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New manufacturing cluster is unveiled

A new manufacturing cluster has been established to target more than £10m of electrification opportunities over the next twelve months.

Brandauer, C-MAC SMT and PP Control & Automation - all members of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN) - have come together to offer a single-source supply chain solution for electric motors, drivetrain components, battery cells, casings and housings, transfer laminations, PCB assemblies and wider infrastructure services.

The trio has also enlisted the expertise of industrial automation specialist Balluff to drive the opportunity and this joined-up approach is already reaping dividends by helping it secure in excess of £3m of off-highway automotive contracts and an order for an upwind turbine system from FuturEnergy.

“Electrification is a massive opportunity for our four businesses and we feel that by collaborating and pooling together our different, but complimentary disciplines, that we can offer the OEMs and end users access to a single source solution,” said Richard Halton, business development manager at C-MAC SMT, a leading independent provider of complex, high reliability electronics and system assemblies.

“Whilst transport electrification is a natural marketplace and one that we are already picking up work in, there is a strong sense that we can also go after contracts to support the alternative energy sector and electric infrastructure work for street furniture and charging points for example.

“Both of these markets are ramping up quickly and need partners who have a track record of delivering complex assemblies on time. This is exactly what we’re giving them with this cluster – experts in strategic manufacturing outsourcing, wiring looms, high volume pressings and laminations and electronic assembly.

“Better still, the cluster can also now call upon Balluff’s world leading sensors, vision inspection systems and RFID/IO-Link knowledge.”

MAN’s ‘Electrification Cluster’ was launched with a major digital marketing campaign and dedicated E-brochure that details the group’s capabilities and supply offering. This will be reinforced by a number of educational videos and potential seminars where they will aim to unpick some of the common challenges facing companies involved in this industry.

Daniel Walton, applications engineer at Northwich-based Balluff, said: “We are delighted to be joining the MAN cluster so we can explore how collaboration can help us support the UK’s electrification drive.

“Our technology and solutions lend themselves directly to electric drivetrain, battery cells and modules and we already boast inclusion in a number of automotive OEM approval lists that will be a big plus for the group.”

The MAN Group, which employs over 2000 people across 21 different factories, is working closely with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and is immersed in long-term collaborations with electrification to look at how it can aid the drive for increased supply chain capacity.

Rowan Crozier, CEO of Brandauer, said: “FuturEnergy is a perfect example of how we are prepared to invest in new equipment and significant R&D to deliver a solution, which in this case is a lamination that goes into an upwind turbine system designed for use in domestic homes and industrial applications.

“The cluster can work as one, two, three or all four companies and there are very few collectives who can offer our depth of expertise and, importantly, our security of supply.”

Garry Myatt, sales director at PP Control & Automation, said: “Covid-19 has helped create a renewed desire to build UK resilient supply chains that can collaborate and deliver strategic manufacturing outsourcing, especially in growth markets such as electrification. Now is the perfect time for this joined-up thinking.”


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