High tech engineering in Milton Keynes was put in the spotlight during an enlightening breakfast networking seminar.
The first of a paired event highlighting exceptional manufacturing companies in MK, the breakfast meeting at the Brasserie at Milton Keynes College on October 5, 2017, welcomed SMC Pneumatics and Routeco.
The two companies, one a manufacturer and the other a distributor, provided eye-opening insights into the role of innovation in a developing high technology manufacturing hub in Milton Keynes.
Paul Barnes, SMC’s Indirect Sales Manager outlined the company’s journey from starting out in 1978, to moving to Milton Keynes in 1989 and plans for its place in the city. The company now employs 400 people in MK and is a key part of a developing a highly skilled hub of manufacturing businesses.
SMC is much more than a component manufacturer; it sees itself as using technology to solve customer problems.
Paul outlined the case of a cheese manufacturer who used different pieces of equipment to cut the food into square blocks, circles or other shapes. SMC helped its customer to create a piece of kit that was able to cut cheese into different shapes, saving significant sums of money.
He explained the key role that innovation has in the process as customers seek flexible design solutions, energy management, to future proof their operations and to seek continuous improvement.
One of the biggest examples of innovation was in the development of electrically-driven cylinders, which are more efficient, effective and flexible and provide a greater degree of precision control. He also touched on the increasing role of interconnectivity and providing information in technology that customers want.
Dave Amps, marketing director at MK-based industrial automation distributor Routeco, highlighted the importance of adding value to a business offer to stay ahead.
“You’ve got to innovate or others will step in and take your business,” said Dave. “For us, it’s all about innovation. If you are not innovating, you are soon off-shored.”
Routeco is owned by Sonepar, the biggest business-to-business distributor in the world, which is supporting Routeco in Milton Keynes.
The breakfast seminar also discussed the need to attract young people into manufacturing at a time when the sector is seen as less attractive and interesting than other career choices.
Biztech chairman Fredi Nonyelu thanked the speakers, the audience and Biztech’s Henry Kafeman for his role in organising the contacts, and said how much he was looking forward to the second part of this paired event, a showcase visit to SMC Pneumatics on October 19. Details here.
Fredi also mentioned the newly re-energised BrightSparc Awards, which are open for entries now, and the Biztech Annual Dinner, on December 7, which benefits from great food and fantastic speakers.
“Do get your name down for that one,” said Fredi. You can do that via this link.