Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Taking up the manufacturing challenge
Article Type: News and views From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 3.
At a time when many manufacturers are moving out of the UK, a new business has emerged to tap into Britain's engineering talent.
AMTRI Cobble is a new venture backed by Cobble, the Blackburn carpet machinery manufacturer. It will develop specialised machinery, which will be designed and built in Britain for customers across industry. It will operate as a separate division within the Cobble Group and use the Blackburn factory's manufacturing facilities.
The new venture is initially targeting the process and manufacturing industries including aerospace, although as General Manager Ian Laven explains: “Our engineering expertise can be used wherever a company needs to solve production or handling problems, improve productivity or introduce new technology.”
Ian Laven is a Graduate Engineer and has spent the last 10 years of his career as an industrial trouble-shooter, managing the recovery of ailing businesses. His new role means a change of direction and an opportunity to capitalise on what he sees as one of Britain's strengths.
“Designing and building specialised machinery is something we've always been good at in this country. Our aim is to harness this reputation by bringing together a team of mechanical, electrical and software engineers with experience of similar projects.”
The company is already working on project proposals at the request of several companies following the closure of a specialist machinery design company towards the end of 2007.
The design office in Macclesfield will draw on a pool of local talent already identified by Ian: “This area has a strong engineering tradition and some very experienced people. Recent closures and relocations mean that in many cases their knowledge and skills are not being utilised.”
Manufacturing will be at Cobble's Blackburn factory, which has already been reorganised to accommodate the production of specialised machinery. “As projects evolve, we will have to recruit additional shop-floor personnel,” says Ian. “And that's got to be good news.”