Drives & Controls January 2024

NEWS n January 2024 13 Cressall Resistors has appointed Mike Torbitt as its new managing director, succeeding Simone Bruckner, who has led the business for more than eight years. Torbitt joined Cressall in December 2021 as head of nance and business systems, and took on the additional role of deputy managing director in October 2023. He has more than 17 years’ experience in nance and leadership roles, including a stint as UK nance director at the sporting and outdoor goods manufacturer Thule Group and roles in the automotive and manufacturing industries. The Optimal Group, consisting of Optimal Industrial Automation and Optimal Industrial Technologies, has promoted Eamonn Garry (above) to CEO and Martin Gadsby to chairman. In their new roles, the former operations director and vice-president will steer the group’s next phase of growth, focused on oŽering digital transformation to customers. Gadsby co-founded Optimal in 1987 and is moving to a more strategic position after more than 30 years as CEO and VP. Garry’s promotion re•ects his 20-year experience in industrial automation and the bio-pharmaceutical industry. A PROJECT WHICH solved frequent tripping problems at a water utility pumping station has been chosen as project of the year in the annual AEMT (Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades) awards, which were presented recently at ceremony in Coventry. The award went to MKE Engineering Group for its work at Southern Water’s Browndown pumping station, which had been experiencing frequent tripping of equipment. An energy survey revealed that the site’s three 180/355kW, two-speed pump motors, which dated back to the late 1970s, were drawing starting currents that peaked at more than 4kA. Each pump was starting about three times per hour, consuming large amounts of energy, and causing pressure surges in the pipes and inconsistent –ows to downstream treatment works. MKE solved the issues by installing IE4 motors driven by ultra-low harmonic VSDs. This cut the number of rogue trips from around 50 to six per month and the site’s power bills by more than £57,000 a year. A full list of AEMT Awards winners is on the Drives & Controls Web site. INNOVATE UK, WORKING WITH the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is investing £145m in UK innovation in a series of schemes, including £27m for the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult to lead net-zero and industrial transformation projects that support the manufacturing and construction sectors. The investments also include £45m of support for industries and dedicated hubs, institutes and centres across the UK. The investments follow the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and build on the announcement of a £4.5bn package to drive economic growth in eight key sectors of UK manufacturing, including automotive, aerospace and clean energy. The new funding includes £1.5m for the Manufacturing Technology Centre to work on technologies to identify and quantify the condition of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete in public buildings. The aim is to develop a mass-produced replacement capability. £50m will be earmarked for UK Research and Innovation’s Faraday Battery Challenge to advance the UK’s battery manufacturing capabilities, from R&D to industrialisation. This includes enhancing the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre’s development facilities, boosting its ability to commercialise new chemistries and future battery technologies, and to scale up emerging innovations. In addition, a new Advanced Materials Battery Industrialisation Centre will harnesses capabilities in the West Midlands and NorthEast to bridge the gap between laboratory research and commercial production. The funding also includes: n £50m to boost Catapult activities and capabilities in high-growth sectors, including digital and net-zero; n £20m for the Foundation Industries Sustainability Consortium, which brings together ve centres of excellence to address barriers to scaling up research for the foundation industries that are critical to achieving commercialised innovation as part of the UK’s innovation strategy; n £25m for critical infrastructure in strategic areas including AI, telecommunications, materials science and quantum technologies; n £8.8m for the OŽshore Renewable Energy Catapult to enable electrical testing of the next generation of wind turbine generators, and innovative energy storage systems; and n £4m to expand the Compound Semiconductor Application Catapult’s Future Telecoms Hub at the Bath and Bristol Science Park. “This is a welcome investment that recognises the vital role that Innovate UK and Catapults play in delivering economic growth,” says Katherine Bennett, CEO of the HVM Catapult and chair of the Catapult network. “The high-impact infrastructure investments that add up to £50m will enable Catapults to drive innovation-powered green growth across the UK, equipping supply chains with the world-leading technologies and technical skills they need.” Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee adds that the investments will enable innovative businesses to grow and deliver against some of the biggest global challenges. “These investments are part of our core domain activities across net-zero, digital and technologies, and healthy living and agriculture,” he says. “They enhance national capability through our world-leading Catapults, and will be deployed across the UK. “Innovate UK is committed to providing businesses unparalleled access and support throughout the innovation pathway,” he continues. “These investments, and the partnerships in place to deliver them, are helping to drive forward the UK’s technological and economic ambitions.” £145m cash injection aims to boost UK innovation HVM Catapult CEO Katherine Bennett: a welcome investment Pumping station upgrade wins AEMT project of the year