CBI Industrial Trends Survey shows positive expectations for growth
The survey, which acquired honest responses from 42...
CBI’s latest Industrial Trends Survey shows that expectations for growth are at an over 20-year high.
The survey, which acquired honest responses from 423 companies across the UK, found export order books are at their highest since December 2013, and that output growth rose at its quickest pace since July 2014 in the three months to march this year. Manufacturers anticipate further acceleration in the near future.
Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Intelligence, said: “It’s been a strong month for UK manufacturers, with production growing robustly and overseas demand on the up. The past fall in the pound seems finally to be helping lift demand for UK manufactured exports, which rose at one of the fastest paces in this survey’s history. And manufacturers are positive about the quarter ahead, expecting output to grow at the fastest rate since February 1995.
“But the flipside is that cost pressures are widespread, and manufacturers expect factory-gate prices to continue to rise strongly over the next three months. And this will also put pressure on prices generally.
“Innovation continues to be a fundamental driver of UK competitiveness and productivity gains and will influence the success of UK companies over the longer term. That’s why we want a commitment from the Government to spend 3% of GDP on R&D by 2025 – a joint target to be met by the private and public sector.”
Also contributing an expert comment is Pete Baxter, Vice President of Digital Manufacturing at Autodesk: “The CBI's findings that manufacturers’ export order books have risen to the highest level in over three years, while expectations for growth are at a more than two-decade high, is promising for the UK manufacturing. To keep building on this momentum the industry needs to invest in the right skills to work with new and advanced technologies. This will be an interesting year for UK manufacturing. Remaining competitive on the global stage will be more important than ever.
“Technology advances in the fields of Robotics, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence and connected technologies have the potential to supercharge the UK’s manufacturing output and increase global exports. By harnessing the real potential of intelligent machines, we can enhance our capability to create more sophisticated products at a faster rate and at a higher quality. Connected devices via the Internet of Things will undoubtedly change the face of manufacturing. The potential of technology to help us deliver better quality products, enable closer collaboration with our customers and to improve manufacturing processes to drive increased competitiveness should not be ignored.
“For UK manufacturing to reap the rewards, the industry should invest in STEM skill development, from secondary education to upskilling engineers out in the field, alongside reviewing technological innovations. The UK government’s Industrial Strategy has potential, but manufacturers should act now, and take it upon themselves to invest in skills and technologies to remain competitive for the long term.”
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Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.