Driven by shared values and a history of inventiveness, VFE’s acquisition by Busch UK positions both brands to lead the way in advanced manufacturing innovation.
The pressure under which many advanced manufacturers are currently operating has never been greater.
In this world of work-from-home directives, materials shortages and failures in the supply chain, new technologies — and strategic partnerships with the companies that develop them — will be key to adopting a better, more agile and efficient way of operating.
“As a service provider first and foremost, we’re committed to helping every one of our customers to future-proof their operations for the road ahead”, explains Tim Hulbert, managing director of Busch UK, part of the global Busch Vacuum Solutions Group.
How has Busch UK’s acquisition of VFE strengthened both brands' inventive spirit and how will VFE and Busch customers benefit from their enhanced innovative capabilities?
The importance of manufacturing innovation
Today’s manufacturing environment is fraught with challenges at every turn:
Governmental work-from-home directives have impacted the way in which we work.
For administrative, finance and other back-office staff, the continued shift towards flexible and hybrid working patterns has further challenged this.
Social distancing and related health and safety guidelines have challenged site managers to rethink factory floorplans and the movement of footfall.
The same guidelines, which include limits on the number of contractors allowed on-site, for example, have complicated even routine servicing and maintenance.
Sites that had closed down when demand dropped during the national lockdowns have suddenly found themselves unable to cope with the re-opening of society and the resulting surge in demand. (“Global vehicle production has been hit by a shortage of microchips.”)
Economic challenges have placed greater pressure on costs, efficiencies and budgeting, in some instances impacting retained staffing levels or the ability to invest in future technology.
But it is through future technology investments that advanced manufacturing will be able to mitigate and in some cases solve these challenges. Those businesses willing and able to make the right, strategic investments at the right time place themselves in the best possible position to come out of the other side of the disruption leaner and more agile.
“In our work with industrial manufacturing clients, we see the critical impact of innovation up close every day. It’s one sector where innovation has a dramatic impact on not just the bottom line of individual companies, but also on the productivity of entire sectors.” ‘Rethinking innovation in industrial manufacturing: are you up for the challenge?’, PwC
Proven innovative capabilities
In 2020, VFE launched a range of new products to help its customers improve efficiencies and keep their operations running:
Remote monitoring systems improve maintenance reliability and increase equipment effectiveness.
Autoclave management and control systems (AMCS) improve performance visibility and enable centralised control/management of multiple machines.
Furnace management and control systems (FMCS) offer similar benefits to vacuum furnace operations.
The VFE energy-saving system automates the shutdown and restart of all your vacuum furnaces, removing your reliance on manual processes and safely reducing your energy costs.
RoMan heating transformers improve efficiency and substantially reduce energy, installation, operation and maintenance costs.
VFE patented advances in diffusion bonding to innovate a more efficient production method of making heat exchangers for the aerospace industry.
For those manufacturers that come out the other side of the current disruption, other challenges await. A new product or system cannot futureproof your operations on its own. A partnership with a company committed to innovation and the continuous improvement of its customers’ businesses is key.
“By bringing together Busch and VFE’s technical expertise, we now have a bigger business made up of a larger, more diverse group of people who can share their ideas and innovate to help our customers.”
VFE and Busch together
Much like VFE, Busch has a strong heritage in innovation. Where heat treatment and vacuum solutions are concerned, VFE and Busch UK are now perfectly positioned to maximise their inventive spirit to help their customers improve their businesses.
“When you consider the vacuum processes that will be required to produce solutions to today’s challenges, it's a great opportunity for the combined Busch-VFE business to lead from the front”, Tim explains. “We have the right mix now of expertise and the broader capability to support every industry in the long term.”
As the two companies come together, existing Busch customers from every sector of the industry can also look forward to innovative new solutions not previously available to them.
“We can already see great potential to translate VFE’s calibration services and control system expertise to other critical market segments, such as Food, Medical, Chemical and Pharmaceutical, amongst others”, Tim says. “The coming together of Busch and VFE unlocks a broad relevance to trends that will drive service development and future growth across a wide range of industries, creating new opportunities for their customers.”
To find out more about our research and development capabilities, or to request any of our new product specifications, get in touch.