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  • Growth slowed in the last quarter, but businesses remain optimistic

    In recent months, the news for the economy has been largely positive, with many businesses reporting new growth and feeling optimistic about future job creation and expansions. However, the latest set of figures that have been released were not as encouraging.

    New figures recently issued by the CBI show that growth slowed in the last three months to August. More than 700 businesses from the manufacturing, retail and services industry responded to the CBI survey; figures showed that growth in the manufacturing and businesses and professional services industries slowed in the last quarter. However, there was good news for the retail industry as figures indicated that sales volumes in the retail sector have remained strong.

    However, it wasn’t all bad news for the manufacturing and services industries, as although growth had slowed, it is still remains at above average and the CBI growth indicator shows that UK businesses are positive about the next three months.

    Businesses were looking forward to the next quarter; they expect the next three months to be “robust” and to reach near record levels.

    Commenting in a press release, Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said:

    "There are a few early signs that momentum in the economy may ease slightly in the second half of the year.

    "However, growth is set to remain robust, and there are positive signs that the recovery is continuing along the right track.

    "Alongside the strong showing from the retail sector, it’s encouraging that firms feel particularly upbeat about growth prospects as we head into the autumn.

    "Businesses will continue to keep a weather eye on developments overseas, as subdued prospects in the Eurozone and international political uncertainty make the global economic environment that bit more challenging."

    Future Growth

    Despite the news of stalling growth, the CBI has issued a statement outlining its forecast for the rest of 2014 and it remains positive about future growth. The CBI stated that the UK recovery is on “sold ground” and said that it expected that the on-going recovery would remain on an “even keel” throughout the coming months.

    However, the CBI warned that although business growth is performing better than expected, it has still to reach the pre-crisis levels of 2008. The CBI also urged politicians to keep their focus on building long-term economic security and not to just concentrate on “winning the political race”

  • Hinkley Point C could face further delays

    There is speculation that plans for Hinkley Point C could face further delays. The EDF Worker’s Committee are due to make a decision this weekon the future of the proposed nuclear power station and it is thought likely that they are to ask for it to be postponed.

    Legal action is also being taken by unions in France in a bid to delay the project. However, while plans for the Hinkley Point C plant don’t have the support of some French unions, it has the backing of four major unions in the United Kingdom.

    Unionsupport for Hinkley Point C

    Len McCluskey of Unite and Mike Clancy of Prospect are among the supporters of the new plant who have signed a letter to Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF UK urging him to make the final investment decision in “a timely fashion”.

    The letter also stated:

    “From an energy perspective, the UK needs the electricity. We are rapidly losing capacity and this process will continue as the UK coal stations and nuclear stations reach the end of their operating lives.

    “At the same time, we are committed to making a transition to a carbon-neutral balanced energy policy in the UK, including nuclear and renewables.

    “Much is at stake in both France and the UK in terms of jobs, skills, social dialogue, industrial capability and prosperity into the future.”

    Consultation Process

    The consultation process was due to come to an end on July 4 and union bosses are calling for a decision on the final financing to be made as soon as possible. Previously, the announcement on funding was due to be made in May, but this was deferred until September 2016.

     “Project is ready”

    Despite there reportedly being some concerns over funding, at a meetingwith the Energy and Climate Change Committee in May, Vincent de Rivaz announced that the “money is there”. He also noted that the French Trade Unions wished to delay the project further.

    However, de Rivaz went on to say that a delay wasn’t necessary as the “project is ready”. He also added that the project mustn’t be postponed “because the UK needs the electricity from Hinkley Point C at the time it’s due to come on line”.

    It is estimated that the building of the new nuclear plant will cost £18 billion, and it would generate 7% of electricity in Britain once it comes into use. It also has the potential to create thousands of jobs.

  • Hinkley Point C Power Plant gets state aid approval

    The European Commission has approved the Hinkley Point C State Aid case, it was announced this week. The announcement will lead the way for a new nuclear power station being built in the UK – the first for a generation.

    The Government says that nuclear power stations such as the one planned at Hinkley will be essential for providing energy security to Britain as the majority of the countries existing stations are due to be decommissioned by 2023.

    Building the new power stations is also an essential part of The government plans to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions; the building of the new plant at Hinkley is part of the government’s strategy to create cleaner, greener sources of energy for the future.

    Once Hinkley is in use, it will have the power to provide electricity for six million homes, and the Government states that 25,000 construction jobs are to be created as a result.

    Energy company EDF will be responsible for the running of the new nuclear power plant, and there are plans to share the benefits with energy customers should the building of the plant come in under budget.

    The Government stated that it is continuing to work with EDF to complete the final details of the contract.

    Commenting in a press release, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

    “This is an important next step on the road to Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation. While there is much work still to do before a final contract can be signed, today’s announcement is a boost to our efforts to ensure Britain has secure, affordable low carbon electricity in the 2020s.

    “After a thorough, detailed and independent analysis of our proposed project with EDF, this decision shows the European Commission agrees that this is a good deal for consumers and enables us now to proceed to the next stage.”

    In the coming years, more nuclear plants are planned to replace the current ones, which cause too much pollution. The government says that the new stations will offer the United Kingdom a greater energy resilience and provide cleaner fuel.

    It is estimated that building the new stations will save the consumer £90 a year on their energy bills by 2030, and the plant operator will be responsible for all of the costs of decommissioning as well as having to cover some of the costs of waste management.

  • Improved manufacturing performance in last quarter

    Manufacturing growth ended on a high in 2014, according to the latest figures from the British Chamber of Commerce; statistics from the Quarterly Economic Survey were positive news for the manufacturing industry following a period of slow growth in the sector.

    Nearly 7,000 companies were interviewed for the survey and the results showed a marked increase in growth for the last quarter in 2014. Analysts say that the strong performance of the last quarter is a good sign of continued economic growth throughout 2015, however, this will only be possible if U.K businesses get the support that they need from the government.

    Strong Growth and Job Creation

    The figures from the Chamber of Commerce show strong growth all round with an increase in domestic and turnover confidence. Export sales were also on the increase, however, they were still slow. According to the statistics, there was an increase in the number of firms investing in training in the last quarter of 2014, and an increased amount of manufacturing firms are now operating at full capacity. The figures are also good news for future job creation as many companies indicated that they intend to recruit new staff members and were actively searching for new employees.

    Commenting in a press release, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce said:

    “British businesses are well placed to grow in 2015 – a testament to their hard-work and resilience. It is particularly pleasing to see the manufacturing sector bounce back, despite signs of a slowdown in recent months. However we must aim for growth that is sustainable for the long-term, rather than settle for second best.”

    “With employment and investment intentions at historically high levels, businesses are gearing up for a big year in 2015. It is now vitally important that firms are able to convert their growth ambitions into reality. Strengthening our business finance system, which constrains the growth aspirations of too many firms, will remain a decisive factor in securing a sustainable recovery. Low interest rates and reduced regulation will also go a long way to creating an environment that encourages enterprise and wealth creation.”

    Economic Recovery

    Despite the positive news, Longworth also added that the U.K. economic recovery still faced many challenges, and while businesses are “bouncing back” he warned that the economic recovery might face a set back “if political point scoring outweighs sound economic policies” Longworth also urged politicians from all parties to outline what they will do to make sure that business investment and growth continues over the long term.

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  • Industrial Valve Summit to be hosted in Italy in May

    The Industrial Valve Summit, which is held in collaboration with ISA, the European Commission, NACE International, the European Sealing Association and other organisation, is set to get underway on May 27th, 2015. The two day event will be held in Bergamo, Italy, and it is open to individuals from a wide range of industries including the power generation and co-generation, food and beverages, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, oil and gas distributions industries, and many other manufacturing businesses.

    The summit, which attracts some of the best-known names in the valve industry, is aimed at allowing attendees to share their expertise and experience with other people from the same field.

    In addition, the summit provides a forum for those working in the industrial valves industry and allows people to network with experts and specialists. Another benefit to attendees is that it is a way of allowing companies in the valve industry to keep up-to-date with the latest technologies and news.

    Typical products that will be exhibited and demonstrated include valves, pipes and fittings, leak detectors, lubricants and software.

    Opportunities and Demonstrations

    At the Industrial Valve Summit, there is ample opportunity for anyone involved in operations, management or maintenance to review and compare a range of new products from exhibitors, and to watch demonstrations to they can gain a better understanding of how the newer technologies could aid their business.

    Focused Market

    Another aim of the Summit is to allow exhibitors to reach a focused market to gain new clients and to network with already existing customers. Both managers and specialists can use the Summit as a way of gaining important information about valve products and also gives them access to a “knowledge hub” of hundreds of attendees that would not normally be gathered together.

    Changing Trends and Contacts

    Visitors to the Industrial Valve Summit can also benefit from identifying possible trends in the valve industry when they attend the event and it can help visitors to find valuable contacts for their new and existing valve products; attendees that exhibit at the Summit also have the opportunity to take part in promotional packages to promote their existing and new products.

    Attending the Summit

    Although the Summit is some months away, organisations that are interested in attending are invited to sign up as a visitor to the summit in advance. Further information can be found about this by going to the official website at http://www.industrialvalvesummit.com/

  • Jordan Sliding Gate Valve Seats

    Jordan Sliding Gate Valve Seats

    Simple Concept, Superior Performance

    Straight Through Flow

    The control element in the Jordan Valve sliding gate design is perpendicular to the flow, unlike the traditional globe style design. With the straight thru flow design, the sliding gate design reduces turbulence & provides superior trim life.

    Short Stroke, Fast Response

    The total stoke length of a sliding gate valve is just a fraction of the equivalent globe or rotary style valve. In pressure regulators, the length is typically 1/3 that of a globe valve, reducing the amount of droop (deviation from set point) in the regulator. In the Jordan control valve, the stroke length can be as little as 1/6 that of a conventional globe or cage guided design. This allows the use of smaller actuators, reduced air consumption & weight. 

  • Killingholme Closure date confirmed

    Centrica has confirmed the closure date for the Killingholme power station. The energy company first made the announcement that the Lincolnshire based station was to close in 2015 due to the losses that Centrica’s gas fired power stations were making; in an official statement recently released, the power company stated that it will close Killingholme A on March 1, 2016.

    In a press release, Centrica’s Operations Director Mark Futyan, said:

    “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has played their part at Killingholme over the past 21 years of operation. We will continue to support the site team, as we have since we announced the potential for closure earlier in the year.

    “For the final few months of winter, Killingholme will remain ready to step in and help at periods of high demand until the time comes to switch off for the last time.”  

    Plans to sell the gas power plant got underway in 2014, but as the bids did not reach expectations, Centrica announced proposals to close the loss-making Killingholme A power station.

    The Killingholme A power station is currently functioning under the National Grid’s Supplemental Balancing Reserve, but this will cease on February 29th, 2016, hence the official closure of the plant.

    Killingholme A, opened in 1994 and was originally owned by National Power; it was purchased by Centrica in 2004 and had a capacity to create 665 megawatts of power.

    South Humber Bank

    However, there is better news for Centrica’s South Humber Bank power station, which is now secure until 2027. It is to be returned to full power in 2017, and Centrica has announced that £63 million is to be invested in the gas turbines at the plant, which is based in North East Lincolnshire.

    Killingholme B

    In 2015, E.on announced that it would be withdrawing the Killingholme B power station and its 900 MWs of capacity from the market, and that the Transmission Entry Capacity would be released in the National Grid.

    At the time, the company also stated that the power station could face permanent closure, and E.on UK’s chief executive, Tony Cocker, spoke of the challenges for the gas-fired power stations.  In June 2015, E.on  officially announced that the Killingholme B station was to close with the loss of at least fifty jobs.

    Killingholme B is owned by E-on and was brought back into service in 2005 after two years of work and a £25 million investment.

  • Lynemouth biomass plant given EU state approval

    Plans to convert a coal fuelled plant in Lynemouth to biomass have been granted state aid approval, the EC has announced. Owners RWE now intends to press ahead with the plans for conversion.

    The European Commission opened its investigation early in the year and made its ruling on December 1, 2015. It announced that the UK government support for the project was in compliance with EU state aid rules and said the conversion would help the UK to reach the environmental and energy targets set out by the European Union without “unduly distorting competition”.

    Plans to convert the station were first announced in 2014, and the government is supporting the project by paying a premium in addition to the market price. The project will continue to receive aid until 2027.

    Commenting on the announcement, Andree Stracke, Chief Commercial Officer of RWE Supply and Trading GmbH said:

    "We welcome this confirmation of the government support for biomass power generation, which provides a reliable base load to complement other renewables such as wind and solar.”

    Stracke added that the company hope to have converted the plant within the next 18 months and he said it would allow the export of 390 MW of low carbon electricity to the National Grid, thus aiding the government’s climate change aims

    The government has set itself a target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. One of the ways the government intends to reach its aim is by switching to low carbon alternatives and becoming less dependent on fossil fuels.

    When the conversion goes ahead, Lynemouth power station intends to use renewable wood pellets, which will be exported from the United States, Europe and Canada. In addition, a sustainability management system will be put in place to ensure that the biomass fuel produced by the plant will meet the minimum sustainability standards that have been set out.

    The plant, which is based in the Northumberland in the UK, has the capacity to make enough electricity to power more than 450,000 homes. In addition, converting the Lynemouth plant from coal power will have a positive impact on the environment and on the economy in the north east.

    Moreover, it will burn 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets annually, and produce an estimated 2.3 TWh of power.

    The Lynemouth power station has been powered by coal since the early 1970s and was previously owned by Alcan. In 2012, RWE took over the running of the plant and as a result the Lynemouth Power Company was established.

  • Majority of businesses unconcerned about power cuts

    A new study shows that most small and medium sized enterprises in the UK aren’t worried about winter power cuts. The research by British Gas Business indicated that 83 per cent of SMEs don’t view power loss as a threat to their business, and just 17 per cent of the 500 UK-based SMEs said power cuts were a concern.

    Senior managers working in small businesses said they had lost an average of two working days in the last five years due to power cuts, while larger businesses with turnovers of £50 million or more had lost six days due to black outs. 

    However, small and medium sized enterprises are being warned against complacency, and they are being urged to put an action plan in place now rather than risk losing access to heating or hot water in the winter.

    Testing procedures and maintenance

    The survey also indicated that only a limited amount of companies carry out testing procedures, and 72 per cent of businesses don’t have a maintenance plan in place. Moreover, 41 per cent of senior managers revealed they hadn’t organised annual services for boilers and other appliances; this figure was higher in smaller companies.

    James Bennett, Managing Director of Business Services at British Gas, said:

    “With winter fast approaching, now is the time for small businesses to make sure they have well maintained heating and hot water systems. Companies with annual servicing or maintenance plans in place are better positioned to focus their time on creating revenues and growth.” 

    Employers are also reminded of their legal requirements to keep gas appliances, flues etc., well maintained.

    Reduced risk of winter black out threat

    However, there is less chance of black outs this winter, according the National Grid’s latest outlook report. The National Grid has taken steps to increase power capacity after warnings in the summer about the record low levels of spare capacity.  

    The Telegraph reports the National Grid invested £123 million into ten power stations so they would stay open as part of an emergency scheme. Extra payments would be made to the power companies if the back-up support is needed.

    Eggborough reprieve

    The news that the Eggborough power plant in Yorkshire is to stay open has also resulted in extra capacity for the months ahead. The plant had originally been scheduled to close in March 2016, but the agreement with the National Grid means it has got a reprieve, and the plant will supply power under the Supplemental Balance Reserve scheme should capacity fall this winter.

  • Majority of businesses unconcerned about power cuts

    A new study shows that most small and medium sized enterprises in the UK aren’t worried about winter power cuts. The research by British Gas Business indicated that 83 per cent of SMEs don’t view power loss as a threat to their business, and just 17 per cent of the 500 UK-based SMEs said power cuts were a concern.

    Senior managers working in small businesses said they had lost an average of two working days in the last five years due to power cuts, while larger businesses with turnovers of £50 million or more had lost six days due to black outs. 

    However, small and medium sized enterprises are being warned against complacency, and they are being urged to put an action plan in place now rather than risk losing access to heating or hot water in the winter.

    Testing procedures and maintenance

    The survey also indicated that only a limited amount of companies carry out testing procedures, and 72 per cent of businesses don’t have a maintenance plan in place. Moreover, 41 per cent of senior managers revealed they hadn’t organised annual services for boilers and other appliances; this figure was higher in smaller companies.

    James Bennett, Managing Director of Business Services at British Gas, said:

    “With winter fast approaching, now is the time for small businesses to make sure they have well maintained heating and hot water systems. Companies with annual servicing or maintenance plans in place are better positioned to focus their time on creating revenues and growth.” 

    Employers are also reminded of their legal requirements to keep gas appliances, flues etc., well maintained.

    Reduced risk of winter black out threat

    However, there is less chance of black outs this winter, according the National Grid’s latest outlook report. The National Grid has taken steps to increase power capacity after warnings in the summer about the record low levels of spare capacity.  

    The Telegraph reports the National Grid invested £123 million into ten power stations so they would stay open as part of an emergency scheme. Extra payments would be made to the power companies if the back-up support is needed.

    Eggborough reprieve

    The news that the Eggborough power plant in Yorkshire is to stay open has also resulted in extra capacity for the months ahead. The plant had originally been scheduled to close in March 2016, but the agreement with the National Grid means it has got a reprieve, and the plant will supply power under the Supplemental Balance Reserve scheme should capacity fall this winter.

  • Manufacturing close to stagnation rates

    Manufacturing has hit a 34-month low, according to figures from the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which takes its data from more than 600 manufacturing companies.

    The UK manufacturing PMI now stands at 50.8, which is only just above the stagnation mark and output has experienced a sharp decrease. The fall comes just a month after an increase of the January manufacturing PMI to 52.9, which was due to a surge in domestic orders.

    The slump is attributed to a slowdown in the consumer and investment goods market, and capital and consumer goods are also in decline.

    Commenting on the new figures, Rob Dobson, a Senior Economist at Markit, said:

    “The near-stagnation of manufacturing highlights the ongoing fragility of the economic recovery at the start of the year and provides further cover for the Bank of England's increasingly dovish stance.

    "The breadth of the slowdown is especially worrisome. The domestic market is showing signs of weakening while export business continued to fall."

    “Price pressures also remained firmly on the downside, with the survey signalling input costs falling at a double-digit annual pace and average factory gate selling prices showing a further decline. A lot of this is driven by the ongoing weakness of global commodity prices. However, there are also signs that weaker growth is driving up competition between manufacturers to secure new business and among their suppliers too.”

    Nevertheless, despite the decline in February’s results, the PMI still remains in positive figures and previous industry surveys show that manufacturers are positive about the future prospects.

    Employment slump and Exports

    Employment in the manufacturing sector also fell, with the figures for February showing a reduction for the second successive month, however, the fall was not significant

    Exports were on the decline with manufacturers stating there is a slowdown in orders from key locations such as Russia, Brazil and mainland Europe, and there was low demand from the domestic market also.

    Exchange rates, Brexit and the manufacturing sector

    Many manufacturing firms have expressed concerns over the volatility of exchange rates and the impact these will continue to have on the sector. Moreover, with an EU referendum set for June, this will lead to more uncertainty over the future of exports.

    The future of the UK export market will remain unclear while the outcome of the Brexit vote is unknown. In the meanwhile, analysts state that if the UK public does vote to exit the EU, this will have a significant impact on many UK manufacturing sectors, including the chemical, food and beverages industry.

  • Manufacturing gathered pace in September

    Manufacturing grew in September, according to the latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics. The pharmaceutical sector showed a strong performance, but the gas and oil sectors unperformed, causing an 0.4 per cent drop in total industrial production, the BBC reports.

    Moreover, there were further challenges for the manufacturing sector in September in the form of inflation, leading to a rise in prices for materials and the cost of fuels.  Manufacturers have also had to contend with the low value of the pound, which has made imports more expensive, but sterling is now on the rise.

    Manufacturers adjusting spending plans

    The immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote has not had the impact on the manufacturing sector that many had feared. However, manufacturers are adjusting their investment plans following the referendum result, according to research from the EEF.

    The EEF/Santander Monitor 2016 report indicates that manufacturing firms will slow down their investment into capital equipment for the near future. 60 per cent of the manufacturers surveyed stated they will be spending either the same or less on equipment in the next two years.

    Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at the EEF said:                    

    “Fears of an immediate collapse in business investment appear to be unfounded for now. UK manufacturers have been investing at a healthy pace in recent years and while that rate of increase wasn’t going to continue forever, keeping up with customer needs and the competition is ensuring that investment stays on track for many.

    EEF attribute this slowdown in spending to order book uncertainty. In addition, some manufacturers are already faced with ‘soft demand’, with a third of manufactures already having spare capacity, meaning they are reluctant to invest in equipment that could go under used.

    The EEF also stressed the need for policies that would assist the manufacturing industry. Ms Hopley stated:

    “…It’s over to the Autumn statement now to press ahead with policies that further enhance the UK business environment for spending on modern machinery and increasingly important intangible investment.”

    Change in investment strategy

    Manufacturers are also changing the way they invest. EEF say manufacturers would rather invest in innovation to help them stand out from the competition, allowing them to enhance productivity and to improve future demand for their products. 60 per cent of manufacturers say that investing in ‘intangibles’ rather than equipment is now more important to their businesses.

    Despite the concerns prior to the referendum, the report shows that Brexit has had little impact on the manufacturing sector’s plans for future investment. There is also more optimism over exports due the fall in the value of pound.

  • Manufacturing industry needs more innovation

    There need for more innovation in the manufacturing industry has been highlighted by new research.

    Just 11 per cent of manufacturers have a system in place to enhance innovation; this could put the UK at a distinct disadvantage in the future due to the many challenges the manufacturing sector is currently facing, according to RSM, who conducted the survey.

    RSM found that more than half of the manufacturers interviewed said they do intend invest in business systems at some point. However, these efforts are mainly concentrated on technology to improve the way the business is run, boost efficiency and productivity, but many UK manufacturers are neglecting to invest in innovation.

    Discussing the research, Mike Thornton, head of manufacturing for RSM, said:

    ‘As many UK manufacturers prepare for a potential surge in competition and uncertain trading conditions, harnessing technology could be the answer to future success. Technology will play an important role to help the sector become more efficient, productive and, in turn, more competitive, but this requires significant investment into the right software, equipment and talent to drive change.’

    Lack of innovation not limited to manufacturing industry

    Experts say that innovation is crucial if the UK manufacturing industry is going to be competitive post-Brexit and if it is to keep up with cheaper manufacturing bases like China.

    However, the manufacturing sector isn’t the only industry struggling when it comes to innovation.

    A study from PWC found that relatively few of the UK-based companies interviewed (32 per cent) viewed innovation as important, with most companies preferring to prioritise technology instead.

    Government initiatives to improve innovation in manufacturing

    Although a considerable percentage of manufactures admit that investing in innovation isn’t their priority, government agency Innovate UK say UK manufactures do still rate as a ‘major driver of innovation’.

    The agency also explains how new technologies that involve digitisation, like the Internet of Things and cloud based data, have the power to transform manufacturing.

    Digitisation is where a new generation of ideas and products is most likely to come from in the future, and progress is being made in this area. Research shows that most UK companies plan to have invested in digitalisation by 2021, although they don’t plan to invest quite as much as other countries.

    And to encourage fresh innovations in the sector, government agency Innovate UK has opened the third round of funding competition, which is designed to encourage manufacturers to come forward with new ideas.

  • Meister Flow Limiters - Protecting the environment.

    Flow Limiters by Meister - Tamo UK

    These energy saving mechanical flow limiters require no external power source and enable an almost constant flow rate to be maintained. Primarily designed to work with these compact units are easy to fit into existing systems or new systems. Unlike some other flow limiters there are no wearing parts. Too see the promotional video click on the link. 

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  • Meister Flow Limiters from Tamo

    Flow Limiters by Meister - Tamo UK

    These energy saving mechanical flow limiters require no external power source and enable an almost constant flow rate to be maintained. Primarily designed to work with these compact units are easy to fit into existing systems or new systems. Unlike some other flow limiters there are no wearing parts. Too see the promotional video click on the link. 

    Watch the Video Here 

    Or View Here on our Website

  • Meister flow switches & indicators have ATEX switches available

    PI-ATEX-3 small

    Meister flow switches & indicators have ATEX switches available as options on most of their standard Ranges. Including their low flow ranges where their series SG-15EX of switches were developed specifically for use on variable area flow meters with small flow rates, enabling reliable monitoring in hazardous areas. Approved by Bureau Veritas, the complete flow switches are suitable for use in zones 1, 2, 21 and 22 in accordance with ATEX.

    For more information contact our technical sales dept.

  • Millions of businesses unclear on duties over safe gas appliances

    More than 1.5 million small and medium enterprises say that they are not aware of their legal duties when it comes to maintaining safe gas appliances.  This could mean that many companies around the UK are inadvertently putting their businesses at risk because they don’t understand, or are unware of the current regulations.

    Under the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 all employers are legally obliged to  make sure that gas appliances, gas pipe works and flues remaining in good working order, however, more than 50% of senior managers stated that they did not know that they had to carry out regular safety checks.

    27% of those surveyed said that taking advantage of the recovering economy was most important to them, and 45% of respondents felt that increasing the amount customers spend was the most essential challenge faced by their business, however, 38% said that they were “overwhelmed” by the sheer amount of compliance and safety requirements, while 39% said that they didn’t have adequate time to ensure that they stayed up to date with all of the relevant safety requirements.

    Just under half of the small and medium sized businesses interviewed said that that they had not carried out safety checks within the last 12 months, which could mean that their Business Liability Insurance would no longer be validate should an accident happen or a claim be made against their company.

    Businesses that don’t carry out regular energy safety checks are putting their company at risk of prosecution should a problem occur and they are also endangering the health and safety of the people that work for them.

    Commenting on the survey, Stephen Beynon, Managing Director at British Gas Business, said:

    “Gas safety should be an absolute priority for all businesses. Our customers tell us that it can be a struggle to find the time to wade through compliance requirements, but the consequences of using unsafe gas appliances can be severe. With winter not far away it makes sense to put plans in place which protect businesses and allow them to focus on what matters - growing their revenues to help Britain’s economic recovery.”

    In further findings, 60% of those interviewed stated that they had experienced a  breakdown within the last five years, but  just over a quarter said that they had no backup plan in place should there be a breakdown.

  • Mixed news for manufacturing

    New figures from the CBI and Markit, show mixed news for the manufacturing sector. According to figures released from the CBI, manufacturing output and exports have shown a steady growth in recent months, however, manufacturers are less optimistic about the near future.

    While output, employment and domestic orders were showing signs of improvement in the last quarter, post-Brexit, manufacturers are less optimistic moving forward.

    CBI Chief Economist, Rain Newton Smith, said:

    “Manufacturers picked up the pace over the second quarter, with output growing solidly. We’re also seeing encouraging signs of a boost to export competitiveness from a weaker sterling.

    “But it’s clear that a cloud of uncertainty is hovering over industry, post-Brexit. We see this in weak expectations for new orders, a sharp fall in optimism and a scaling back of investment plans.”

    UK Manufacturing PMI

    The UK Purchasing Manufacturing PMI was also down to 48.2 for July, with production and consumer orders only experiencing a modest rise, which is thought to be largely due to the uncertainties surrounding the aftermath of the Brexit vote. The figures are the poorest for three years, but export orders received a boost.

    Senior Economist, Rob Dobson from Markit, said:

    “The final PMI came in at 48.2, down from the earlier flash print of 49.1. The pace of contraction was the fastest since early-2013 amid increasingly widespread reports that business activity has been adversely affected by the EU referendum. The drops in output, new orders and employment were all steeper than flash estimates.”

    The demand for manufactured goods in the UK also appear to have been affected both prior to the vote and afterwards, and the PMI figures were also bad news the value of the pound, which fell sharply following the announcement.

    Production and employment

    The figures highlight concerns over employment figures in the manufacturing sector. Further job losses were recorded in July, and there are worries that the trend is set to continue. Production experienced the worst decline since 2012 and contractions were noted across the consumer, investment and intermediate goods sectors.

    Recession fears

    The poor performance of manufacturing had been expected following the Brexit vote and the uncertainty surrounding it. However, the PMI results were lower than predicted, and this has led to fresh concerns over a recession.

    David Noble, Group Chief Executive Officer from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply stated that without new orders coming through, the downward trajectory in the manufacturing sector is likely to get worse in the short term.

  • National Grid discuss plans for Borehamwood site

    The National Grid are consulting with residents in Borehamwood over the future of a site that used to house the local gasworks.

    Work is currently underway to clear the site, and efforts to break up the gas holders that are located at the Borehamwood site are expected to get underway shortly; it is thought that the work will be completed towards the end of 2015. With the site cleared, plans for redevelopment can go ahead and there are proposals for the site to be used for housing.

    In addition to plans to remove gas holders from the site, gas equipment that is currently being used is to be transferred to another site in the local area.

    Residents and local councillors were at the meeting to hear about plans for the redevelopment of the site. At the meeting, residents had an opportunity to ask questions about the future of the former gasworks and to find out further details of the proposed redevelopment.

    Among those attending was Councillor Clive Butchins, who acts as a representative for the Borehamwood Hillside Ward.

    Commenting on the meeting, Councillor Butchins said:

    “Although it is a shame to lose such a local landmark, I am happy to see the gasholders removed from site to prepare it for a more useful future.”

    Following the meeting, Nadia Dew, Land Regeneration Manager at National Grid said: “It is always great to meet with the site’s neighbours. We hope that people found the session and opportunity to ask questions helpful.”

    She went on to say:  “We’ll continue to keep all our neighbours updated on how our work’s progressing” and she assured residents that the local pedestrian walkway would remain open during the redevelopment phase.

    The National Grid site has a long history in the area and it had once been essential for delivering gas to locals in Borehamwood. In addition, the site had been used for storing gas, but due to modern developments, there is no need for the gasholders so the decision was made to decommission them.

    According to 4-traders.com, the National Grid first told residents about the proposals to redevelop the site back in February 2015.

    As the plans for redevelopment are underway, local residents are invited to continue to give their feedback on plans for the regeneration of the site. Residents are invited to call the community relations team should they have any questions over the plans for the restoration of the Borehamwood site.

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