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18 March 2011 | PR 11/30

World-class Manufacturing Technology Centre to be part of the first Technology Innovation Centre

The world-class Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), in which Loughborough University is a research partner, is one of a consortium of seven research centres appointed to run the first of the government’s new generation of elite Technology Innovation Centres (TICs).

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP yesterday announced the establishment of the first TIC, which will focus on the area of High Value Manufacturing (HVM) and provide much needed access to technical expertise and state of the art equipment that would normally be out of the reach of individual businesses.

The government’s objective of the TIC is to bridge the gap between blue sky innovation and commercial success and to enable UK industry to take advantage of world class research and become more competitive global markets

Other partners in the TIC are the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Rotherham), Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Rotherham), Advanced Forming Research Centre (University of Strathclyde), National Composite Centre (University of Bristol), Centre for Process Innovation (Wilton & Sedgefield) and the WMG (University of Warwick).

The world class MTC, a £40 million investment by Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), provides a novel model of collaborative partnership between industry and its research partners – the universities of Loughborough, Birmingham and Nottingham, and TWI. MTC’s purpose is to develop innovative ideas from academia and convert them into novel practical manufacturing solutions to improve business performance of UK manufacturers.

MTC specialises in a range of manufacturing processes and activities including net shape manufacture; intelligent automation; advanced tooling and fixturing; high accuracy automated welding, high integrity electronic systems and manufacturing systems modelling and operational effectiveness: providing a unique opportunity for manufacturers to develop new and innovative processes in a low risk environment.

The areas of MTC’s technology focus are appropriate to both large and small companies and are applicable across market sectors. The centre is currently working with companies across a range of industry sectors including aerospace; automotive; rail and ICT.

Commenting on the announcement of the TIC, Dr Clive Hickman, CEO of MTC said he was delighted to have been successful in the bid to become part of the HVM TIC and looked forward to further developing positive relationships with other members of the consortium.

Rob Parkin, Professor of Mechatronics in Loughborough University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, said: “Loughborough is proud to be a partner in the MTC and through that, part of the backbone of the organisations forming the Technology Innovation Centre.

“Our involvement in the MTC and in the EPSRC Centres for Innovative Manufacturing that were announced yesterday underlines Loughborough’s position at the forefront of world-class research strongly linked to technology transfer for the benefit real industrial processes.”

The TIC funding, worth up to £30 million per annum, will allow MTC and the other consortium partners to develop their own expertise, skills and equipment whilst creating a collaborative national network capable of addressing the gamut of high value manufacturing issues.

A significant portion of this funding will be invested in substantial new facilities, to expand current operations in response to current and future industry needs and create research programmes in new technology areas.

Over 10 years, the HVM TIC is expected to lead to approximately £2 billion of additional manufacturing R&D and the creation of up to 3000 new skilled high-value engineering jobs.

The value of collaborative research is becoming increasingly recognised by industry: demonstrated by over 50 major industrial manufacturers and 54 SMEs who supported the consortium’s bid for the HVM TIC. It is acknowledged by these companies that the TIC status will enable the individual centres to collaborate more effectively to meet the complex industrial and commercial challenges facing the UK manufacturing sector.

The TIC will be particularly well placed to serve the needs of the markets forecast to grow significantly over the next decade. These include:

The HVM TIC will increase UK manufacturing competiveness, capability and expertise through access to cutting-edge technologies and will also help support sustainable growth and the move to a low-carbon economy: reducing the use of material and energy during production; and enabling the development of low-carbon and fuel-efficient transport and energy generation technologies.

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Baldwin
Head of PR
Loughborough University
T: 01509 222239
E: H.E.Baldwin@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. The Government has committed to invest over £200 million over the next four years in a network of around six TICs focusing on different areas of technology. The first phase of the TIC programme includes investment in existing centres, but later phases will focus on establishing new centres.

  2. The government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, was given responsibility for establishing and overseeing the network of centres and has ‘fast-tracked the centre for high value manufacturing. Over 140 organisations registered their interest and from these a small number of highly credible parties were asked to submit proposals. These were assessed by an indepdent expert panel and a preferred bidder selected. Further announcements about technology and innovation centres are likely to be made in the coming weeks, with plans for the remaining centres announced progressively later in the year.

  3. The world class Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is a new company that has been established with £40m investment by EMDA and AWM to provide a centre for advanced high value added manufacture.  It is integrated with Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough and TWI. MTCs objective is to take the innovative ideas from academia and convert them into practical manufacturing solutions, effectively bridging the gap between industry and academia. Solutions can be applied to existing product designs or integrated in new product programmes to realise breakthroughs in capital/cost efficiency.

    The Centre will be housed in a 12,000 square metre purpose built facility at Ansty Park, Coventry. MTC has been established via a new model of collaborative partnership between industry, universities and research and technology organisations (RTO), with the University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and TWI Ltd, the operating division of The Welding Institute, as the founding research partners. Founder industrial members of the MTC are Rolls-Royce, Aero Engine Controls and Airbus UK.

    MTC will provide a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale, thus allowing companies to develop their competitiveness in an industrial setting, lowering the associated financial risks.

  4. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
  5. It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
  6. Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.
  7. It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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