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Manufacturers put wind in sails of renewables industry

Nine UK manufacturers are ready to blow away the competition to gain new business in wind energy and other fast growing renewable energy sectors.

As part of an Envirolink business improvement project funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and central government, the companies have energised their own people and performance to compete more effectively in this fast growing market.


Together, the nine companies have generated big productivity benefits as a direct result of the project. Participants were put on a fast track to lean transformation by experts from The Manufacturing Institute, who were commissioned to provide up to 18 days advice, support and coaching to each company. This ranged from early diagnosis work to assess key challenges, through to in-depth training for staff, and practical lean implementation work to boost productivity.

Manchester-based HMG Paints, which supplies coatings for wind turbines, achieved a 33 per cent productivity improvement in its unit department business area through driving non value added activities out of its processes and standardising best practice operating procedures.

John Falder, Managing Director of HMG Paints, said: “The Manufacturing Institute, working in conjunction with our team, undertook a totally fresh look. Techniques such as 5S workplace organisation and process mapping combined with educating staff in lean awareness have led to significant improvements in the overall operation of two key departments. These improvements have made fundamental changes which will be lasting, not least by winning the hearts and minds of all our people.”

Other companies involved included Hughes Sub Surface Engineering, Colloids Ltd and RJW Rewinds, Liverpool; James Walker, Cumbria; Trelleborg Offshore, Skelmersdale; First Subsea, Lancaster, and Fawcett Christie, Deeside. The companies selected were those already supplying the renewable energy sector, or with the potential to break into this emerging market.

Cliff Broom, Head of Sectors for the Northwest Regional Development Agency, said: “The North West is playing a lead role in creating the country’s renewable and low carbon infrastructure and projects like this are essential in ensuring our manufacturing businesses are best placed to take advantage of new business opportunities.”