The Manufacturer Top 100 2018 Press Release


Britain’s manufacturing heroes named in Liverpool

Jane High from Bion has been selected in The Manufacturer Top 100 2018 publication.

A privately owned business, Robert Bion & Co Ltd has been supplying perforating excellence for over 50 years. With a mission to be seen as an extension of our customers manufacturing facilities, Bion’s philosophy is that of continued investment in both plant and people to achieve its vision of being the leading, most innovative, supplier of bespoke perforated components to industry. Driven by a culture of excellence and technical expertise, Bion continue to be seen locally, nationally and globally as the perforators’ perforator, the go to business for technical perforating requirements.

Jane has worked for the company since 1986. In recent years her focus has been on wider engagement within the local community on STEM careers. She has overseen the Year in Industry Scheme for many years, as well as promoted apprenticeships and been a driver in making sure we provide meaningful work experience. Our latest addition to the company has come about as a result of a work placement in March this year.

The Manufacturer Top 100 2018 publication launch for the 100 most inspirational individuals working in UK industry were announced last night at a drinks reception at Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.

The Manufacturer Top 100 annual scheme is run by The Manufacturer magazine, in partnership with Cranfield University, one of the country’s top centres of business education.

Now in its fifth year, The Manufacturer Top 100 project, run by The Manufacturer magazine, in partnership with Cranfield University, one of the country’s top centres of business education, publicly recognises the most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing. Its goal is to help dispel popularly-held myths that vibrant manufacturing in the UK is a thing of the past.

Awardees are drawn from every walk of UK industry, from top floor to shop floor. From Sanjeev Gupta, who is singlehandedly transforming the British steel industry, to Amy Druce, Production Team Leader at BMW MINI Plant Oxford.

They are selected from hundreds of nominations for the examples they set to young people aspiring to a career in industry; 100 unique and uplifting stories of struggle, grit, determination and success against all the odds, personal tales of individuals helping to change popular perceptions of careers in manufacturing and draw young people into sector.

Nick Peters, Editorial Director of The Manufacturer and of The Manufacturer Top 100 report commented, “The individual stories in the report published today (available from are a compelling reminder of how strong and vibrant UK manufacturing really is. We need to keep saying that, because as a nation we seem to harbour the notion that no one in the UK makes things anymore, and young people are discouraged from considering careers in manufacturing. The truth is we do make things – we are the world’s 9th largest manufacturing nation – and careers are very well paid. But there are too few skilled young people coming through the system. It is on behalf of that new generation that we do this. We want to break down the decades-old prejudice against manufacturing. We want parents to get excited about recommending a career in manufacturing to their offspring, not see it (so erroneously) as an occupation of last resort. We must not let the prejudices of yesterday poison the opportunities of tomorrow.”

The Manufacturer Top 100 judging panel includes:

  • Paul Everitt, CEO, ADS
  • Jenny Holloway, CEO, Fashion Enter/Fashion Capital
  • Nigel Fine, CEO, Institution of Engineering and Technology
  • Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Jane Robinson, Former Director Cutting Technologies
  • Harris Makatsoris, Professor of Manufacturing Operations, Cranfield University
  • Steve Evans, Director of Research, University of Cambridge
  • Bernard Molloy, Global Industrial Logistics Director, Unipart
  • James Selka, CEO, MTA
  • Carl Perrin, CEO, Institute for Future Transport & Cities
  • Colin Brown, CEO, Institute of Mechanical Engineers
  • George Edwards, Founder, Gas- Sense Solutions
  • Bill Williams, Chief Executive, CEME Ltd
  • Stephen Phipson, CEO, EEF
  • Jan Ward CBE, CEO, Corrotherm International Ltd.

Notes for editors

The Manufacturer Top 100 is part of the Digital Manufacturing Week series of events at the Exhibition Centre in Liverpool, which took place this year on 14th to 16th of November, together with:
Smart Factory Expo –
The Manufacturing Leaders Summit –
and The Manufacturer MX Awards –

The Manufacturer – @TheManufacturer

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Case Studies In Balustrading

Brilliant Balconies

Wilcox 2

Part of the major revamp of the Abbey area in Camden, involved the redevelopment of a number of blocks of flats. These flats were to have decorative balconies, so, taking inspiration from nature and the history of the area, the Architect involved has created a bespoke perforation pattern designed to replicate leaves giving the individual balconies each a unique and natural look. This design was passed on to a contracting team who in turn got in touch with us to look into the development of such an intricate and complex pattern. Being a bespoke perforators and priding ourselves in our problem solving and quality, we were keen to take on the job and as such are currently working on over 30 unique designs spanning more than 280 panels.

wilcox for case history

Once finished these balustrades were formed and powder coated Pearl Beige, and installed over numerous high rise balconies in the Abbey area.

One of the issues that architectural jobs commonly face is the quality. Having, a vast amount of experience working with high quality and architectural products means we know how to prevent scratching or other surface marking that may affect the look of job. Once these panels reached the subcontractor they did not require any surface work to make them suitable for post processing, eliminating further costs down the line. We believe a highly successful project.

Happy 50th Birthday to our Maintenance Man

Bion would like to wish a very Happy 50th Birthday to their Maintenance Man Karl.

Karl 50

Abseiling for Parkinson’s

At the weekend the intrepid crew from Bion – see below Abseiled down Guildford Cathedral in aid of research into Parkinson’s.

As well as the money that Bion have got in sponsorship (still being counted) Tata Slitting centre at Wednesfield also raised £200 which they have donated towards this venture -so a massive thank you from us to them for their efforts on our behalf


Anyone else interested in donating please follow this Link.

STEM Professionals Inspire at Local Primary STEM Gathering

Leighton Park School were delighted to host the second ‘Big Bang Interactive’ yesterday, Tuesday 13th March, following the success of last year’s inaugural event.


As a key member of the Leighton Park STEM hub Bion were proud to again be active in bringing STEM to a wider primary age audience. In collaboration with EEF Bion delivered the Lego kanban factory game and our two new STEM Ambassadors were there to try to bring order from Chaos during the 3 sessions we ran during the morning event. We would also like to thank those whose generous donations enabled us to donate STEM related prizes so that each school would return armed with the necessary equipment and information to enable them to make sure the enthusiasm from the day remains. Bion would therefore like to thank (in no particular order) EEF, Tata Steel, Enhanced Computers, Fortis recruitment, Magal Engineering and Wilson Tools.

For one of our STEM Ambassadors this was his first experience of supporting such an activity and was a learning curve for him as well. Below he has summarised how something as simplistic as the Lego game (delivered by EEF) can be used to bring about productivity improvements.

The event on the whole was very interesting and entertaining. The Lego experiment we helped with – aimed at teaching children about manufacturing – was great to see. It demonstrated how a complex issue could be resolved so simply with a Lego model. As they became more engaged the children got more and more invested in the activities they were participating in and utilising the Lego provided an effective foundation for the kids to work from, even if initially the task was designed to fail. After the brief descent in to chaos they soon learned that this current process route and set up was not as effective as it could be and were keen to give ideas on why.

Once the production line was reset to be more efficient, they understood how you could strengthen the current process route and streamline production of the Lego unit and turn the current 10-15 minute lead time on 1 order to a 30second lead time. This short exercise gave them a bit of an insight in to the manufacturing world and some issues that they may face in the manufacturing industry, ultimately highlighting different ways of solving these problems using Kanban and Lean. This was such an effective way of getting children involved in STEM and helping them learn simple methods of incredibly productive manufacturing techniques. As they all enjoyed it very much I hope this will get them just as interested in pursuing engineering careers as they get older. Jack Rae – STEM Ambassador Bion.

Karen Gracie-Langrick, Deputy Head (Academic), who masterminded the event with the enthusiastic Leighton Park STEM Hub group, commented, “As part of British Science Week, a ten-day celebration of STEM, the Big Bang Interactive is our largest STEM event to date. Like so many of our other engaging activities and events this forms part of Leighton Park School’s vision to become a STEM Centre of Excellence by 2021. As a school, we are keen to involve students, teachers and industry experts across Berkshire and beyond in creating an interactive and fun STEM experience. Today has been a great success, enabling students to foster new skills and enhance their curiosity in STEM related subjects.

Delivered by STEM professionals from organisations that recognise the value of education in nurturing the next generation of scientists, the workshops were run by companies including Cisco, Bion, Pfizer, Intel and Volume AI as well as higher education researchers such as the Biological Sciences team and RSSL (Reading Scientific Services Ltd) at the University of Reading. Engineering UK and the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) also added their expertise to the gathering sharing insights and opportunities for future engineers through interactive games.

IMG_2810     IMG_2682

The teachers from the attending schools were equally enthusiastic about the morning;

This was excellent” commented Dan Cook, teacher at Whitley Park Primary, “It is something that we find very difficult to do in a primary school.

There were a huge variety of STEM activities” added Claire Logan from Farley Hill Primary, “Wonderful resources. We would love more contact for our Year 5s and 6s.

Helen Williams, from Dolphin School, enjoyed it so much that she would like her students to have stayed for a full day! “Superb! A great range and all the children could be involved regardless of ability.

Reviewing the workshops, Shazia Lone from Alfred Sutton Primary School, enthused, “They really engaged the pupils and demonstrated good problem based learning. They were experiences I am sure they will remember.

Abseil for Parkinson’s

In May this year some of the employees at Bion are taking part in a charity abseil to raise funds for Parkinsons.

We would like to thank Tata Steel for their support in terms of raising money pre this event for this charity event.

Well done Tata – to see how they are supporting Bion here is a summary of what they have done to date, even braving the horrendous weekend weather

In January they started by donating left over Christmas chocolate and had a tuck shop with an honest box for donation.

Paul Floyd in the technical department at Tata arranged for a group of 22 people, some from work, some friends etc to take part this Saturday on a walk around a local nature reserve, Wrens Nest. Out of work Paul runs tours around Wrens Nest, he is full of interesting facts and figures.

They usually take donations, and decided to use Saturdays monies towards the abseil. So a big thank you to him!

Key Points of our trip:

  • The remains of the Lime Kiln
  • Our guide and organiser Paul Flyod
  • The time tunnel gets its name from the TV programme from the 60’s who filmed here.
  • Fossil hunting! We found shells and coral from the days when the West Midlands was underwater in the tropics!

A bit about Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve… Over 400 million years ago, the area where Dudley now stands was covered by coral reefs and tropical seas providing an environment for the famous fossils we find there today. Over 700 types of fossil are known to have come from Wren’s Nest. 186 of which were first discovered and described here and 86 are found nowhere else on Earth. Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve is a classic geological site of exceptional importance.

Reading company takes Gold at prestigious regional business awards

R Bion & Co, a Reading-based manufacturer of perforated metal and plastic products, has won regional recognition at this year’s prestigious EEF Future Manufacturing Awards.

R Bion & Co, which employs 30 staff won the Partnerships Award. This award is given to the company that has made the biggest strides in promoting engineering and manufacturing careers by working with education providers or engaging with the local community.

R Bion & Co was up against stiff competition from a range of innovative businesses – small and large – from across the region. It was selected by a panel of judges drawn from business leaders, industry experts, and academics after impressing them with their programme of collaboration that has delivered positive impacts on growth and future collaboration potential.

With the regional title now secured, R Bion & Co will now go on to compete for the national title at an awards gala dinner in London in January next year.

Nick Bion Managing Director at R Bion & Co, says: “Manufacturing and engineering offer great career opportunities but firms still struggle to fill places and to attract the skilled workers they need. We think this is a shame for the firms and the people who are missing out on exciting and rewarding careers. It’s important to raise awareness of this and we’re delighted that our work in this vital field has been recognised.

“It’s fantastic to get this far and now we’re all looking forward to the national finals in January to see how we measure up against the rest of the UK.”

Terry Scuoler CBE, CEO at EEF, says: “Companies that take steps to promote manufacturing amongst their local communities and education providers are essential for providing young people with the skills that will secure our industry into the future. This award is fully deserved and R Bion & Co should be applauded for their efforts. We wish them the best of luck for the national finals.”

For more information about the awards visit:

Bion celebrated the retirement


On Friday 3rd November the team at Bion celebrated the retirement of Dave Hope who joined the Company in 1988.

When Dave first started he used to be a press operator and mainly worked on the spot welder – welding tubes for the automotive sector.

As the years progressed he moved away from this to become a Press Setter on our Seyi Press.


28 years in the company is an impressive track record and is part of our culture at Bion.

The average length of service is 12 years. Of course, we do have a problem recruiting younger people to our team. In recognition of the problems facing our sector in terms of skills gaps, we have for many years encouraged youngsters into engineering via different routes.

Each year we do work experience with local schools, We take a Year in Industry Student from EDT every year and we endeavor to recruit graduates where possible.

We also currently have an apprentice and we are looking in 2018 – The Year of Engineering to step up our STEM related outreach work.

In the meantime we hope Dave enjoys his retirement, we know he will keep in touch as he is already coming to our Christmas Do.

Good Luck Dave – see you on 9th December

All at Bion

Are you an #EngineerOnAMission?


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For more information, click here.


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A parents’ guide to engineering careers is now available…

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STEM partnerships to boost schools engagement

EngineeringUK has secured funding from the Careers & Enterprise Company…

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Year of Engineering 2018


2018 will be the Year of Engineering, a year-long government campaign to support the engineering profession in recruiting the next generation of engineers. It seeks to help tackle the engineer shortage, increase parent knowledge and improve diversity within engineering.