Vince Cable opens National Composites Centre
25 Nov 2011
The government's vision of composites as an important aspect of UK-based high-value manufacturing came a step closer when Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills formally opened the National Composites Centre (NCC), part of the High Value Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre.
The NCC brings together dynamic companies and enterprising academics to develop new technologies for the design and rapid manufacture of high-quality composite products. It forms a key part of the UK Government's approach to Composites , which highlights the importance of composites to the future of UK manufacturing.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Here in the UK we are very good at invention, but we need to do more to innovate and turn our ideas into products and jobs. I don’t want the UK to miss out on any opportunities to create economic growth through manufacturing."
He added: “This centre will work with our world-class universities and international businesses based in the UK to develop and commercialise new technologies. Its work will strengthen our manufacturing sector, exploiting the next generation of advanced composite materials and helping maintain our global lead in this technology area."
The NCC is an integral part of the High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Technology and Innovation Centre initiative, one of an elite network of world-leading technology and innovation centres to transform the UK’s capability for innovation, managed by the Technology Strategy Board. Last month the Technology Strategy Board announced it will invest over £140 million over a six year period in this initiative. The NCC received an initial £25m investment from: the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (£12m); the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) (£4m), and £9m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The NCC provides manufacturing facilities at an industrial scale and develops rapid manufacturing processes capable of building prototypes to validate design concepts. It acts as the hub of the UK’s effort to develop and implement rapid composite manufacturing technologies and systems, and also provides direction and focus for fundamental research and collaborative links with UK universities. And finally, it helps to develop and co-ordinate training to support the skills base necessary for applying advanced and specialist composite technologies.
The centre can rely on powerful support from industry. The private sector was involved from the inception of the NCC. Tier 1 members - AgustaWestland, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN, Umeco and Vestas - have committed almost £5½m of work over three years, and that’s not to underestimate the importance of small and medium sized enterprises. This year alone sees £5m of work from industry.
Jim Godman, Chair of the NCC’s Steering Board, added: “We are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to formally launch our new centre and highlight that we are well and truly open for business. The NCC is a fantastic national asset and is a catalyst for real change in the industry. It has something for all businesses involved in composites manufacture, across all sectors. We already have commitments from large and medium sized enterprises involved in renewable energy, aerospace, automotive, defence, marine and rail, and expect this list to grow."
Iain Gray, CEO of the Technology Strategy Board said: “We are delighted with the role that the NCC is playing in the HVM Technology and Innovation Centre. Research into composites will play an important part if the UK is to grow its economy through boosting High Value Manufacturing businesses in the UK.
“The application of fibre reinforced polymer composite materials offers vast commercial opportunities to UK manufacturers in many industries including: automotive, marine, aerospace, wind and wave, construction, oil and gas and medical equipment”.
The NCC is located on the Bristol and Bath Science Park and hosted and owned by the University of Bristol. It is run by a Steering Board comprising the university and tier 1 members. Peter Chivers is its CEO and Tom Hitchings heads up its business development team. For more information please visit: http://www.nccuk.co.uk. More information on the Technology and Innovation Centres can be found here
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Last updated on Friday 25 November 2011 at 15:06
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