UK manufacturing sees increased number of SMEs
According to the latest study from specialist challenger bank, Hampshire Trust Bank, the British manufacturing sector has seen a six percent increase in SMEs since 2010.
The research, conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, reveals three sectors which demonstrated the highest growth: technical and professional (39 percent), information and communication (33 percent), and business services (25 percent). Across the UK, there has been a 17 percent rise in the number of SMEs since 2010.
Three in five (59 percent) accountancy and IT and communication firms say they feel optimistic, and 50 percent of manufacturing SMEs feel confident about the future – which is two percent lower than the national average. Manufacturing SMEs also highlighted competition in the market (40 percent) and both employment costs and economic uncertainty (38 percent) as the biggest barriers to growth, which would be deterring new firms from entering the sector.
Stuart Hulme, Director of Savings at Hampshire Trust Bank, said: “According to our latest UK SME Savings Tracker report, manufacturing and engineering SMEs have a significant amount of cash in business savings accounts, which is encouraging and we believe shows that these organisations are confidently planning for their future.
“Our SME Growth Watch report highlights the vital contribution of SMEs both within the manufacturing sector and indeed across all sectors to the UK economy, and the rapid level of growth being demonstrated by some of the nation’s smallest businesses. These figures should be viewed as encouraging for the government, demonstrating the widespread resilience and ambition of UK SMEs.
“At Hampshire Trust Bank we provide consistently competitive business savings accounts to help SMEs develop and build. We urge the government to undertake proactive measures to create opportunities and conditions that enable them to continue to flourish.”
Nina Skero, Managing Economist at CEBR, said: “This study is yet another indicator of how strong UK SMEs are and the vital role they play within the UK economy. It’s encouraging to see SMEs across various industries posting a strong performance. This further highlights how vital it is to nurture the optimism they are demonstrating if they are to continue driving economic growth.”
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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.