Sheffield Hallam University welcomes Siemens CEO to business innovation networking event

Sheffield Hallam University will welcome Siemens UK’s CEO Juergen Maier to an innovation network event aimed at connecting the city’s manufacturing businesses with digital entrepreneurs.

The Digital Transformation event has been organised by the University’s Sheffield Innovation Programme (SIP) team along with colleagues from the University of Sheffield and will feature a talk by Juergen on how digital technologies can help manufacturing businesses to lead a 4th Industrial revolution.

On 15 March, The Cutlers Hall in Sheffield will host Juergen and also Mark Webber, managing director of Tinsley Bridge, who will give a regional perspective and talk about the impact of innovation for manufacturing on his business and also its importance to the city region.

SIP provides expertise, workshops and networking that help regional businesses to grow through adopting new technologies and skills. The Digital Transformation evening event comes following a two-day innovation workshop for regional digital businesses looking to find out more about how they can help manufacturers to further grow their operations

Alex Prince, head of knowledge exchange at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this event, bringing together these two critical sectors and creating opportunities for collaboration and innovation, with the aim of boosting manufacturing and increasing productivity for the region.

“Juergen was commissioned by government to put forward proposals for an Industrial Digitalisation sector deal and led on the Made Smarter Review. These set out how UK manufacturing can be transformed through the adoption of industrial digital technology and play a stronger leadership role in driving the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“Tinsley Bridge is an award winning engineering and manufacturing business based in Sheffield, and will talk about their perspective and the impacts and importance of innovating for them.

“Events such as this are part of a broader innovation programme; bringing world-leading entrepreneurs, companies and technologies into the region, helping to develop economic growth and offering practical support and innovation for businesses.”

Tickets for the two day event and evening talk with Juergen Maier are available to businesses from the city region. If you wish to attend please secure your spot by visiting HERE

The event is the latest in a series of workshops hosting by SIP. For more information, please visit


The Sheffield-based William Cook group has secured export orders of £5m for its tank track systems.

The engineering company will supply its custom-designed tracks for an allied regional power in the Middle East in a deal worth £3m. It is also manufacturing tracks worth £2m for a friendly nation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Chris Seymour, managing director, said: “We are proud to be flying the flag for British manufacturing as the trusted supplier of track systems to defence ministries and their contractors in Anglophile countries around the world.

“We continue to invest in our business for future growth by adding new technology and talent at our manufacturing plants in Sheffield, Leeds and Stanhope.”

William Cook’s defence division is on target for a record year with sales in excess of £25m.

The business is also set to unveil a new investment at its Stanhope plant in County Durham later this year.

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Business, 21st February 2018


A historic Sheffield manufacturer of gardening, agricultural and giftware products has been acquired by a Canada-based group.

Burgon & Ball has been making hand sheep shears on the same site in Sheffield since 1730 and have produced about 25 million pairs in that time.

The company, which also has a sales and marketing office in Poole, has been bought by Venanpri Tools, the hand tools division of Venanpri Group and owner of the Bellota and Corona brands.

Heather Culpan, managing director of Burgon & Ball, said: “The success of Burgon & Ball has been built on its commitment to the creation of design and function-led products with enhanced customer appeal and drawing on its Sheffield heritage. I am confident that the company will continue to progress through seizing new product and investment opportunities and synergy with the Corona and Bellota businesses.”

Tuffin Ferraby Taylor (TFT) has provided technical due diligence as part of the sale. It was instructed by environmental consultant Delta Simons.

Paul Spaven, partner at TFT said: “I have carried out technical due diligence of a huge range of commercial buildings, across the UK and Europe, but the survey of the Burgon & Ball factory was rather special. During my two days of inspections I witnessed handcrafted sheep shears being expertly produced in the same way and to the same design as they were back in 1720, and at the same site in Sheffield.

“It also gave me the opportunity to explore the physical heritage of the factory. The former water and steam powered facilities, the patina of over almost 300 years of working the steel and evidence of the historic export led growth of the business.”

Source: Stephen Farrrell, Insider Business, 16 February 2018


Despite a 5.1 per cent fall in the market in the fourth quarter, annual transactions were the second highest following the all-time record set in 2016.

Smaller cars continued to be the most popular, with superminis representing a third (33.5 per cent) of all transactions, while demand for minis grew 4.3 per cent.

SUVs enjoyed the strongest growth, rising 9.5 per cent, the SMMT said, however, apart from executive cars, up a marginal 0.02 per cent, all other segments experienced declines.

Demand for petrol-electric hybrid cars was up 22.2 per cent to 73,864, and zero emission electric vehicles rose 77.1 per cent, with 10,199 changing hands in the year.

Despite a 4.3 per cent decline, petrol retained its position as the most popular fuel type with a 58 per cent market share, while used diesel car transactions rose 3.3 per cent, with more than 3.3million motorists (40.8 per cent of buyers) investing in one.

Across the UK, the majority of used car transactions took place in the South East, with more than 1.2 million vehicles finding new owners in the region, followed by the North West and West Midlands.

The UK’s best-selling used model remained the Ford Fiesta, closely followed by the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Britain’s used car buyers are enjoying more choice than ever, and it’s great to see millions of people taking advantage of the low emission, safety and convenience technology filtering into this market.

“While such healthy demand is reassuring, to keep it that way and accelerate renewal throughout the fleet – the fastest way to improve air quality – government must now restore confidence to the new car sector.

“Given the recent economic and fiscal uncertainty, particularly over diesel, consumers and businesses need clarity to encourage them to move out of their older vehicles and into newer, lower emission cars – whatever their fuel type.”

Source: Jon Robinson, Insider Media, 15 February 2018

University of Sheffield signs up as Northern Powerhouse Partner

The University of Sheffield has become the latest organisation to sign up as a Northern Powerhouse partner.

The university, which has 29,000 students and 7,000 staff, joins a group of northern organisations that have pledged to work with the government to help the north achieve its full potential and attract new jobs and investment.

The agreement was signed on a visit by Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry to the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) yesterday (12 February 2018).

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “If the north of England is to create the strong economy which will be needed to create wealth and opportunities, it needs to work in new ways to be globally competitive.

“As the cradle of the first industrial revolution, the north of England sent new products to the world. Now we need the infrastructure, research, innovation and skills which will enable us to lead in the era of Industry 4.0. This means new approaches to bringing together world-class research and teaching with global

companies and their supply chains, creating new products and reshoring production. This is an area where the University of Sheffield is leading the way, working with Boeing, McLaren, Siemens and Rolls-Royce to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.”

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry added: “I was delighted to visit my alma mater, the University of Sheffield, including its state-of-the-art AMRC Training Centre which is helping to train the next generation of engineers and manufacturers in the Northern Powerhouse.

“The University of Sheffield is at the forefront of higher education in the UK and joins a number of British universities commanding high positions in global rankings – they contribute enormously to the international standing of the Northern Powerhouse and its reputation as a world-leader in research and academic excellence.”

The AMRC carries out world-leading research into advanced machining, manufacturing and materials and has more than 100 industrial partners, including global giants such as Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Airbus.

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 13 February 2018

Hallam receives funding boost to develop courses to help region retain talented graduates

Sheffield Hallam University has successfully bid for funding to co-develop courses alongside industry partners to help retain talented graduates in the Sheffield City Region.

The University received £200k from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund to develop a Future Leaders programme that will support long-term leadership development, talent retention and business growth.

Working with employers, the project will help provide the skills needed in the future economy and support the aims of the Industrial Strategy across a range of sectors.

The funding, alongside additional investment from the University, employers and other partners will be used to understand the regional challenges through research and analysis before co-designing a course to offer a solution to those barriers.

The programme will incorporate leadership, business environment, global context, connectivity and entrepreneurship.

Its objective is to identify and nurture high quality, ambitious future leaders with personal, civic and professional commitment to the region who therefore stay in or return to the region to build their careers.

Professor Chris Husbands, Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University’s track record is strong in co-developing curricular through co-creation with employers ensuring programmes are specifically designed to meet their needs.

“The Sheffield City Region faces a significant challenge in retaining high calibre graduates, with evidence highlighting the need to provide opportunities to further develop their skills and progression.

“This distinctive programme aims to meet that need, supporting the business community within the region to identify these recent graduates and provide a programme for them to help realise their aspirations.

“The programme would ultimately lead to the retention of talent and contribute to regional higher level skills attainment, ambitions, economic performance and prosperity.”

The bid was supported by the four chambers of commerce across South Yorkshire as well as a number of businesses based in the region.

Petra Billing, Sheffield Office Managing Partner at DLA Piper, who supported Hallam’s bid, said: “Sheffield Hallam University has been proactive in engaging with the private sector to understand businesses’ concerns and aspirations.

“We believe they are well placed to develop the curriculum that is needed to attract and retain high quality talent with the skills required by Sheffield City Region employers.”

Across the country, this funding is supporting a range of projects in many different sectors which align with the Industrial Strategy’s ‘Grand Challenges’ – from advanced engineering to data analytics, and from artificial intelligence to bioscience.

Regional Employers driving the Skills Agenda and helping youngsters Get up to Speed …..

Get up to Speed will make a welcome return to its now well-established home at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham on Wednesday 18th April 2018.

This high profile, interactive event, started in 2011 and moved to Magna in 2015 since when it has grown into what is believed to be the largest event of its kind in the north. Attracting over 2,100 attendees in 2017 and expected to have another record year in 2018. It brings together students, adults and employers, not just from the region but across the UK.

Driven by the regions employers with an already impressive list of sponsors confirmed including Liberty Speciality Steels, Cooper Brown Enterprises, AESSEAL plc, Highlander IT & Telecoms, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Get up to Speed is a highly interactive event aimed at showcasing the science, technology, engineering and manufacturing sectors, it’s employers and employment opportunities to young people, parents and educators.

The event aims to inspire; building confidence and knowledge in these sectors as a great place to work in a fun and interactive way.

The Made in Sheffield brand is recognised around the world and the region is renowned internationally for its expertise in high-precision engineering, metals production, new technologies and the high-quality design and manufacturing of products for a wide range of global industries. In engineering alone with 186,000 new engineers required nationally per year between now and 2024 to fill the expected skills gap local companies understand the need to help celebrate and promote the industry not just nationally and internationally but importantly locally to ensure that there are enough talented and skilled young people entering the industry to fill the region’s growing skills needs.

Many local companies, and increasingly national companies get involved in the event through The work-wise Foundation and attend with their apprentices and graduates to talk to young people and those who educate and influence them about the opportunities and careers open to them. Eight years on some of those early visitors are attending as apprentices and graduates and telling their own stories and inspiring others.

Liberty Speciality Steels HR Director, Mick Hood comments “We continue to support the Get up to Speed event because it is a fantastic way of raising awareness among young peolde, teachers and parents of the exciting opportunities on offer by choosing an engineering or science-based career. Each year the event gets bigger and better and I’m sure this year will be no different”

Talking about the 2018 event John Barber CEO of the work-wise Foundation and Chair of the GUTS Steering Group explains “Get up to Speed is free to visit and is designed to inspire and inform through a wide range of hands on activities, showcasing many different businesses from traditional to advanced technologies plus support and education organisations. Previous exhibits have ranged from Virtual Reality Welding, CNC Machining, VR and Augmented Reality tools for the rail industry to a human powered sail rocket and hang gliders, a bi-plane with Vulcan and a female stunt pilot. Vehicles have included the Bloodhound SSC, F1 cars, Drag and Racing Motorcycles, Armoured Military Vehicles, Rail Ranger off road vehicle that also runs on rail tracks and University Formula Racing Teams and of course our friendly Dalek plus much more. This year we have extended the event to encompass science and technology as well as engineering and manufacturing as we recognise ever changing range of opportunities opening up to young people.

Recognising the importance of those who influence young people’s choices we will also be running  teacher awareness seminars on the day so they can take back to school knowledge and practical activities and spread the word further.

The day gets underway with a Business Breakfast at 08:00 am with the main event opens at 09:30 am and runs until 5:00 pm.

We already have over 30 exhibitors confirmed but would love to hear from anyone wanting to exhibit or get involved on the day.

Any schools, colleges or individuals interested in attending or exhibiting should contact John Barber at .

To find out more about the exhibition, vie last year’s video and to register visit the official website HERE 

Still need more information? Please contact John Barber,  m: 07500 331400,


Forgemasters wins major Gulf of Mexico Contract

The news follows a contract win earlier this year with Samsung Heavy Industries for the first GoM offshore project to be sanctioned since oil and gas markets crashed two years ago.

The second offshore platform commissioned sees Forgemasters chosen for the supply of engineered cast components to Shell.

The project will see the company’s offshore oil and gas specialist, Vulcan SFM, deliver ten riser basket components weighing approximately 11.5 tonnes each for a semi-submersible platform which will be deployed in the GoM for Shell’s Vito development.

Paul Mockford, design director at Vulcan SFM, said: “These two contracts are the first signs of any return to offshore work after a complete cessation of new oil and gas developments on a worldwide basis which came into effect when the price of oil plummeted in 2015.

“We have been fortunate that our expertise in the field of supply to offshore projects, coupled with our long-term relationships with the major oil companies including Shell, helped us into a prime position to secure contracts on the first two projects commissioned requiring offshore platforms in more than two years.

“To win successive contracts of this nature, in what has become a very hungry supply chain due to an absence of offshore developments, is no small feat and is underpinned by our quality of manufacture and our unique expertise and experience in this market.

“Although it is far too early to speculate that the offshore oil and gas market is making any kind of quantitive return, the commencement of operations in the Gulf of Mexico are very encouraging developments, as is the increase in oil prices as they approach 60 USD per barrel.”

Vulcan SFM will cast the riser baskets at Sheffield Forgemasters’ Brightside Lane foundry.

They will be attached to the hull of the platform, in this case a semi-submersible, to support the various risers coming up from the sea-bed.

Mockford added: “The components we will supply are open cylinders with an internal profile which provides a bearing surface to directly support the riser.”

The Vito platform is a planned 24,000-tonne production unit. Fabrication of the platform has yet to be awarded but Shell has already started securing suppliers for crucial components.

Source: Jon Robinson, Insider Media, December 2017

UK Steel Producers to benefit from £3.8bn of Opportunities

UK steel producers are set to benefit from opportunities worth almost £4bn by 2030, according to new research.

The government has published independent research into the future capability and capacity of the industry.

It has identified opportunities in new and existing markets that could be worth as much as £3.8bn per annum within the next 12 years.

An updated pipeline of steel procurement has also been released, which honours a pledge the government made to annually publish steel procurement data. This information shows how three million tonnes of UK steel will be used over the next five years in projects such as HS2 and the construction of Hinkley Point C.

The data is designed to allow steel companies to plan for the long term.

Claire Perry, minister for climate change and industry, said: “Through our modern Industrial Strategy, the government has been clear that we will do everything we can to support our steel industry.

“The steel pipeline shows our commitment to using UK steel for infrastructure projects and we want UK companies big and small to be strong competitors for government contracts.”

General secretary of Community, the steelworkers’ union, Roy Rickhuss added: “This will help us all better understand the opportunities and challenges facing the UK steel industry.

“The UK steel industry has enormous potential, and we urge government and steel companies to continue working with the unions to secure a sustainable future for UK steelmaking.

“Crucial to this future will be the successful conclusion of a sector deal for our industry, which will unlock investment and safeguard thousands of jobs across the UK.”

Source: Matthew Ord, Insider Media, December 2017

Xeros to drive Commercialisation with £25m Injection

Xeros Technology Group, the pioneering business based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, is to raise £25m through a placing to accelerate commercialisation of its portfolio and to help hit major operational milestones in 2018.

The group’s patented polymer-based technologies are used in a variety of applications including cleaning, tanning and garment dyeing.

As well as underpinning the commercialisation of these applications, the proceeds of the placing will also be used for continued investment in polymer science and engineering and the creation of intellectual property.

Operational milestones have been set down for 2018 to provide “demonstrable value to commercial partners and investors”.

“We have developed unique polymer technologies which substantially reduce water, chemistry and energy usage,” said Xeros chief executive Mark Nichols.

“Over the last two years we have materially progressed their application in three world-scale markets: cleaning, tanning and textiles.

“Having completed the majority of this development, we are now progressively commercialising six business applications in our chosen markets with major milestones for each targeted in the near term.

“IP-rich business models with low capital intensity have been designed to provide demonstrable value to commercial partners and investors alike.

“We are delighted to welcome new investors who support our unique proposition and strategy. This fundraise enables us to progress significantly the commercialisation of our technologies and enhancement of shareholder value.”

A University of Leeds spin-out, Xeros was founded in 2006 with a mission to revolutionise the laundry industry with the power of polymer bead cleaning.

Source: Laurence Kilgannon, Insider Media, December 2017