SEA Achievements 2020

(In no particular order)

The Coronavirus pandemic had an unprecedented impact on UK Manufacturing, but our sector remained open and ready to support all key sectors.


  1. The SEA maintained close contact with the UK Government, Ministers and Departments to ensure that our sector was designated as a key sector and could remain operational during the pandemic. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy confirmed, by letter, the importance of our sector to UK Manufacturing and that it could remain open during the pandemic.
  2. Lord Whitby, our President, arranged further meetings at BEIS – Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in order to discuss potential exemption from some of the energy taxes for our sector. Our sector is energy intensive and these taxes are damaging productivity. There will be an opportunity for the sector once the transition period has come to an end.
  3. Our UK Lobbying activities continued with further meetings held with DEFRA, BEIS, HSE and Environment Agency. These discussions centered on sector specific issues that were having a damaging impact on the sector.
  4. The SEA continues to take a lead role within the CETS organisation which has now become recognised by the European Commission as the lead European body for our sector. We were instrumental in getting the chromium trioxide application for authorisation under REACH approved before the end of the transition period.
  5. The SEA has worked closely with Sheffield Hallam University in preparing for the HiPIMS international conference. The event was due to take place in Sheffield but because of coronavirus travel restrictions, it was decided to hold the event virtually in 2021.
  6. We have been working closely with organisations in our sector to develop a surface engineering / materials processing apprenticeship scheme and career development programmes through to Masters Level with Cranfield University. A level 7 apprenticeship (Master level) is not being run by Cranfield University and SME’s can take advantage of Government support and pay just 5% of the cost of the course.
  7. The SEA continues to operate in a financially sound manner and has developed sufficient reserves to continue to develop over the coming years. We operate as a not-for-profit organisation with any surpluses being retained for the future development of the sector.
  8. The high profile that the SEA now enjoys means that we were involved with numerous consultations during the year from the Environment Agency, HSE, DEFRA, BEIS, and many European regulatory bodies. One of the results of these consultations was the extension of the current climate change agreement scheme through until the end of March 2025. This will save the sector in the region of £4million per annum.
  9. We gave a presentation on surface engineering and its positive impact on the environment to the Institution of Engineering & Technology at one of their regional meetings held at the Science & Technology Facilities Council, Daresbury. It is hoped that we can continue to work more closely with the IET in the future
  10. The SEA now has wide-ranging representation on many committees / organisations engaged in / with the surface engineering sector at a regional, national and European level including;
  • European Commission Technical Working Group – STM BREF
  • Environmental Permitting Programme Stakeholder Committee
  • Metals Industry Liaison Group
  • Surface Engineering Board of the Institute of Material, Minerals & Mining
  • European Committee for Surface Engineering (CETS)
  • BSI Committee STI/33 Electrodeposited and other coatings
  • Nickel REACH Consortium
  • Nickel Institute / CETS Nickel Working Group
  • BEIS Focus Groups regarding climate change agreements & energy policy
  • Cross-sector REACH group
  • Silver REACH Consortium
  • SELF – Surface Engineering Leadership Forum
  1. We supported the development of the DSM Network Plus at the University of Manchester. The Network received £1 million funding from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to bring together diverse expertise and capabilities in the UK academia to enhance digitalization in the surface manufacturing sector.
  2. The SEA was audited against our 3 ISO accreditations, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 and we passed all 3.
  3. Our delayed Biennial General Meeting was eventually held online and a new Chairman, Robert Sawyer, was appointed. Godfrey Evans becomes Deputy Chairman and Tom Stokes was elected as Vice Chairman.