ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

26/06/20
Over the last few months, many of us have faced shortages of our favourite food products at the supermarkets. Even after the hoarding crisis died down, when consumers emptied shelves in panic, major retailers have failed to supply everything their customers want to buy due to countries locking their borders.

Without being able to rely on trade as much as before, it has led experts to question whether one of the legacies of the coronavirus pandemic is the UK becoming more self-sufficient in its food production.

An article in World Crunch revealed that 86 per cent of Germans wanted the nation to “be able to meet its own needs for basic foodstuffs through domestic agriculture”.

The study, carried out by the University of Gottingen, revealed the majority of Germans wanted the country to improve its agricultural food production so consumers would not have to restrict the amount of pasta, sugar, yeast, or flour they could buy in the future.

However, this might not be as simple as it seems, with many ingredients being flown in from all over the world.

Rudolf Trettenbrein, managing director of the consultancy firm Inverto Austria, said: “Many ingredients that could be produced in Germany actually come from China. That’s often the case, for example, with dried fruits such as apricots, peaches and plums.”

This has helped countries make substantial savings. Furthermore, food production industries are able to benefit from international trade, with Germany exporting 71.6 billion euros (£64.1 billion) worth of food products around the world in 2019.

To cope with the challenges of food production, which would need to increase by up to 70 per cent over the next 30 years to keep up with growing populations, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have come up with a solution.

They have determined 75 new technologies could “transform the entire food chain”, including artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, robotics, vertical farming and micro-algae production.

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19/06/20
On 14 July, the UAE will become the first Arab country to launch a mission to Mars, as part of a wider regional effort to build knowledge and create opportunities, especially for young people.

The Hope Mars Mission is expected to reach the planet by February, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the UAE. The project has been planned, managed and implemented by an Emirati team overseen and funded by the UAE Space Agency, according to the BBC

“This mission is not just about the UAE it’s about the region, it’s about the Arab issue,” Omran Sharaf, the mission’s project manager at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC), said.

“The region is going through tough times and we do need good news and we need the youth in the region to really start looking inwards, building their own nations and putting differences aside to co-exist with people with different faiths and backgrounds and work together.”

Developing talent, creating opportunities for engineers, scientists, and researchers working in natural sciences are the next important endeavours for the country, Sarah Al-Amiri, the UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Sciences added.

“Mars provided us with the necessary challenge to rigorously develop talent in engineering, it gave us an appetite for risk and being able to circumvent the risk and push forward with the mission for development. It allows us to start integrating and creating new opportunities for scientists within the UAE and those that are studying the natural sciences,” said Al-Amiri.

Since the project was launched in 2014, the team has designed, developed and assembled the spacecraft, and repeatedly tested it through the harsh conditions it is expected to encounter.

Over the last 60 years, only six countries have sent missions to the Red Planet.

Sir Ian Blatchford, director of the UK’s Science Museum Group, described the UAE’s project as fascinating.

“What they are trying to achieve is remarkable for a country that is developing this infrastructure, but particularly I think they’re being very modest in describing the fact that they’re doing it in half the time,” he said.

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12/06/20
The spread of coronavirus across the country meant that everything came to a standstill – including funerals. While more people were dying than ever, social distancing restrictions meant that families and friends were unable to pay their respects the way they had wanted to.

While the new rules were brought in at the end of March to protect attendees from contracting the deadly virus, many have found it very difficult to be unable to say goodbye to the deceased in the traditional way.

However, Co-op Funeralcare gave some tips on how funerals can still be heartfelt and respectful, even during this unprecedented time.

It now offers a cortege service to allow one last journey for their loved one, as well as a direct burial service, which means the deceased can be buried without an attended service. They can also have one final journey for their loved one.

Managing director of Co-op Funeralcare Sam Tyrer said: “We are arranging funerals in a way we would never have thought possible just weeks ago so that bereaved families can continue to honour their loved ones in a unique and beautiful way and say their best possible goodbyes.”

Some people have opted for outdoor services; played the funeral music through speakers to mourners outside crematoriums; and held hearse processions to the front door instead of down the aisle.

As lockdown restrictions have begun to ease, the government has announced changes to funeral restrictions. It states only members of the person’s household, close family and a celebrant of choice as well as the Funeral Director, Chapel Attendant and funeral staff are allowed to go to the funeral, and have to leave at least two metres apart between each other.

To make the funeral extra special, opt for a bespoke memorial headstone for your loved one.
08/06/20
Almost exactly three days after SpaceX’s historic first crew launch from the Kennedy Space Centre on 30 May, the 15-storey tall Falcon rocket booster has been returned to shore, after landing itself aboard a football field-sized drone ship off the coast of Florida shortly after the weekend launch.

Local residents, tourists, and space enthusiasts flocked to Jetty Park and Port Canaveral to witness the return of the reusable rocket booster, as the SpaceX drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ brought the rocket home, reports Space.com.

A tug boat pulled the drone ship through the inlet leading to Port Canaveral at around 2 pm local time (around 7 pm BST) on Tuesday 2 June, and the Falcon 9 rocket booster was carefully hoisted off the drone ship by a crane, and into an onshore stand.

SpaceX planned to remove or retract the rocket’s landing legs, then rotate the booster horizontal for transport back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for further inspections, and likely refurbishment for another launch.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 3:22 p.m. local time on Saturday 30 May from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a test flight to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The launch grabbed the attention of space enthusiasts all around the world, as it marked the first time US astronauts have launched from U.S. soil into Earth orbit since the last space shuttle launch July 8, 2011.

After the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket detached from the upper stages, around two-and-a-half minutes after launch, it deployed four fins for aerodynamic stability, then reignited a subset of its Merlin engines to steer toward a landing on the drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ a few hundred miles northeast of Cape Canaveral.

A single-engine burn slowed the rocket for the final descent to the drone ship’s deck, and four black landing legs made of carbon fibre extended just before touchdown.

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26/05/20
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published guidance for employers, employees, and the self-employed within the food industry. The guidance is to help understand safe working practices during the coronavirus pandemic.

No matter whether it’s more traditional food production, or modern foodtech facilities, the guidance focusses on hygiene practices and requirements that must be adhered to by businesses and people.

The FSA has suggested that business owners should ensure risk assessments address the risks of COVID-19, using the government social distancing guidance to inform decisions and control measures.

Food manufacturers

The guidance states that food manufacturers are required to implement and maintain hygiene procedures based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.

It notes that manufacturers should consider the need for additional verification of existing controls or validation of any new controls that have been introduced. Any changes need to be documented to be presented to the relevant food authority or the FSA.

The guidance includes the following:

• Food manufacturers should ensure that materials passed their use-by date are disposed of properly
• Stock checked for damage and check temperature control records
• They should ensure that any new suppliers or contractors meet requirements. This should be specified in their HACCP or HACCP-based Food Safety Management System (FSMS)
• Manufacturers should check that they have stocks of cleaning chemicals and personal protective equipment (PPE)
• If suppliers or ingredients have changed, food manufacturers will need to review their allergen management and labelling in line with their HACCP or HACCP-based FSMS
• Machinery and equipment that has been idle may need inspection and testing to ensure it is capable of normal function.
• By law, food business operators must ensure that food handlers receive the appropriate supervision and training in food hygiene

The guidance also advises on the use of PPE in the food industry for the protection of workers, and to prevent contamination of food during production.

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28/04/20
Singapore has thought of an innovative way to increase food production as supply chains continue to be affected by the coronavirus – by transforming car park rooftops into farms.

Reuters reported the city-state is struggling to meet demand as it only produces a tenth of the food consumed.

Therefore, as many countries have gone into lockdown and are unable to ship food to Singapore, it is having to think of ways it can be more sustainable.

Authorities released a statement, saying: “The current Covid-19 situation underscores the importance of local food production, as part of Singapore’s strategies to ensure food security.”

It added: “Local food production mitigates our reliance on imports, and provides buffer in the event of food supply disruptions.”

Only one per cent of its 724 sq km of land is used for agriculture, due to the shortage of space available.

Therefore, the Food Agency is planning to launch a tender next month for rooftops on car parks. It is having to resort to urban farms because of Singapore’s lack of greenery.

If granted, it will receive a S$30 million (£16.69 million) to help it produce a range of food products, including leafy vegetables, eggs and fish.

Tesco is also looking to make food production more sustainable by joining up with WWF to assess how environmentally friendly some of the UK’s most popular produce is in terms of its packaging waste, deforestation implications and climate change bearing.

Its Sustainable Basket Metric aims to halve Tesco’s environmental impact of food by 2030.

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24/04/20
With the impending release of the UK government’s clean heat strategy, and the commitment to reaching net-zero by 2050, ecologically friendly agriculture company Low Carbon Farming has announced it has found potential sites for 41 giant, low carbon greenhouses.

According to Environment Journal, the plan for the greenhouses could make the UK self-sufficient in tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as peppers and flowers, which will remove the food miles associated with the importing of fresh vegetables, as well as creating 8,000 jobs, injecting £2.67bn into local economies, and increase the UK’s clean heat output by nearly 3 TWh per annum.

The scheme will do away with the more traditional gas-fired heating methods for industrial greenhouses, and replace that with heat pumps to capture waste heat from nearby recycling centres.

Andy Allen, a director at Low Carbon Farming, said: “Our East Anglian projects provide British farming with a bankable template for the nationwide roll-out of transformative, renewable heat solutions.

“Having secured the financing and proven the business model, and with the case for secure and sustainable British produce having been thrown into such sharp focus, it’s time to plan for the next stage.”

Low Carbon Farming has teamed up with Anglian Water on the primary projects, who will supply the waste heat, simultaneously solving the environmental issues surrounding heating local water courses.

David Riley, head of carbon neutrality at Anglian Water: ‘These projects are helping us fulfil our environmental obligations and represent the kind of innovative approach to sustainability we are embracing right across our business in our own challenge to become zero carbon by 2030.

‘Finding alternative sustainable uses for land close to water recycling centres which also make use of excess energy makes sense for UK businesses.’

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26/03/20
According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 28.2 million working days lost last year due to work-related health issues. The statistic is a worrying one that is costing UK industry millions of pounds in lost productivity, reports Aero Mag.

What manufacturers are finding frustrating, is that many of the contributing factors can be avoided if firms explore and invest in cost-effective means to deliver a clean workplace for their staff.

The aerospace industry, while seen as being at the forefront of modern technology and innovation, has many examples within all tiers of the supply chain are not doing enough to meet regulations.

“One of the Health and Safety Executive’s main focuses in 2020 is reducing exposure to metalworking fluids and welding fume,” said global industrial air cleaning specialist, Filtermist Systems’ CEO, James Stansfield. “Mild steel weld fume was reclassified as carcinogenic last year, prompting a change in enforcement expectations.

“Inspections for fabrication facilities are being ramped up considerably and failure to comply with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations could carry a significant financial penalty. More importantly, the welfare of staff is continuing to suffer if firms fail to act.”

The International Agency for Research on Cancer published findings that proved mild steel welding fumes cause lung cancer, and possibly kidney cancer. The HSE estimates that 40-50 welders are hospitalised every year due to breathing metal fumes at work.

HSE will no longer accept any welding being undertaken without suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is currently no known level of safe exposure.

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26/03/20
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09/03/20
Eni might be able to tap into between 200 and 300 million extra barrels of oil after making a new discovery near Mexico.

The oil company located the source on the Saasken Exploration Prospect in Block 10, situated in Cucena Salina in the Sureste Basin.

The discovery was made by the Saasken-1 NFW well, which has become the six consecutive successful well drilled by Eni in the Sureste Basin.

This well, which was drilled by the Valaris 8505 Semisub in water stretching 340 metres deep, can be found 65 km off the coast of the Central American country and has a total depth of 3.83 km.

Following the discovery, data has been collected on the well, analysis of which has concluded more than 10,000 barrels of oil could be collected every day.

This means Block 10 could become a very lucrative commercial production site for Eni. This is particularly the case as other prospects have been located close to the area that “may be clustered in a synergic development”, a spokesperson for the firm said.

Lukoil and Capricorn will work together with Eni on the Block 10 Joint Venture, which will pursue the discovery of oil here and exploit synergies close by to determine whether this area could be developed commercially.

Eni has found its presence in Mexico to be very successful, having been present in the country since 2006. It has become a “core country in Eni’s strategy of future organic growth”, with the firm producing around 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from Area 1.

This comes after Panoro Energy ASA announced oil sources on the Dussafu Marn Permit, close to Gabon.

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24/02/20
To most, it may seem that the space industry hasn’t taken any big steps forward in recent years. Yet, many companies are investing astronomical amounts of money into R&D, hoping to create the next big thing in spaceflight.

To this end, recent developments in 3D printing, also referred to as additive manufacturing, has allowed it to become one of the most significant technologies making an impact on the aerospace industry.

Satellites have become a key focus of both scientists and engineers, allowing for advanced studies as well as more commercial uses, like worldwide internet systems. However, these satellites need a way to get into orbit, and the best method is still to use a rocket. Unfortunately, building a rocket and sending the payload into space is a very expensive thing to do.

Minimising the cost of building rockets has been an industry target for quite some time now. The key to achieving that goal is to make rockets more lightweight, more fuel-efficient, and cheaper to build. That’s where 3D printing comes in.

Large-scale metal-printed projects are built with robot arms that feed a thin metal wire to a laser that welds the material into place. Other ways to print metal use a laser or a beam of electrons to melt or fuse a bed of powder into layers of finished product.

The main advantage of 3D printing in the rocket-building business is providing the ability to reduce part count and make the production line flexible without the need to invest tens or even hundreds of millions into special tooling before manufacturing each design.

A rocket consists of tens of thousands of parts, making it a very complex product. With 3D printing, it’s possible to significantly reduce the part count of a rocket, bringing the cost down. In this way, we’re entering into a new era of cost-efficient rocket building and space business.

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28/01/20
The UK Space Agency has given an opportunity to young people to win a share of £50,000 and share ideas of how satellites can improve life on Earth. The SatelLife Competition is now in it’s fourth year, and is seeking innovative proposals that could use data collected from space to benefit our daily lives.

These could be for improving health services or tackling climate change, or in the case of last years winner, help supermarkets keep track of missing shopping trollies. Other winning ideas from 2019 included crime fighting drones, and an app to find public toilets.

Lowena Hull, 17, who’s shopping trolley idea now has her in meetings with a major supermarket, said: “Since winning the SatelLife Competition I’ve had interest in my idea so that shows that anything can happen if you enter. SatelLife is such an amazing opportunity and it’s a great introduction for young people to the space sector, which is important especially with the UK’s space sector growing.”

Satellites support the economy and everyday life, and this competition gives young people the chance to test their ideas with space experts and perhaps one day become part of one of the UK’s fastest growing industries. The UK space sector already supports 42,000 jobs and could create a further 30,000 opportunities in the next decade.

Lowena is one of a number of previous winners making progress on turning their ideas into reality. In 2018 medical students Christopher Law, 21, Thomas Franchi and Hammad Jeilani, both 22, from London came up with an idea to use satellites and drones to help people in isolated areas who cannot access basic health care such as vaccines, birth control or medicine.

The competition, which is open to those aged 11 to 22 and split into three age groups, aims to support the development of science, data handling and technological skills.

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09/01/20
Supermarket giant Tesco has joined forces with WWF to map the environmental impact of food production, in an attempt to make the process more sustainable.

They launched the Sustainable Basket Metric earlier this week, which will measure some of the UK’s most popular foods against key sustainability criteria, which includes deforestation, food and packaging waste, and climate change.

This will help them achieve their goal of halving the environmental impact of food by 2030.

Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco Group, said: “Throughout our partnership, we’ll be carrying out industry-leading work to make food production more sustainable, including sourcing commodities like soy and palm oil from verified zero-deforestation areas, and improving soil health and water usage on farms in the UK.”

He went on to say this would help protect the natural environment for generations to come.

Chief executive officer of WWF UK Tanya Steele concurred, saying food production is the main cause of tropical deforestation and 24 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases. Therefore, the Sustainable Basket Metric will enable them to paint a better picture of how sustainable the most popular foods are and what more can be done to reduce their environment impact.

The organisations will look at whether packaging can be reused or recycled; reducing food waste in stores and operations; and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.

There are different concerns for varying food groups. For instance, the key issue with beef is the problem of methane emissions from cattle; with lettuce, it is water use and food waste; with potatoes, it is soil health; and with tinned soup, it is factory greenhouse gas emissions.

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07/01/20
Vacuum heat treatment is essential to any medical environment for many reasons, not least in order to promote healing.

One recent discovery has shown how bandages could be used directly on broken bones to promote their healing. They have been shown to promote bone healing in mice and this could have implications for humans.

The bandage works by trapping pro-healing adenosine near the site of the break, which speeds up the healing of the bone tissue.

"Adenosine is ubiquitous throughout the body in low levels and performs many important functions that have nothing to do with bone healing," Varghese said. "To avoid unwanted side effects, we had to find a way to keep the adenosine localized to the damaged tissue and at appropriate levels."

The team had decided to focus on adenosine when they noticed that it accumulated around broken bones in high concentration, suggesting that it would play a role in bone healing. The research they have done proves that it could and demonstrates a way this healing effect could be harnessed.

The biomaterial bandage that was used in the research contains boronate molecules that are attracted to the adenosine. These bonds eventually break down which allows the release of adenosine into the broken bone site without it leaking elsewhere.

The mice in the study were checked after one week and three weeks after being treated with the bandage. The research showed that healing was present after three weeks. The research also showed that the bandages worked whether they harnessed naturally produced adenosine or artificial adenosine.