UK membership organisation Rapra has been taken over by Made in the Midlands, an organisation launched in 2009 which now has more than 340 members from the manufacturing sector in the Midlands and Yorkshire regions. Terms of the deal have not been announced.
Telford-based Rapra traces its origins back to 1919 but became the Rubber And Plastics Research Association in 1954. Its history as a leading R&D partner to the UK plastics and rubber industries included a restructuring in 2002. In this, its consulting and information business was acquired by US group Smithers to become Smithers Rapra, and Rapra continued separately as a membership organisation offering business and technical support, testing and analysis services.
Rapra director, Stephen Shaw, said in a statement: “We are very excited and encouraged to see the success that Made in the Midlands and Yorkshire have had in the years that it has been in existence. We are looking forward to working and developing the joint model together in the coming months and years."
Made in the Midlands CEO, Jason Pitt, said: “It’s very exciting for us to be given the opportunity of acquiring and growing Rapra, this comes off the back of our expansion into Yorkshire and will help us become an integral part of the future industrial strategy of the UK.
“Although there is uncertainty globally, I don’t think the future of manufacturing and industrialisation is uncertain. With America taking the lead, I expect to see growth in industry, in particular those businesses and sectors that have invested in R&D. The acquisition of Rapra will help us to deliver that message more powerfully.”
The announcement referred to the growing interest in Industry 4.0 technology, saying this “will generate increased interest in the services of Rapra, which will now only be strengthened by the support of Made in the Midlands”.
Made in the Midlands COO, Charles Addison, added: “It is a great privilege to be overseeing part of the stewardship of a historical organization that benefits manufacturing and being able to put a 21st century spin on a membership model, we are using our technology and expertise that has worked for seven years and represents billions of pounds worth of industry in the UK."