Manufacturing SMEs planning for future growth
Small and medium-sized enterprises in the manufacturing industry are planning to invest for future growth, according to new research from specialist lending and savings bank, Aldermore. The new data shows SMEs are proactively looking for opportunities to grow over the next five years.
The Aldermore SME Outlook 2016 found that nearly one in three (31 percent) of businesses surveyed in the manufacturing sector intend to hire more staff over the next five years to encourage growth, while 45 percent plan to invest in new assets such as machinery to increase productivity. Furthermore, nearly one in five (19 percent) SMEs in the manufacturing sector intend to grow by joining forces with another business either through a merger or acquisition. Only 13 percent of those questioned claimed that they will not be taking positive action in order to grow their business. With 87 percent of respondents, the vast majority of small and medium firms in the industry are making firm plans to achieve growth.
Despite a slowing world economy and increasing uncertainty about the future path of the UK economy - due in part to the upcoming EU referendum - the results show that SMEs in the manufacturing sector are confident that investing in their businesses is the best way forward to strengthen their position in the market. With a significant proportion of SMEs intending to hire new staff, prospects for the job market in manufacturing look set to remain strong.
Ross McFarlane, Aldermore’s Director of Invoice Finance, said: “It’s clear that SMEs in the manufacturing sector are being proactive and have strong plans in place to grow their business over the next five years. Not only are they intending to promote their business through increased marketing activity but they are also taking steps to launch new products and hire new staff.
“Whether this is despite of or in reaction to the upcoming uncertainty brought on by the EU referendum is difficult to gauge. However, what is clear is that, these steps will serve to increase the ability of SMEs in manufacturing to continue driving economic growth in their local economies and throughout the wider UK economy.”
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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.