests required by the majority of national and international product safety standards. As well as load and power functional tests, the new tester incorporates AC/DC Hipot (flash / dielectric strength), insulation, ground/earth bond testing to 40A, load switching to 30A with measurement to 100 millaAmps and leakage to 100 microAmps. The new tester has widespread applications in the lighting, appliance and electrical/electronics manufacturing sector – and particularly in those production situations where high resolution performance measurements are important such as LED products in low energy lighting applications and PV solar panels. The HAL104 can be used as a manual stand alone tester with simple push button test activation or can be fully integrated into automated manufacturing systems with selectable sensors and enclosure interlocks, or by ultimate control using remote PCs and PLCs. A large, clear full graphic display presents information either in a numerical or analogue format and a powerful internal memory allows the storage of up to 6,000 test results and up to 20 configurable test routines. The instrument can also be interfaced with a variety of accessories ranging from bar code scanners to pass/fail label printers. The new HAL104 meets all of the requirements of the various British and European standards in relation to high voltage testing and incorporates fully isolated high voltage outputs to ensure the highest levels of operator safety.

A not-for-profit small business support group is urging firms to take part in a new survey to highlight their experiences of dealing with the banks. The Forum of Private Business is hosting the questionnaire on behalf of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in an effort to find out how business owners are being treated by the major lenders. The move comes after new figures from the British Bankers’ Association, which show bank lending to businesses fell again last month, placed fresh scrutiny on the relationships between banks and smaller companies. The Forum hopes as many small firms as possible will take part in the online survey in order to provide the OFT with clear evidence of bank-related problems and difficulties facing business owners. The Forum’s research manager, Thomas Parry, said: “Clearly, the issue of the way banks treat small firms has received an enormous amount of attention recently and sparked a lot of debate. “One the one hand, groups like the Forum have been arguing that viable smaller firms are being unjustifiably denied credit, or offered it at an extortionate cost, by risk-averse banks which often don’t understand their needs. “On the other hand, the banks and their industry groups have claimed that lending is down simply because demand is down and they are doing everything they can to increase the flow of finance to business. There is also a wider debate about competition between banks, with some critics arguing that smaller firms, particularly in Scotland, face a limited amount of choice in the marketplace. “We hope this survey will provide the OFT with clear, empirical evidence and reinforce the valid concerns many small business owners have over their relationships with their banks, and the banking industry in general.” The survey can be accessed via the shortened URL www.bit.ly/cPVVcf and should only take a few minutes to complete. It is open to all SMEs, is completely confidential and asks businesses’ views on a range of banking issues, including switching between banks and what financial services they use. The survey is being carried out as part of the OFT’s ongoing review of barriers to entry, expansion and exit in retail banking.

One of the UK’s largest purchasers of energy, has called on Chris Huhne to ‘listen to his party’ and get behind nuclear energy. The call comes on the back of a recent Liberal Democrat Voice poll* which revealed 68% of Lib Dem members back nuclear as part of the UK’s energy mix. M&C Energy Group’s energy analyst, David Hunter, commented: “Chris Huhne’s historic opposition to nuclear is well-documented, however it seems that grass roots Lib Dem members are falling in line with wider public support for nuclear.” In the poll, more than a quarter of respondents even went so far as giving the green light to public subsidy to kick-start the much-needed nuclear new build. M&C, which has been calling for ‘immediate action’ to secure the UK’s energy future, believes that Mr Huhne must now put aside his own personal objection to nuclear and take necessary action. Hunter added: “The challenge is gargantuan and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change must now take the lead to stimulate nuclear new build. OFGEM, the industry regulator, estimates that £200 billion of investment needs to be found in the next decade to secure Britain’s energy future. If getting the ’green light’ by members gives Huhne permission to press ahead then he needs to do so and fast or the UK will fall further behind in the race to light and heat Britain.” Hunter also expressed concern at what he refers to as the marginalisation of Scotland, which is still committed to eliminating nuclear power north of the border. He concluded: “In an ideal world, we would switch to 100% renewable energy sources, unfortunately this is not practical. If Huhne can accept that then the Scottish Government should also ‘sanity check’ their energy policy to ensure Scotland isn’t left literally in the dark.” http://www.libdemvoice.org/ldv-survey-68-of-lib-dem-members-back-nuclear-as-party-of-uks-energy-mix-20894.html

Britain ’s manufacturers are continuing to report buoyant trading conditions on the back of rising demand in overseas markets, pointing to good prospects for growth in 2010 according to a major survey published by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and BDO LLP. The third quarter EEF/BDO ‘Manufacturing Outlook’ report reveals that recovery, which began at the end of last year, has been sustained with output and orders balances reaching record levels for the second quarter in succession. This performance continues to be driven by the strength of overseas markets, with new analysis published by EEF showing a close relationship between exposure to export markets and company performance. Greater confidence across the sector is also continuing to translate into some recruitment, albeit this is being driven by temporary or agency working which will give employers flexibility should demand begin to slow. Uncertainty about future demand had been dampening investment plans, but a number of sectors are now planning to increase in investment. The positive investment intentions posted this quarter breaks the pattern of previous recessions by recovering at an earlier stage in the cycle. However, the short-term optimism highlighted by EEF’s survey is shaded with a degree of caution about the risks to growth in 2011, as fiscal consolidation gets underway in the UK and others follow suit. Commenting, EEF chief economist, Ms Lee Hopley, said: “Manufacturers have continued to reap the rewards of growth in overseas markets with the upswing being felt across all sectors and regions. Not only has this continued to translate into better employment prospects but the recovery in investment has begun much earlier in the cycle than after previous recessions. “However, we have to maintain perspective that the recovery is coming from a very low base and the risks to the economy in the medium term haven’t gone away. The rebound in exports and modest improvement in investment will need to become much more firmly entrenched if we are to see a much-needed rebalancing of the economy.” Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing, BDO LLP, commented: "The sector has shown seen a significant upturn since the dark days of the recession and this quarter's results show continued growth in output and orders and more expected for the next quarter, mostly driven by the restocking across most sectors of industry and exports. “This quarter results show more optimism around two key indicators which have been lagging behind the general good news of the sector in recent surveys, being employment and investment. This is excellent news but much more will be needed to enable manufacturing to compete in the space where we have a competitive advantage - innovation, research and development, excellent customer service and fast response to emerging trends." Over the last three months, output and new order balances were +33% and +35% respectively, both record levels since the survey began in 1995 which suggests growth in manufacturing output should at least continue into the next quarter. This growth has been driven largely by export markets (+30%), where Europe in particular turned out to be stronger than expected. While the domestic order balance weakened slightly, the balance of +20% is still above its long term average. Furthermore, growth continued to be broad based across all regions and sectors. The survey was also notable for two other factors. Firstly, the balance of companies recruiting almost doubled in the last three months to +17%, the strongest in the survey’s history. Secondly, the investment balance turned positive to +7% for the first time since 2008 q2. Compared with previous recessions, where investment balances have tended to lag behind increases in output by over a year, this is a somewhat faster recovery in capital expenditure intentions and signals that companies are becoming more confident to begin investing in plant and machinery. Looking forward, expectations about future prospects remain positive, with a balance of 27% of companies expecting output to increase in the next three months, and 22% expecting orders to expand. Both of these balances are higher than the previous quarter’s figures suggesting there is confidence that the recovery will continue into the next quarter at least. EEF also published its latest forecasts for the UK economy and manufacturing. These show the economy growing by 1.5% and 2.1% in 2010 and 2011 respectively while manufacturing will grow by 3.7% in 2010 before easing back slightly to 3.2% in 2011.

The VIBXPERT II handheld vibration analyser, from Pruftechnik combines the advantages of a rapid processor with an energy-efficient colour VGA display. Enhanced with an Fmax of 51KHz and up to 102,400 Lines of Resolution, all machinery problems can be captured and easily analysed on the VIBXPERT II large colour screen. The VIBXPERT II Basic platform is a 1-channel vibration data collector, which can be upgraded at any time to 2 individually configured channels via a special pass code it’s user upgradable and does not require hardware changes. All forms of machine vibrations, bearing conditions, process data and visual inspection information can be collected and stored on the expandable Compact Flash Card (up to 8 gigabyte) for report generation or for later transfer to the OMNITREND software for further analysis, reporting and archiving. The VIBXPERT II vibration analyser provides an easy-to-use icon driven platform that offers comprehensive analysis functionality for the diagnosis of simple or very complex vibration problems. Capabilities include order spectrum, phase, cepstrum, cross-channel phase, orbits, run-up and coast-down measurements, bump test, negative averaging and more. Analysis tools, including various cursor types, machine-specific frequency markers, signal post processing, and extensive bearing databases are included for evaluating each spectrum. Alarm notifications based on ISO standards or user-defined standards are visually identified with the aid of coloured LEDs. The lightweight VIBXPERT II (1.2Kg) has a robust housing, and is also dustproof and water-resistant (IP65). Pruftechnik says the new VIBXPERT II also benefits from free updates, low ownership cost and unlimited tech support. Option are available. For further information please visit: www.pruftechnik.com

UHP water jetting is the most powerful and environmentally sensitive cleaning techniques available to industry. When used in conjunction with specialist tooling and accessories water jetting can be the most effective solution in a diverse range of applications including surface preparation, tank and vessel cleaning and cold cutting.

Companies and associations from the private and public sector, including some of Europe's most well known companies, have joined forces with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in the new Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010/11 on safe maintenance. 

TWI Ltd, the independent joining technologies research centre, has solved a persistent dust problem with the installation of a new AirBench FN.

Industry professionals were able to gain the broadest insight concerning what industry solutions are currently available on the market at the recent Plant & Works, Drives & Controls, Air-Tech and IFPEX Exhibitions at the NEC, Birmingham between 8-10 June 2010.

Jeremy Salisbury of Brammer, examines the issues surrounding maintaining the purity and performance of compressed air systems.

As a plant or maintenance engineer one has to deal with countless technologies, from boilers to robotics and bearings to valves. As a result, it isn't always easy to stay on top of the current best practice with regard to each one. The variable speed drive (VSD) is one such technology that, once understood and applied, provides remarkable energy savings and impressive financial ROI (Return On Investment). But how can you predict the level of savings that will be delivered in advance? What"s the best argument to present to the board to obtain funding? And how can you ensure that those energy savings are sustained over the lifetime of the system?

The Racor Division of Parker Hannifin, has launched its latest range of portable purification systems designed to remove water and particulate contamination from diesel efficiently and automatically, significantly improving the performance and service life of a wide range of diesel driven machinery. Developed for use on cleaning fuel tanks, drums, bowsers and power generator and marine applications, the new filter trolleys allow maintenance to be reduced considerably, while also eliminating expensive downtime costs.

The SKF On-line Motor Analysis System - NetEP, is a networked system designed to give ongoing automated evaluation of critical electric motor assets, with data analysis that can be accessed globally at any time via the internet. The system has been developed by Baker Instrument Company (part of the SKF Group) a specialist electric motor management company.

Key management specialist Traka has boosted its product range with the launch of a stand-alone touch-screen system. The Traka Touch is an independent, intelligent device that simplifies key management while improving accuracy and efficiency.

SERV Trayvou Interverrouillage (STI) has launched the NXO1LTC, a new access interlock with personnel key for harsh or corrosive environments. It consists of a lock with two key slots that work on a free key / trapped key basis.

The EMKA IP65 three-digit combination lock and cylinder key swinghandle system offers simple security on two levels. Applications for the 1155 Program include storage lockers in factories, schools and colleges as well as outdoor storage facilities and standard electrical cabinets.

A-Gas (UK) Limited is campaigning to have speciality gas and refrigerant cylinders banned from being sold on Internet auction sites.

Briggs Equipment UK Ltd, a leading national independent service provider and materials handling equipment specialist, has announced a proposal to start a new working partnership with Yale Materials Handling and is now considering the full alignment of its dealership with the on-going global growth strategy of its parent company - Briggs International Inc.

In the words of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM) 2007 Approved Code of Practice (APoC) "The key aim of CDM2007 is to integrate health and safety into the management of construction work".

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