Wednesday, 08 February 2006
New centre sets standards for testing technology
INDUSTRY and the Regions Minister Alun Michael has launched a
new part DTI-funded centre in South Wales that is enabling UK
industry to move into higher value-added products.
Mr Michael and Economic Development and Transport Minister
Andrew Davies launched the Non Destructive Testing Validation
Centre at Port Talbot.
The initiative is jointly funded by DTI and the Welsh Assembly
and will advance the use of non-destructive testing (NDT) by
ensuring that rapidly evolving techniques and procedures can be
applied in a consistent and accurate manner to all materials, in
particular to composites.
Mr Michael said: “As part of the National Composites Network,
this centre is an important element in the Government’s strategy
of enabling UK industry to move into higher value-added products.
“I am pleased to share a platform with Andrew Davies and to
celebrate the fact that this site is once again a centre of
scientific endeavour. It will be an indispensable resource for
engineers to ensure that their products are high quality and have
high integrity for an increasingly demanding and safety conscious
NDT, while important for many traditional materials such as
steel, is increasingly important for the newer materials
developments such as composites, which are being used more and
more in safety critical applications. Both Boeing’s and Airbus’s
next generation passenger aircraft will have high composites
If the UK is to remain at the forefront of technical advance in
materials it is essential we have access to accurate and reliable
NDT techniques. This centre represents the start of what could
become a major EU centre for NDT if future plans come to fruition.
NDT is not new but increasingly is becoming more important for
manufacturing quality control, and in service performance
monitoring. Consistency of interpretation of the results produced
is becoming more and more critical thus validations of the
technique and procedures used is key, hence the need for a
national independent centre to do this.
As aviation authorities seek to impose more stringent in
service monitoring requirements the need for validation will
become more important. This centre marks the beginning of what
could become a major leading global centre of NDT validation.
The National Composites Network (NCN) is a £30m UK initiative
to promote and enable access to state of the art composites
technology to anyone who wants it in the UK. A major delivery
objective is to complete the UK’s composites technology portfolio
through a series of regional centres each of which fills a unique
gap. Two such centres have already been launched, one in the South
East focussing on automated lay up and assembly and one in the
South West on high integrity large components. Two other are
planned for launch later this year in the North West and