BFPA 2024 Yearbook & Members' Directory 2024

UK manufacturing success Many people do not realise that the travel-to-work area of Plymouth has a higher percentage of manufacturing than any other city south of Birmingham. Some 14% of the travel-to-work area relates to manufacturing. The majority of those companies are backed by foreign investors based in the UK and export all over the world. It’s underestimated just how much manufacturing takes place in the UK and how important it is for UK exports, as well as foreign investment and investment in the nation itself. UK manufacturing employs a huge number of people too, so it’s massively important to our economy. In Kawasaki’s case, we have GVA (gross value added) into the local community of around £24 million per year, we ship to over 30 countries around the world. Some 80% of what we manufacture in Plymouth is exported. We have 44 distributors covering Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, India and Australia. We also use our global sister companies to ship to the US, Japan, Korea, India and China. One of our largest customers for our radial piston is a winch manufacturer based in Shimonoseki on the western tip of Japan. We have a strong engineering pedigree in the UK. As a nation, we have always been innovative and entrepreneurial and have been good at invention. I do not necessarily think that’s changed. In fact, we are as advanced in Engineering as any other country in the world. Industry 4.0 Over the past 10 years, we have been on a journey with Industry 4.0. Our assembly, test and paint facility have full traceability end to end for every product we manufacture. We use a SCADA system to manage all the input variables for our wash, water treatment and paint plant. We record torque and angle on every bolt. We use a pick-to-light process whereby we pick parts in sequence using electronic procedures that the operators adhere to. For every product that goes out the door, we know all the parameters of the process and have all the test results. So, we have a complete digital footprint for every product that is fully managed. We have a similar procedure regarding our manufacturing processes. Where we are machining, we use a key fob to log on and log off to a process. This means if you are not trained in a particular process, you can’t log on to that piece of equipment. All the risk assessments for each process and the procedures for each process automatically come up on a screen. Kawasaki has been audited by large OEMs, and many of them say our process technology is the best they have seen compared to other hydraulic component manufacturing companies in Europe. We’re also audited by our Japanese colleagues, and they have endorsed our approach to be rivalling anything in Kawasaki – Holding our own on the world stage 52 By Lee Crocker, Managing Director, Kawasaki Precision Machinery UK Ltd (KPM UK) Lee Crocker: “We have a strong engineering pedigree in the UK. As a nation, we have always been innovative and entrepreneurial and have been good at invention.”