Largest-ever UK Government R&D investment

Posted on 10 Jan 2019 and read 726 times
Largest-ever UK Government R&D investmentThe Bristol-based National Composites Centre ( — a world-renowned focal point for innovation and excellence, with over 300 specialist researchers, engineers and innovators — has announced a major new R&D
investment programme that will see £36.7 million invested in 10 new technologies. These will be tailor-made to the NCC’s specifications, in order to speed the development of new processes for all forms of composite manufacturing.

Funded in part by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the iCAP programme will increase production rates and quality while improving efficiency and reducing cost.

NCC partners in sectors ranging from aerospace and transport to construction and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) will gain access to next-generation technology and be able to test new techniques.

The ultimate aim of the programme is to help companies boost their productivity and secure the UK’s position at the forefront of high-value manufacturing.

The timing is apposite, as the global demand for composite products is set to increase by 4.1% each year until to 2023.

The aerospace sector, for example, needs to replace an ageing global fleet of passenger and freight planes with aircraft that are more fuel-efficient, so the NCC is fostering partnerships between aerospace manufacturers,equipment suppliers and material suppliers to develop radically different automated manufacturing technologies.

However, this R&D programme is not all about aerospace; sectors including automotive, construction, marine, oil and gas, and renewable energy also stand to benefit.

For example, high-speed injection moulding, over-braiding and automated forming methods have multiple applications in the automotive industry, where manufacturers demand 1min cycle times and production-line-ready parts straight out of the mould.

Richard Oldfield, the NCC’s CEO, said: “The iCap programme will deliver a step change in innovation to the composites industry, transforming the scale of the parts that can be made, increasing manufacturing speeds and automating the non-destructive testing process.

"Together, these will help to build confidence and acceptance in new sectors and cement the UK’s position as a world leader in composites.”

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