Make UK/BDO survey: UK manufacturing industry is in recovery
“After the seismic shock to the sector last year, manufacturers are now beginning to move through the gears and accelerate into recovery as demand at home increases and major markets also begin to pick up,” commented Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive at Make UK.
“Looking forward, we are now at an economic crossroads. We have a major opportunity for Government and Industry to work together on a long-term vision which ensures we take advantage of the acceleration in technologies, our capacity for innovation and world class academic and science base. Future generations will not look back kindly if we do not grasp it,” added Phipson.
Manufacturing market survey findings
As the COVID-19 vaccine programme in the UK continues to gain momentum and major markets recover, Make UK reports that it has upgraded its growth forecast for the industry in 2021 to 3.9 per cent up from 2.7 per cent, and its GDP forecast from 5.4 per cent to 5.5% in 2021.
In addition, UK orders have risen. However, export orders have remained negative, despite a significant rise in manufacturing in Europe. “This would suggest that both UK and EU companies have yet to come to terms with the new trading arrangements with Make UK believing that there are impacts on trade which go beyond ‘teething problems’,” states Make UK.
While investment intentions remain negative too, they have significantly improved, with Make UK hoping that the budget announcement of a ‘super-deduction’ tax will provide a boost.
“While the results of this quarter’s survey are encouraging, the next 6-9 months will nevertheless be critical for those manufacturers facing financial distress. Many will have deferred tax payments and taken on additional loans to help them through the crisis. The recently announced extension of the furlough scheme and other support measures will help in the short term, however, many will need to use this time to plan and implement turnaround strategies - and in certain cases take some tough decisions,” commented Richard Austin, Head of Manufacturing and BDO.
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.