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                                                                                            SCHUNK GRIPPER PLAYS A

                                                                                            CENTRAL ROLE IN AMRC
                                                                                            WALES OPENING CEREMONY

                                                                                                   efore  Christmas,  the  University  of  Sheffield
                                                                                                   officially  opened  its  Advanced  Manufacturing
                                                                                                   Research  Centre  (AMRC)  Cymru,  a  £20m
                                                                                            Bstate-of-the-art  research  and  development
                                                                                            facility  in  North  Wales.  As  a  member  of  the  AMRC,
                                                                                            Schunk  UK  played  an  integral  role  in  the  opening
                                                                                            ceremony, holding the ribbon with a Schunk gripper for
                                                                                            Wales’  First  Minister  Mark  Drakeford  to  cut  the
       Manufacturers have reported that the application process  Target export markets for UK manufacturers. Source: MakeUK  ceremonial ribbon.
       for  AEO  and  Special  Procedures  is  time  consuming,                                Described by Welsh government ministers as a ‘game
       particularly where a pre-approval audit visit is required.  need  to  investigate  urgently  new  arrangements  with  changer’  for  the  economies  of  Wales  and  the  northern
       Delays  and  bureaucracy  are  particularly  off-putting  to  Notified Bodies in the EU 27 as the UK falls back on WTO  powerhouse, the AMRC Cymru is a purpose-built research
       companies when the Brexit deadline keeps moving.  rules. This means that UK Notified Bodies will no longer  and  development  facility  close  to  the  Airbus  wing-
                                                have a role in regulated product conformity assessment  manufacturing plant in Broughton. It was officially opened
       Exporting services                       across the EU/EEA.                          by  Mark  Drakeford  and  Economy  and  North  Wales
       UK manufacturers do not just export goods to the EU –  Even  in  a  no-deal  scenario,  the  UK  would  need  to  Minister  Ken  Skates,  who  accompanied  Professor  Koen
       they  are  increasingly  exporting  services  too.  The  single  negotiate  a  new  relationship  with  the  EU.  While  there  Lamberts, president and vice-chancellor at the University
       market benefits plus the geographical proximity of our EU  would be pressure from both sides to negotiate quickly,  of Sheffield, on a tour of the new building to see the new
       neighbours  puts  the  UK  in  the  top  three  of  intra-EU  the reality is that trade agreements take many years to  technologies  that  will  be  available  to  manufacturing
       exports and imports.                     negotiate. The UK’s negotiating position would be equal  companies across Wales.
         Services  in  this  context  means  anything  that  is  not  to that of any third country. And the UK–EU discussions  Situated in the Deeside Enterprise Zone, the facility
       goods, ranging from service engineers travelling on site to  would need to start against the backdrop of the UK having  will  operate  a  2,000sq/m  open  access  research  area
       EU customers to what businesses would call short-term  made an abrupt and harsh exit from the EU.  focus  with  a  focus  on  advanced  manufacturing  sectors
       business trips (STBTs) – meeting a customer or receiving  A key element of negotiating our new trade deal with  such  as  the  aerospace,  automotive,  nuclear  and  food.
       or delivering training. Post-Brexit barriers to the delivery of  the  EU  will  be  access  to  the  EU’s  40+  free  trade  This region has a strong manufacturing base and AMRC
       services  would  have  significant  ramifications  for  this  agreements across the globe, covering many of the UK’s  Cymru will build on this, driving world-class research and
       growing market.                          key  export  markets  for  manufacturers.  While  the  UK  expertise across the supply chain. It could increase Gross
         It is also important to consider regulatory  alignment.  Government  has  deployed  considerable  resources  to  Value Added (GVA) to the Welsh economy by as much as
       UK manufacturers have long relied on the EU’s adoption  prevent disruption in trade by replicating the EU’s trade  £4 billion over the next 20 years.
       of  a  common  approach  to  rules  and  regulations,  agreements  with  third  countries,  the  job  is  far  from  Holding the ceremonial ribbon for the First Minister
       particularly for technical regulations. This alignment has  complete.  To  date,  the  UK  has  signed  or  agreed  in  was a Schunk Co-act gripper attached to a Kuka Cobot
       been a key advantage for UK companies building strategic  principle  only  12  of  the  so-called  continuity  trade  that  was  mounted  on  a  Kuka  AGV.  The  EGH  Co-act
       trading  and  service  relations  with  European  and  global  agreements, and it is not yet wholly clear that these deals  gripper is the latest addition to the Co-act gripper family
       customers and suppliers. And vice versa.  retain  all  of  the  benefits  contained  within  the  previous  and is a flexible system for gripping and moving of small
         In a no-deal Brexit, the UK Government has stated its  arrangements.               to  medium-sized  workpieces  in  the  areas  of  handling,
       intention to ensure, as far as possible, that the same laws  This means that, should the UK leave the EU  without  assembly and electronics. The long stroke of the gripper
       and rules will apply as are currently in place. The reality  a deal, our trade with key markets such as Canada, Japan  can cover a very wide range of workpieces as the gripper
       is  that  this  is  not  always  going  to  be  possible.  Survey  and  Brazil  could  be  significantly  disrupted.  Canada,  in  fingers  are  particularly  suited  for  positioning  over  the
       results  suggest  that  nearly  two-thirds  (64%)  of  particular, refused to roll over the trade deal on the basis  entire stroke. The robust parallel movement of the fingers
       respondents understand that changes will be introduced  that the UK was unilaterally abolishing tariffs, showing an  ensures  constant  gripping  force  at  a  position  over  the
       that will affect product labelling for goods destined for the  immediate impact of the Government’s proposals for a no-  entire stroke. With fast commissioning, programming and
       UK and EU markets respectively.          deal  Brexit.As  such,  manufacturers  should  prepare  for  simple use of an intelligent servo gripper due to the ‘Plug
         More  worryingly,  fewer  than  one-quarter  of  considerable  uncertainty  in  the  years  to  come.  For  the  and  Work’  starter  package,  the  Schunk  EGH  Co-act
       respondents  (23%)  have  taken  action  to  identify  and  duration  of  this  period  of  uncertainty  it  is  important  to  gripper  offers  optionally  attachable  flexible  fingers  for
       make  arrangements  for  the  notification  process  to  be  recognise that UK manufacturers will find it increasingly  increased flexibility. This also increases the gripper’s
       undertaken at an EU Notified Body if they intend to place  difficult to retain existing contracts with EU customers,  range of application.
       goods on the EU market after Brexit day. The majority will  while winning new business may be even harder.  MORE INFO:

       January 2020 •INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY                                                                                     11
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