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View from the Mill - Posted in engineering

Letting others do the talking

RAMTIC at Stonehouse
Posted 25th Apr 2012 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, apprenticeships, machine tools, skills, stonehouse

Improving the image of manufacturing and engineering and encouraging more young people into the sector has been a constant theme running across our blogs since we first started them in November 2009. However, we all know that our own words are not enough - so today, we're handing over to a recent visitor to our Stonehouse (Gloucestershire) machine shop who attended a schools open afternoon that we held this week as part of the inaugural Stroud Festival of Manufacturing & Engineering. 

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Breathing fire into manufacturing?

Chinese Dragon
Posted 30th Jan 2012 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, chinese zodiac, civil aviation, interim report 2012

Last week heralded a new Chinese year, which in the Shengxiào (Chinese Zodiac) is represented this year by the Dragon, a creature which is believed in many parts of Asia to bring fortune and power.  In the same week we also released our financial results for the first six months of our current trading year, and whilst our statement was announced without fireworks and dancing, we did make our own predictions for the future.

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The night is bright, the night is orange

Renishaw wins national business award 2011
Posted 11th Nov 2011 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, apprenticeships, graduates, orange, grant thornton, national business awards

It was perhaps appropriate that at a business awards event sponsored by the telecoms brand Orange, that Renishaw, with its main corporate colour of orange (pantone 151 if you’re interested), should win one of the night’s key accolades.

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“One percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”

Posted 13th Sep 2011 by Chris in engineering, sir david mcmurtry, science, co-ordinate measuring machines, inventions, john harrison, henry maudsley, longitude, navigation, lathes

Attributed to Thomas Edison, this classic quote is supposed to represent the great inventor’s view that the difference between the success or failure of inventions is often down to sheer perseverance, illustrated by his years of trial and error in the development of a practical working solution for an electric light bulb.

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EMO Hannover – a world of metalworking, not music

EMO 2011 logo
Posted 2nd Sep 2011 by Chris in engineering, emo, additive manufacturing, gauging, emo hannover, emo 2011, metalworking, manufacturing

As Summer fades away, we move into a new season; that of exhibitions. We’ve written before about the supposed death of the exhibition industry, but as we have pointed out whilst many industrial events have suffered (and in some cases disappeared), this has often been as much about the failure of organisers to adapt their product to the changing business and communications landscape, as it is about the inexorable rise of the web as the perceived primary source of information.

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There's engineering and science gold to be found in California

Roxanne Pollard and her innovative Bicycle Safety Helmet
Posted 10th May 2011 by Chris in roxanne pollard, isef, science, engineering, apprenticeships, brian cox, kate bellingham

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, providing an annual forum for more than 1,500 high school students from 65 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research. The event is currently running in Los Angeles (8th to 13th May) and this year we are really pleased that one of our young apprentices is representing the UK.

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Just the job? The engineering recruitment challenge

Product development
Posted 13th Mar 2011 by Chris in jobs, engineering, skills shortage, apprenticeships, student placements, applications academy

We were recently asked by a newspaper in our home county of Gloucestershire, England, to briefly explain why it is that unemployment in the area where most of our manufacturing facilities are based is rising, yet we have some 150 vacancies within the locality. Here is our response to 'Stroud Life' to explain what is going on:

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A most rewarding evening

Sir David McMurtry
Posted 11th Mar 2011 by Chris in technology, investment, r&d, engineering, manufacturing, plc awards, recruitment

Last night Renishaw was awarded the Best Technology award at the PLC Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London – the awards are described as the 'event of the year' for London’s financial community and are attended by 1,500 people, from companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, investment banks, fund managers, investment analysts and corporate advisors.

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Women in engineering

Lucy Ackland, Renishaw
Posted 9th Mar 2011 by Chris in women, engineering, apprenticeships, bloodhound ssc, stem, international women's day, smallpeice

Yesterday was International Women's Day and to mark the occasion a special 'Women into Engineering Fair' was held at Barnwood Park girls school in Gloucester, UK, at which Renishaw exhibited.

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Gauge ahoy!

De Equator meet een medische component
Posted 3rd Mar 2011 by Chris in gauging, equator, ss great britain, isambard kingdom brunel, bristol, engineering

Yesterday was a significant milestone in Renishaw’s history with press launches taking place in eight countries to announce not just a new product, but a completely new product line – gauging!

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A room with an engineering view

The Renishaw Room, Trevithick Library, Cardiff University
Posted 24th Feb 2011 by Chris in cardiff university, carol vorderman, gareth hankins, engineering, physics, vacancies, trevithick library, graduates, undergraduates

We were pleased to hear that Cardiff University’s Trevithick Library has recently won the ‘smaller buildings’ category in the prestigious SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Library Design Awards. The Awards recognise the best new or refurbished Higher Education libraries in national and university institutions, and contribute to the continuing improvements in the standards of library design and functionality.

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The new face of engineering?

John Barrowman with a Renishaw neuromate surgical robot
Posted 22nd Feb 2011 by Chris in john barrowman, torchwood, doctor who, engineering, neurosurgery, surgical robots

It's not often that an engineering company plays host to a real-life TV celebrity, but that's exactly what happened recently when the actor and all round entertainer John Barrowman visited our New Mills headquarters.

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Giving Manufacturing the Edge Factor

Filming for The Edge Factor (image courtesy of The Edge Factor)
Posted 2nd Dec 2010 by Chris in manufacturing, engineering, machine tools, education, edge factor, modern machine shop, cmm

The lack of public awareness of the role that manufacturing plays in our day-to-day lives is a regular topic within this blog, so we’re pleased to give recognition today to a new initiative that aims to get ‘the man and woman in the street’ to take a different view of a world which many simply do not understand.

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Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me

Mill Building
Posted 18th Nov 2010 by Chris in blogs, engineering, manufacturing, formula 1, football, branding, lamborghini, printing, process control

Tomorrow (20th November) is the first birthday of the ‘View from the Mill’ blog. During that time we’ve created over 80 posts, dealing with topics as diverse as ancient pyramids, weddings, NASA, dentistry, art restoration, engine manufacture, process control, holiday travel, brewing, commodes, medical engineering, Apollo 13, apprenticeships, Robert Burns and hamsters! 

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Sorry Fernando, Mark, Sebastian and Lewis – the star really is the car

F1 Red bull
Posted 12th Nov 2010 by Chris in tool setters, touch probes, engineering, apprenticeships, formula one, ross brawn, red bull f1, michael schumacher

Ross Brawn is something of a legend in the world of Formula One, from helping Michael Schumacher win multiple Driver’s titles at Benetton and Ferrari, to winning both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles in the first year of existence of his own team Brawn GP (now Mercedes GLP Petronas).

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Sweet smell of success for new engineering fellow

Image of a skunk
Posted 5th Nov 2010 by Chris in imeche, engineering, manufacturing, skunk works, r&d, lockheed martin, nick weston

Many businesses have their own ‘skunk works’, typically a group of individuals who work on long-term advanced or secret projects, and well away from day-to-day operational concerns. The term originated at the Lockeed Martin Corporation in the 1940s, where they set up a special projects facility to meet the urgent requirement of the US Army Air Force to develop a jet fighter based around the British Goblin jet engine – the XP-80 project became the prototype for the P-80 Shooting Star.

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Casual or committed?

Posted 18th Oct 2010 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, investors, skills shortage

Last week we held our 37th Annual General Meeting for shareholders at our Gloucestershire headquarters, where we welcomed investors from across the UK. Ever since these meetings have been held on our own premises we have given tours of our facilities – people tell us that it is very unusual for a company to give shareholders both a lunch and guided tours, but isn’t this just good manners and what you would do for anyone welcomed into your own home?

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Have it all and have it now

Escribano case study - REVO® scanning a large bore on an aerospace component.
Posted 13th Oct 2010 by Chris in engineering, cmm, revo, five-axis scanning, ant industries, escribano, manufacturing, co-ordinate measuring machines

In so many aspects of our lives there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy – play a musical instrument faster and invariably you produce duff notes; get your shots faster away on the firing range and see those target holes drift; serve a tennis ball faster and struggle to avoid that net. In the world of measurement the same was also true; in fact a leading manufacturer of co-ordinate measuring machines still offers a probing technology based on variable accuracy and speed – have one, but not the other, it’s all about a compromise.

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Pyramids and Process Control

Pyramids at Giza
Posted 8th Oct 2010 by Chris in process control, engineering, egypt, machine tools, productive process pyramid, manufacturing

The British Museum in London is a fantastic destination for anyone with an interest in the development of humankind, from the earliest civilizations over 100,000 years ago to the technologies that have shaped the modern world. To get the best from your free visit (yes it’s free, although donations are encouraged and happily given) it is best to focus on one topic of interest, and for me last week it was Ancient Egypt – sculpture, technology and of course mummies.

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Four seasons in two weeks

Renishaw's Chinese logo
Posted 30th Sep 2010 by Chris in manufacturing, engineering, china

Last week all of Renishaw’s senior managers from around the world gathered at our head office in Gloucestershire, UK, for the first time in over 4 years. It was a fantastically positive conference, boosted by our strong recent financial performance and the exciting new products either recently introduced or headed for a trade show near you shortly.

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It’s grim up North

Old Factory
Posted 20th Sep 2010 by Chris in manufacturing, engineering, machinery magazine, andy allcock, mta

I was informed the other day that there is a sector of the UK economy that accounts for over 50% of UK exports and some 2.8 million jobs and was thinking just how important this sector is and how popular it must be with the media and the nation at large to which it clearly contributes so much. Contrast this with the manufacturing sector within which Renishaw operates, which is always reported as being in terminal decline, and I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of envy – how good must it be to operate in the other golden sector – do they have any jobs going?

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Digging for Britain

Business Minister Mark Prisk with Chris Pockett & other exhibitors
Posted 8th Sep 2010 by Chris in government, vince cable, mark prisk, manufacturing, engineering, jcb, machine tool, mazak, touch probe

Back in June we posted an item about the new UK Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable (‘Cable ties himself to UK manufacturing’) in which we noted early positive signs that the new UK Government was putting its weight behind the manufacturing sector.

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Teaching an old dog new tricks

Clada Medical - OMP40 probe measuring features
Posted 26th Jul 2010 by Chris in machine tool, touch probes, manufacturing, engineering, scrap reduction

It’s increasingly rare to find machine tool users who are not using probing on their CNC machines, or are at least aware of their potential – many of our case studies are from manufacturers who are adding more systems into factories where managers are already sold on the benefits, upgrading existing equipment for more sophisticated applications, or replacing competitor products that are not up to the task (or poorly supported).

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Two knights, a spy and Stephen Fry

Sir David McMurtry
Posted 15th Jul 2010 by Chris in awards, sir david mcmurtry, engineering, cardiff university, honorary fellowship, stephen fry

This week Cardiff University has awarded Honorary Fellowships to ten eminent individuals who have achieved international distinction in their respective fields, which range from law and public health to culture and engineering.

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How green is your valley?

Case story - Green energy giant grinds with micron precision - Wind turbine bearings
Posted 30th Jun 2010 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, environment, green energy, sustainability, machine tool, touch probes, linear encoder, angle encoder, magnetic encoder

There are seemingly endless measures of how ‘green’ a manufacturing organisation is in relationship to its use of natural resources and its wider impact on the environment.  Whilst most measures focus on direct environmental production ‘costs’, there is an increasing awareness of the lifetime carbon footprint for an individual product or packaging.

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Some positive employment news

Marc Saunders
Posted 23rd Jun 2010 by Chris in employment, vacancies, engineering, r&d

Following yesterday's emergency UK budget, we asked Marc Saunders, our UK General Manager (pictured right) to make a brief comment in light of some positive news that we are releasing today regarding recruitment: "In yesterday’s austerity budget, it became clear that the UK coalition government’s strategy is predicated on a growing, export-led private sector.  So it is good to report that we have over 100 vacancies to be filled within our UK operations, the majority at our sites within Gloucestershire, and that we are also seeking a further 80 people for our various overseas offices.

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Cable ties himself to UK manufacturing

Dr Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business, visits the Renishaw stand at MACH 2010
Posted 17th Jun 2010 by Chris in vince cable, mark prisk, government, manufacturing, engineering, laser interferometer, machine tool, co-ordinate measuring machine

There are very few UK politicians who seem to have generated media credibility ratings as high as Dr Vince Cable MP, the new Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Affectionately referred to as ‘the Sage of Twickenham’ for his economic intellect (he was one of the few politicians to warn of an impending global credit crisis), he has also gained a reputation for a dry sense of humour, most notably at the expense of the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who he described as being like ‘Mr Bean’. 

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The Prince and the Probe

HRH The Duke of York visits the Renishaw stand at MACH 2010
Posted 15th Jun 2010 by Chris in prince andrew, engineering, manufacturing, laser tool setter, machine tool

As mentioned in last week’s post ‘By Royal hand`’, His Royal Highness The Duke of York opened MACH 2010 by cutting the beam of our NC4 laser tool setting system, rather than the traditional approach of cutting a ribbon.

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Metalworking ‘Oscars’ for Renishaw

Renishaw wins MWP Award 2010 for 'Best Service and Support'
Posted 9th Jun 2010 by Chris in mwp awards, mach 2010, engineering, manufacturing, haas automation, cmm retrofit, co-ordinate measuring machine, machine tool

At Tuesday night's MWP Awards Dinner, held in Birmingham, UK, and coinciding with the MACH 2010 exhibition, the UK metalworking industry's 'Oscars' were handed out to a range of technology suppliers and engineering subcontractors. However, as mentioned in an earlier post about the event there were no long acceptance speeches, no-one thanked their parents or pet chiuauas for inspiration, and whilst eyes remained dry, glasses certainly did not.

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Education in the making

Boxtrees Precision - Boxford machine during test
Posted 3rd Jun 2010 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, education, machine tool, touch probe, laser probe, mach 2010, boxford, denford, mazak

In the week before the UK’s largest manufacturing exhibition begins, and in what may come as a surprise to much of our national media, I’m pleased to highlight two companies who are not only continuing to make their products in the UK (as they have done for over sixty years), but perhaps more surprisingly are globally respected suppliers of machine tools.

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Daddy – what did you do for engineering?

MACH 2010 logo
Posted 28th May 2010 by Chris in engineering, science, amrc, education, bloodhound ssc, apprentices

I often write about inspiring the next generation of engineers and in the week beginning 7th June, there is a perfect platform to help achieve this aim. This year the UK’s largest manufacturing show, MACH 2010, will bring together teachers, students and engineering businesses in a unique Education & Training Zone, which the organisers say “aims to inspire, prepare and motivate the next generation of British engineers through a rewarding experience.”

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Football engineering – a celebration

Exploded view of the Adidas Jabulani football
Posted 26th May 2010 by Chris in engineering, football, soccer, fifa world cup, loughborough university

It’s just 16 days until the World’s 2nd largest sporting event gets underway in South Africa, so whilst the media experts and ‘citizen journalists’ across the planet are busy arguing about who will win the 19th FIFA World Cup, I thought we’d take an engineering perspective on the most important item present in each game – the ball itself.

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“You can only make as well as you can measure”

NC1 tool setter + globe
Posted 20th May 2010 by Chris in metrology, measurement, international standards, engineering, physics, science

Today is World Metrology Day and what better way to title this post than a quote from the legendary British 19th Century engineer, Joseph Whitworth, who did much to introduce the practical aspects of measurements and associated standards into precision manufacturing, including the introduction of the ‘thou in 1844.

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Dear new UK Government (whoever you may be)

Ben Taylor - Renishaw's Assistant Chief Executive
Posted 11th May 2010 by Chris in manufacturing, engineering, education, uk manufacturing summit

At the time of this post, we still await a conclusion as to which party or parties will form the next UK Government. However, in anticipation that a decision will be reached shortly, a business magazine has asked what policies Renishaw would like to see pursued by the new Government in the next Parliament. Here is the response from our Assistant Chief Executive, Ben Taylor (pictured right): 

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R&D - In for the long haul

Geoff McFarland
Posted 20th Apr 2010 by Chris in r&d, engineering, raman spectroscopy, sers, revo, epsrc

We were recently approached by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to comment on Renishaw’s experiences of working with Universities on research projects. The following is an edited version of the response given by Geoff McFarland (image right), our Group Engineering Director:

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Ten days to celebrate a week of science and engineering

Posted 15th Mar 2010 by Chris in sir david mcmurtry, engineering, national science and engineering week

We’re now half-way through the UK’s National Science and Engineering Week which runs from 12th to 21st March – and with so much happening, the ‘week’ clearly had to stretch to ten days to fit everything in. Now in its 17th year the programme of events and activities is aimed at people of all ages and aims to present a positive image of science and engineering.

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Plane speaking

Boeing 787 (image copyright © Rolls-Royce plc 2009
Posted 31st Dec 2009 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, economy

Sir John Rose, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce plc recently gave an interesting speech to the UK’s Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, in which he presented the case for a more balanced economy in the UK based on high-value advanced manufacturing. Noting the overdependence on the financial services sector, he reminded listeners that there are only three ways to create wealth – “dig it up, grow it or convert something in order to add value. Anything else is just moving it about.” (This photograph is reproduced with the permission of Rolls-Royce plc, copyright © Rolls-Royce plc 2009.)

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Engineering a change in attitudes

Smallpeice Trust's 'Bridge Builder' game
Posted 11th Feb 2010 by Chris in engineering, manufacturing, education

Throughout its history Renishaw has been very active in developing relationships with schools local to its main UK sites, both at primary (5-11) and secondary (11-18) levels. These activities take many forms, from helping to directly fund projects, such as the ‘Renishaw Technology Centre’ at KLB School, in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, to work placements, mock interviews, access to manufacturing equipment for project work, and the hosting of school competitions. This has been driven by many factors, including a desire to present a positive image of engineering and engineering businesses, and to highlight the real sense of fun and achievement to be gained from engineering projects.

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