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Industry 4.0, smart plastics, the UK economy plus more…

Author : Paige West, Editor, DPA & Connectivity

16 April 2019

The UK’s industrial trade and technical media gathered together to hear the latest news from leading companies at a top London venue.

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Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the First Friday Club Editors’ Briefing at the Threadneedles Hotel, London. Up to twenty Editors from UK trade and technical media came together for a morning of networking and presentations from four key companies – Beckhoff, Schneider Electric, igus and Make UK. 

The announcements were as follows:


Bradley McEwan, Business Development Manager, Beckhoff Automation told us how the company is opening up new avenues in machine design with XPlanar. This is made possible by planar movers that float freely above arbitrarily arranged planar tiles and enable extremely flexible, precise and highly dynamic positioning. For machine builders this results in maximum flexibility and simplification in the design of machines and plants.

Read more details on the Products section of DPA.

Schneider Electric

Martin Walder, VP Industry UK & Ireland, Schneider Electric talked us through two new product launches at Schneider Electric – Modicon M262 Logic & Motion Controller and TeSys Power Island. 

The M262 is for those machine builders manufacturing machines with logic or motion control moving into Industry 4.0. With embedded cloud connectivity OEMs can take care of cybersecurity, support monitoring, analytics and predictive maintenance. 

The TeSys island, a digital load management system, makes machines smarter and helps reduce machine stoppages and downtime for optimum productivity. 

Read more about both of these on the Products section of DPA.

Martin Walder, VP Industry UK & Ireland, Schneider Electric


Matthew Aldridge and Rob Dumayne, Directors at igus UK, both explained how electronics is “adding intelligence to plastics for longer life.” igus smart plastics maximise service life of energy chains and cables beyond the warranty period, eliminating early cable replacement and unscheduled system downtime. 

Read more details on the Products section of DPA.

Make UK

Make UK, formally EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, made their first appearance at the Editors’ Briefing since their rebranding. Seamus Nevin, Chief Economist at Make UK, gave an overview of UK economic performance and what the future of the labour force has in store for manufacturers. 

Given the highly uncertain economic and political outlook, firms have cut investment in equipment, preferring to flexibly hire extra workers. Investment may pick up once the uncertainty around our future trade relations has, hopefully, been removed.

Click here to see their latest Economic Briefing.

First Friday Club Editors’ Briefing

The First Friday Club Editors’ Briefings were started in 1996 by a group of journalists who wanted to save time going around the country for press briefings. They realised that companies with new products or announcements would also benefit from a cost-effective way of announcing to the market via the trade and technical press and from a guaranteed audience of leading UK journalists in a central location.

Click here to join the club!

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