smart factory

As leading spring manufacturers in the ever-evolving engineering industry, we are always looking for ways to improve our processes to provide the latest and greatest service for our customers. Industry changes occur rather regularly, especially with the ongoing digitisation, so it may seem overwhelming to those entering the field and joining a smart factory if you don’t know what to expect.

So, we’re taking a look behind the curtain of manufacturing and delving into some of the things you may find inside a smart factory. We’ll be looking into some of the high-tech hardware as well as the innovative software that has been developed over the years to help you get a better indication of the machinery and equipment you will be dealing with in this environment.

What Are Smart Factories?

A smart factory is a cyber-physical work environment where machinery and equipment are linked through an interconnected network of computers. Smart factories are indeed smart and have the best technology available and the highest advancements in AI, robotics, and incredibly intelligent hardware and software to enable their devices to talk to each other seamlessly. This technology allows humans to take a step back and let their machinery take over by transforming and streamlining processes to create a more efficient and productive workplace.

Smart factories are just one small part of Industry 4.0, which we have seen taking over the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

What Is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the latest industrial revolution, in which digital transformations are plenty. The goal set by the industry was to improve digital manufacturing, such as:

  • Automation increases
  • Interconnecting digital and physical processes
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency
  • An increase in the use of smart devices
  • And, of course, an increase in smart factories

These are just a few examples of the goals of the industry. Still, many processes have been implemented to ensure these objectives are met, and we see many improvements throughout the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Here at European Springs, we produce a long list of custom springs and bespoke pressings, and these digital transformations help us to improve the systems that allow us to create these specific items for our customers.

smart factory

So, What’s Inside a Smart Factory?

With so many digital improvements taking place all the time, it can be difficult to keep up with equipment changes and software updates. So, to help you better understand what to expect inside a smart factory and learn more about the technology included as part of Industry 4.0, we have compiled a list of some of the tech and equipment the industry uses today.


Robotics helped tackle the Covid-19 outbreak, but even since then, they have come a long way. Now, robotics is standard machinery in smart factories, helping to make up the extensive range of equipment under the roof of these working establishments.

These robots are programmed with the latest software, enabling human-robot collaboration to take place before they are set up to automate processes once completed by human workers.

3D Printers

3D printers are used in smart factories to create high-quality prototypes of items that these factories produce. For example, as custom spring manufacturers, we could use this machinery to print a prototype of a bespoke spring for our clients. This allows us to showcase what we could produce for them, meaning we could alter parts, change sizes, and make other amendments freely without wasting materials.

CNC Machinery

CNC machinery, also known as computer numerical control machinery, can be found in almost all smart factories today. This software can be used to programme machines and hardware in smart factories, allowing efficient production without the need for constant human interaction.



5G eliminates the need for wired devices, meaning smart factories can remove almost all of their wiring and depend solely on a 5G network to run their systems. This comes with both advantages and drawbacks, the latter being connectivity issues, a halted production line if the network fails, and increased cybersecurity threats. However, the benefits often outweigh these risks; with impressive speeds and increased flexibility, more factory owners are implementing 5G into their businesses than ever before.


We are seeing a lot of AI in the news right now, with this technology making its mark on the art industry, but it has been a staple in smart factories within the manufacturing sector for some time now. One example of AI used in smart factories is replicating objects that a factory may produce for customers. This allows for initial visual analysis tests to be conducted digitally, which saves money, time, and materials that would have been lost should they have conducted physical tests first.

Big Data

Big data is used in many aspects of manufacturing found within a smart factory. It is used to review large amounts of historical loads or alter major orders, both of which we could use here at European Springs. For example, if a customer approached us and asked to repeat an order they made with us several years ago, we could use big data to replicate their exact specifications and provide them with the same items. Additionally, suppose a customer wanted to make changes to a major order. In that case, big data could help us alter this quickly and seamlessly without affecting the rest of the production.

Here at European Springs, we are always excited by new technological advancements and industry improvements that allow us to streamline our services and offer our customers the very best. To keep up to date with the latest industry news, please check our blog for new posts.

We’re always looking to push the boundaries here at European Springs. From improving our company’s sustainability to investing in new machinery to enhance our manufacturing operations, we’re constantly looking at ways to surpass previous achievements.

This wouldn’t be possible without our incredible and talented team, who consistently go above and beyond to make the business successful.

Food trucks

European Springs Smashing Goals

During this year, one of our many goals as a company has been to increase sales by becoming leading spring manufacturers within the industry. More importantly, we wanted to be a company our clients find reliable and valuable.

As part of this goal, we set our team a sales target of one million pounds each month. We’re incredibly proud to say that this challenge was repeatedly resoundingly beaten.

We decided to bring in a different food vendor each month to show our appreciation and celebrate our success as a team.

team spirit

Global Food Lunch Hours

Since April, we’ve rewarded our team by bringing a different food vendor every month, allowing us all to enjoy a fantastic range of foods from around the world.

So far, we have enjoyed the following:

Gully’s Indian Curry Wraps – April

“Keep calm and Curry on” was the phrase of the week here at European Springs and was a fantastic way to celebrate this initial achievement, but little did we know that this would be just the start of a fantastic streak of success. Gully’s Indian Street Food van was brought in to provide our staff with a memorable exotic, and delicious lunch.

The Frying Squad Chippy – May

Who doesn’t love a good old fish and chip  dinner?

April proved that our initial success wasn’t some random event but one that could continue throughout the year. So, thanks to our continued success in April, we brought the classic seaside food home for our hard-working team members to enjoy.

Chop and Chip – June

This classic burger van (Chop and Chip) provided everyone with excellent choices, such as Aberdeen Angus, Halloumi, sweet chilli, and roasted plant burgers to suit all tastes.

queen of crepes

Queen of the Crepes – July

This seemingly unbreakable chain of success was honoured in July with a delicious selection of sweet and savoury crepes from the fantastic Queen of the Crepes.

Kang Foo Noodle Van – August

Everyone at European Springs enjoyed their lunch, and we can guarantee there was no waste. The Kang Foo noodle van supplied a beautiful range of fresh noodle meals with chicken, beef and five vegetable spring rolls. A fantastic choice to help send off the summer in style.

Lil’ Watan – September

In September, we celebrated by introducing Lebanese wraps and salad boxes to our staff. Chicken, falafel, and halloumi were all enjoyed as wraps alongside tasty fattoush salads.

Lil wantan

Key to Success

Our excellent customer service allows European Springs to stand out as the number one spring and pressing manufacturers. Good communication is essential, meaning our clients feel reassured throughout the manufacturing process.

To us, customer satisfaction is the real goal and is what makes us an industry leader.

Over many decades of experience providing torsion, extension and tension springs to companies worldwide, we have worked hard to increase our technical expertise and equipment.

As part of this business development plan, we became a proud member of the Lesjofors Group. Businesses can now enjoy the benefits of our superior selection of metal springs, pressings and wire forms wherever they are in the world. This provides us with a significant increase in international clients and contacts.

Again, we would like to thank our talented, elite team of engineers, technicians and administrators.

You can learn more about what it is like to be a part of our elite manufacturing team here


Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, represents a remarkable technological shift in the way manufacturing companies operate.

The term covers a broad collection of new operational methods and systems connected to digital systems or those entirely online. This digital industrial revolution is set to change many elements of manufacturing for the better, improving productivity, control and costs sector industry wide.

Someone pointing at the words Industry 4.0

What Is a Digital Industrial Revolution

There have been many industrial revolutions, each creating permanent change in the manufacturing industry. Starting with the first industrial revolution, steam power and mechanisation were introduced. This replaced hand labour and significantly increased a manufacturer’s productivity.

The second revolution involved replacing steam power with electricity. This encouraged a more global industry that could accommodate vastly larger production lines and more cost-effective creation of components. The third revolution is one we’ve been enjoying for many years. Computerised numerical control (CNC) machinery and robotics increased the potential for automation in manufacturing.

The fourth and most recent revolution stands out from the rest because it is a digital industrial revolution. Whereas the previous ones primarily involved developing machinery or computers, this one improves those with cloud-based analytics and AI.

The Goal of Industry 4.0

The first industrial revolution evolved from a German initiative (Industrie 4.0) into a worldwide term for digital improvement across manufacturing. Comprised of many smaller parts, the term covers many changing processes depending on the company, but some aspects are universal.

Interconnected devices joined through a cyber network

Here are some of the main goals of Industry 4.0:

  • Increased automation
  • Interconnectivity between physical and digital manufacturing (Industrial IoT)
  • More closed-loop data systems
  • Increase productivity and efficiency
  • Increase in the use of smart products instead of a central control system
  • More customisation and personalisation of products

Many of these goals are focused on automation through digitising processes to make manufacturing systems more efficient and run smoothly.

What Are the Elements of Industry 4.0?

Many new components exist within Industry 4.0, which collaborate to create a robust set of manufacturing tools.

Using Cyber-Physical Systems

This is one of the goals mentioned above of Industry 4.0 and aims to combine the use of physical and digital systems. So, for example, computer systems could be set up to monitor the progress of biological processes, such as custom springs production. It could alert those that need to be altered if anything is wrong, such as the dimensions.

Smart Factory

Industry 4.0 will see the implementation of smart factories in manufacturing companies worldwide. A smart factory is an automated cyber-physical system that uses innovative technology to learn and develop as it works.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is another cyber-physical system that communicates with machinery and operates equipment while simultaneously allowing humans to be proactive and work. It works through a network of connected devices that exchange data with each other to improve communications and productivity in the workplace.

The internet of things visual imagery. Interconnected buildings joined by a cyber network

The Internet of Services

This process is linked to the Internet of Things. Still, instead of focusing on the communication aspect, it focuses on the cyber-physical connections and the best ways of integrating these systems seamlessly for an efficient and productive workplace.

The Benefits of Industry 4.0 for Manufacturing Companies

A new industrial revolution will always bring many benefits to manufacturing companies. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of Industry 4.0 for those in the sector:

  • Less machine downtime. As fewer physical machines are used, there will be much less downtime. When devices are out of action, processes can come to a halt, which seriously impacts productivity. As spring manufacturers ourselves, we understand the importance of the smooth runnings of machinery
  • Increased knowledge of digitisation. In this digitally evolving world, an understanding of digital practices is essential. Industry 4.0 allows manufacturers to learn on the job and practice their digital skills.
  • Better supply chain management. Industry 4.0 allows better supply chain management by improving communications between every stage of the supply process.

Are There Any Downsides to Industry 4.0?

Of course, as with any change to the manufacturing sector, there are downsides as well as overwhelming positive factors. Let’s take a look:

  • It increases cybersecurity risks. When moving onto Industry 4.0, digitisation increases, so it’s essential to ensure your cybersecurity systems are set up and prepared for the changes to protect your business.
  • Digital inequality. An increase in digitisation will require more money and time put into preparation to guarantee that the transition is smooth. Unfortunately, some companies do not have the facilities for this, creating some industry inequality.

Despite the drawbacks, here at European Springs, we are always ready to embrace change and excited about these changes to the manufacturing industry. Keep up to date with industry news by heading to our blog, and feel free to contact us, as expert bespoke spring manufacturers, for enquires or anything else you believe we could help with.

We are delighted to announce that we have recently on-boarded five new apprentices, Ronique Neil, Leonardo Hogan, Sami Hamanche, Racim Farhat and Matthew Bulgen. Having joined the European Springs & Pressings family, they have begun the training that will launch them on their journey to becoming qualified engineers.

From the left, apprentices Ronique Neil, Leonardo Hogan, Sami Hamanche, Racim Farhat and Matthew Bulgen with Managing Director Stuart McSheehy

Knowledge is power

We know that the greatest strength we have as a manufacturing firm is the knowledge and expertise of our engineers. There is little point in investing in cutting edge equipment and technologies if you lack the skilled staff to use them effectively.

Our engineers are problem solvers; without their specific skills and insights we would not be able to support our customer’s manufacturing processes and component requirements. When a customer approaches us with a manufacturing issue, we at European Springs & Pressings are proud to be able to provide the in-house knowledge and expertise to solve their problem.

As such, a robust, and continuing, recruitment process is essential, and we are always actively searching for exciting new engineering talent.

Apprenticeships – Earn while you learn!

An apprenticeship is a great way get a foot on the ladder within the engineering industry, while also getting paid. Combining classroom instruction and on-the-job training, an Engineering apprenticeship course offers the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and experience needed to achieve an industry-recognised City & Guild or BTEC qualification, and become a qualified engineer.

Apprentices and new workers are in increasingly high demand, as the manufacturing industry has been facing the largest skills shortage in over 30 years, partially due to the rapid advances in smart technologies and automated machinery. While manufacturers invest in this efficient equipment, many people currently do not have the right experience or are unaware of the qualifications or skills needed to fill vacant roles, and the benefits of choosing a career in this industry.

A drop in the number of fresh, young workers joining the manufacturing sector eventually results in a lack of succession. This is a huge problem for businesses when their skilled, older workers retire or move on, but they do not have the new talent in relevant positions being trained to replace them.

Talent retention

It is important to not just find new talent, but also to persuade them of the benefits of having a career in the industry. We want our employees to receive the on-the-job support and development they need to progress professionally, as well as experience the positive kind of environment and community that will enable them to enjoy their work life.

European Springs & Pressings are committed to offering our staff professional development opportunities, to support the training and skills development that will benefit them throughout their career, much of which will hopefully be with us at European Springs & Pressings.

engineering apprentices

Careers for life

To foster staff loyalty and increase retention, we have adopted a dedicated approach to creating a professional working environment that nurtures our staff’s talents and supports their progression, whatever their individual engineering aptitudes may be. To help familiarise with the business as a whole, as well as find their speciality, our apprentices are introduced to every area and process within the factory.

Our Managing Director Stuart McSheehy began his career in the industry as an engineering apprentice, and many of our current employees started as apprentices and trainees before becoming engineers, with a number having risen to essential business positions such as Purchasing Officer, Press Shop Manager, Quality and Metrology Manager and even senior management roles.

Multi-generational work family

Although many companies use the word too freely, at European Springs & Pressings we really do see ourselves as a family. Alongside a commitment to professional development, we also strive to ensure that our workers have the kind of professional habitat, personal support structures and supportive community that enable them to flourish while they are with us.

A great example of our ‘career for life’ approach to staff retention is that European Springs & Pressings can boast of a number of staff we employ who have multiple family members also working for us. In particular, we are exceedingly proud that working for us from within one family, we have four staff at the Beckenham site from across three generations.

The future of manufacturing

European Springs & Pressings provide the platform to develop our staff’s engineering expertise, give them formal training and ensure broad, vital experience, as our apprentices are introduced to every area and operation within the business.

We are eager to offer apprentices a long-term home on completion of the course, and encourage continual skills development throughout their career. At European Springs & Pressings, we search for apprentices, and take them on, every single year, and many of our certified apprentices are offered full time positions.

Contact us if you are thinking of kick-starting your career in engineering with one of our valued apprenticeships.

Exhibitions and trade shows are essential tools for establishing and maintaining connections and relationships between businesses. At European Springs, we have found that attending these shows is an excellent way of speaking with people face to face. We value taking the time to discuss our high-quality springs and pressings with the other attendees and have a chance to observe their exhibits in return.

exhibition attendance


The Southern Manufacturing & Electronics exhibition at Farnborough International Exhibition Centre was our first exhibition of the year. From Stand A135, members of our expert team, Andrew Edwards and Mark Fox, spent three days in one of the most comprehensive industrial exhibitions in the UK.


The Data Center World exhibition hosted in the London ExCel was a fantastic opportunity for our team to immerse themselves in the digital infrastructure, with this being the most significant global gathering of specialists, engineers and innovators worldwide. And with our expertise in data-based manufacturing, we are confident we made a considerable impact.


The UK Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference was a stand-out addition to our attended events this year. Hosted in Milton Keynes in March, we were one of many exhibitors to contribute to this national forum for manufacturers and all companies at any stage of a supply chain.


The Medical Technology UK Exhibition, hosted in the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, was a chance for our speciality in bespoke wireforms to shine. Our innovative solutions for custom spring designs have been commissioned for a wide range of medical machinery worldwide. So we were excited to explore possible new applications for our products at this event.

MACH 2022
Manufacturing exhibition

MACH 2022 took place from 4th – 8th April 2022. This outstanding event hosted by the Manufacturing Technologies Association was a fantastic few days where you could observe a tremendous showcase of advanced engineering and manufacturing techniques from across the whole sector. With over 25,000 visitors across the five days, including seminars and unrivalled networking opportunities, it’s easy to see why we were excited to take our place at the UK’s premier event for engineering-based manufacturing technologies.

And once again, our experts, Andrew Edwards and Mark Fox, were eager to make an appearance in the Birmingham NEC and discuss how European Springs could assist with any company’s manufacturing needs, such as supplying high-quality tension springs. With all the various machines and technologies presented, it was a chance to meet new people and a great insight into the advances developed for the sector.

National Manufacturing and Supply Chain Conference

We were excited to attend the National Manufacturing and Supply Chain Conference in May. This prestigious event held in Dublin was a perfect couple of days where our team cultivated many new positive business relationships and built connections with various industry colleagues.

We observed many companies from various industries exhibiting alongside us at the TEC, including our fellow member of the Lesjofor group, Metrol Springs.

manufacturing exhibition

SubCon 2022

This exhibition is the UK’s premier subcontract manufacturing supply chain event. Held in June at the NEC, we were present with many other company representatives to witness the 45th anniversary of this vital networking event.

Andrew Edwards and Mark Fox were eager to share how our superior work processes can benefit the creation of our client’s desired components. From stand D100, they were able to discuss the varying ways we can manufacture a variety of high quality springs, stampings and wire forms. It was a lively event that enabled us to not only meet new clients but also to see current and previous clients face to face and present samples of our specialist manufacturing expertise in person.


manufacturing exhbition

We are proud of our high attendance record for the conventions, exhibitions, and expos this year, and we plan to continue attending as many as possible throughout the year. But we believe that simply visiting an expo is only half as effective as taking the time to exhibit at them. So, why do we find exhibitions so important?

Firstly, the new connections that will be made will explain why we value attending events. Whilst finding new clients is desirable, it’s not the only helpful business connections you can find by exhibiting. As a manufacturer of compression springs, finding new business partners is an excellent way to help strengthen the supply chain and will be crucial for finding new ways of increasing your long-term profitability.

Meeting potential clients face to face is one of the unique benefits gained from exhibiting. Whilst conducting Teams calls and email bursts to contact people is a valid method of communication, there is no substitute for being in person. Clients will feel more relaxed when they can get any of their questions answered in person and avoid any potential misunderstandings that could happen with online communication.

One of the ways we have made ourselves a leading company amongst spring manufacturers is by consistently increasing our brand awareness. So when our team mans a stand at a manufacturing show, we proudly present our brand and display the confidence essential for an internationally renowned manufacturer.

Exhibitions not only give you the chance to present yourself to the industry, but you also get an opportunity to observe other companies within your sector. In addition, expos are great places for new announcements such as new product launches, services or new machinery. This assists with the previously discussed brand awareness and gives you a chance to see how the other attendees receive this new release. Additionally, it allows you to get a sense of what your competitors are getting up to. These two data sets will be vital for deciding how you want your business to proceed.



At European Springs, we constantly look for innovative ways to improve our already effective processes and strategies. As a result, we are confident that whether our customers desire our stock of torsion springs or require bespoke pressings, we will provide what they need in a high-quality, cost-effective product.

If you would like to visit our team in person, please follow our social media announcements on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for updates on all our upcoming plans.

If you have any questions about the products and services we provide, please contact us today or call us at 0208 633 1800, and a member of our expert team will happily answer all your questions.

UK manufacturing is still feeling the impact of the last two years’ events. Production and economic disruptions created many challenges that the industry is still struggling to overcome. These obstacles have been exacerbated by more recent events, such as the Russian war in Ukraine and the erratic China lockdowns.

An unfortunate result of these problems is the rising cost increase that UK manufacturing has to manage. Supply chains are still recovering, and energy bills are rising, but the demand for British manufactured products is also growing. This increase in demand is outgrowing the supply to fulfil it, causing an increase in costs. So how do manufacturers address these costs and maintain their competitiveness within the industry?

UK inflation flag

National Insurance Increase

From April 2022, the UK government increased the National Insurance contributions (NIC) by 1.25% for the tax year. This means manufacturers would be required to contribute 15.05% for each workforce member as opposed to the previous 13.8%. With the industry already struggling to fill positions, there are concerns that this increase will make it difficult for employers to recruit new engineers. If growth is limited due to this, it could increase the existing skills gap and create significant problems for the productivity of many manufacturing companies.

The response to this increase varies, but 38% of businesses have stated that they plan to pass the additionally incurred NIC onto the customers, while others choose not to. Some companies cannot absorb the costs; in this case, letting inflation trickle down to the broader economy is a sensible solution; this can enable managers to protect their employees’ jobs and allow time for the situation to improve.

Increasing Energy Costs

Manufacturing facility

There has been a sharp rise in energy costs during 2022, impacting everyone, domestic, commercial and industrial. However, the high energy nature of manufacturing means that these increases affect them more accurately than in other areas of the UK.

These sharp increases have forced manufacturers to assess every business area to increase energy efficiency and mitigate costs. This can include analysing the energy usage of processes, the requirements of various equipment, and even temporarily halting the most energy-intensive procedures.

Government Support for Industry

The manufacturing industry plays a considerable role in the UK’s economic output. Manufacturers employ roughly 2.6 million people across the country and are responsible for 44% of all UK exports. Despite the many issues the industry has faced, manufacturing remains a vital organ within the larger body of the county. Fortunately, the government may be taking steps to support this vital industry.

The UK government announced earlier this year that it would be providing support for high energy usage businesses that are struggling with the rising energy costs. The plan is to extend the energy Intensive Industries Compensation scheme and, thanks to its increased budget, be broadened to apply to more businesses, including steel manufacturing.

Industry Minister Lee Rowley said he wished to keep UK manufacturing at the forefront of the industry globally by providing this assistance. With the current changes to the scheme already having a positive impact on some areas of the sector, potentially, this support could be extended to include various other manufacturers, such as spring suppliers.

Choosing Local Power Generation

Solar panels

The rising costs of energy will inevitably have an impact on any manufacturer’s ability to remain competitive. These issues have not just been limited to financial expenses either. In a recent survey conducted by Aggreko, 65% of the 251 manufacturers stated that they had experienced an increasing number of power cuts over the last 18 months. The combination of the erratic market and unexpected power cuts harming operations has encouraged the manufacturing industry to explore on-site power and distributed energy solutions.

Distributed energy systems (DES) is a broad term that covers a diverse array of energy generations, control and storage options. This can be applied to on-site power generators and renewable solar and wind power sources. With the advances in renewable technologies, its become increasingly affordable for compression spring manufacturers to decrease their energy costs through solar panels’ on-site power generation. Additionally, with the load management installed, on-site managers can remain unaffected by widespread power cuts from more centralised sources such as national power stations.

Before national power grids were established, each business needed to develop its internal power generation. On-site power enables managers to specifically regulate the power they need as well as provide the desired energy security for their operations. Returning to this may be a solution for manufacturers to cut costs and improve their environmental efficiency.

Manufacturing’s Future

Manufacturing facility

The importance of manufacturing for the UK economy and its high international standing ensures a bright future, but how to reach that destination is still unclear. These rising costs will continue to stress existing processes and test any innovations. Still, we at European Springs firmly believe that the industry’s resilience will be able to overcome any of these challenges.

European Springs plans to rise to these challenges presented and use these obstacles as opportunities to learn and explore. We are committed to constantly exploring new ideas and improving our methods to provide our clients with consistently excellent results with our bespoke pressings and springs.

Read more about why European Springs is a leading industry manufacturer here.


    Fields marked with an *are required

    This form collects your name, email, company name, phone number and your enquiry so that one of our team can communicate with you and provide assistance. Please check our Privacy Policy to see what we'll do with your information.