Drives and Controls Magazine
Government invests £6.5m to stimulate manufacturing innovation
Published:  14 June, 2012

The British government is providing more than £6.5m in funding for 16 new research and development projects intended to help to stimulate innovation in the UK’s manufacturing sector.

The funding, coming from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will support the development of technologies that could underpin new production processes in a wide range of industrial applications and sectors. The TSB will provide grant funding of £5.6m, while the EPSRC will support worth £934,000 to academic institutions involved in five of the projects.

The aim is to create high value through novel processes, advanced product manufacturing, and/or resource efficiency improvements. The projects will also encourage the development of technologies that will enhance environmental sustainability through efficient disposal, recycling or remanufacture of assets at the end of their useful lives.

Examples of the technologies being developed include:
•  an innovative method for controlling and optimising car-painting processes;
•  autonomous, intelligent machining;
•  on-line control of welding processes using ultrasonic test techniques; and
•  sustainable and resource-efficient cutting of titanium.

The companies leading the projects include Airbus, AMRC Manufacturing, GKN Aerospace, Renishaw, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

“Investment in cutting-edge manufacturing research and the translation of that into commercial applications is the key to economic success,” says EPSRC’s chief executive, Professor Dave Delpy. “EPSRC has a portfolio of 350 live projects and an investment of £380m in the manufacturing sector.