Two Cambridge UK technology innovators – TeraView and TWI (The Welding Institute) – have been chosen to lead initiatives in a new Government investment designed to stimulate innovation in manufacturing.Sixteen major new R & D projects that will help stimulate innovation in the UK’s manufacturing sector are to share government funding of more than £6.5 million.
The Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council are to provide grant funding to support the development of the new technologies that have the potential to underpin new production processes in a wide range of industrial applications and market sectors.
The focus of the R&D will be on production technologies that can create high value through novel processes, advanced product manufacture, and/or resource efficiency improvements.
TeraView is understood to have been awarded the best part of £1m for an innovative method of controlling and optimising car painting processes. EPSRC is understood to be contributing a significant amount to that particular pot.
TeraView CEO Don Arnone told Business Weekly: “Based on the success of laboratory products in the integrated circuit chip inspection and other industrial quality assurance applications, we have received from funding from the TSB to help transition our technology from the lab into productions environments where the demand for the technology is growing.
“We have already successfully done this in the pharmaceutical area, and are now focusing on making the transition in other industrial areas.
“The TSB money is very helpful in that regard; it helps us to retain the lead we have already built up in Terahertz applications, and transition our products to larger industrial inspection markets where we can scale up the business more quickly ahead of the competition. This will be done in collaboration with our industrial customers and end-users of the technology.”
TWI, a world-leading welding technologies company, is believed to have earned total funding of around £900,000 for a project involving its MIG brazing technology. It will involve online control of welding processes using ultrasonic test techniques. TWI’s Mario Cordero-Cabrera told Business Weekly: “Wind brazing is a relatively new joining technique which combines the benefits of MIG (high deposition rates, automation capabilities and high welding speeds) with those of brazing (low temperature, low distortion, retention of corrosion resistant properties of galvanised steels, etc).
“It is particularly suitable for the joining of thin plates of high strength steels. During MIG-brazing, the temperature of the process is well below the melting point of the parent materials, and sufficiently high for the melting of the fillers, in many cases creating joints with strengths as high as those of the parent metals.”
Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “Manufacturing capability is often built on, and strengthened by, such new-found technology and this can be a significant driver of economic growth.”
Professor Dave Delpy, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) chief executive added: “Investment in cutting edge manufacturing research and the translation of that into commercial applications is the key to economic success. EPSRC has a portfolio of 350 live projects and an investment of £380 million in the manufacturing sector.
“The UK is not alone in placing increased importance on advanced manufacturing. Funding projects such as these will help maintain our competitiveness against international peers such as the US and Germany.”
The companies leading the projects are: Airbus Operations Ltd, AMRC Manufacturing Ltd, Bluefrog Design Ltd, Colloids Ltd, GKN Aerospace, Innoval Technology, Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute Ltd, Renishaw plc, Technical Solutions 24 Seven Ltd, TeraView Ltd, The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd, Thompson Friction Welding Ltd, TWI Ltd, Umeco Structural Materials (Derby) Ltd, Unilever and Vibraglaz (UK) Ltd.