A Government and industry funded National Centre for Additive Manufacturing and Aerospace Research Centre was formally opened at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. The Minister for Small Business Industry and Enterprise, Anna Soubry MP, has performed the opening ceremony.
The launch of the National Centre for Net Shape and Additive Manufacturing at the MTC confirms the UK’s commitment in developing this innovative technology. The National Centre aims to develop production-ready additive manufacturing processes, to overcome barriers to wide-scale adoption, and to work on legislative and standardisation issues for this emerging activity.
The Centre has received initial funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK as part of a £2 billion joint Government and industry package to be invested over the next seven years to ensure that UK manufacturing industry retains its competitive edge.
MTC’s chief technologist, David Wimpenny, an acknowledged expert in the field of additive manufacture, says: “It’s no exaggeration to say that almost every field of human endeavour, from how we travel, to what we make and use in everyday life, to what we eat, to how we treat injury or illness is likely to be touched by this revolutionary technology. The strength and integrity of components and products made by additive manufacturing often exceeds that of conventionally produced parts. Complex shapes and structures can be made with no joints or weaknesses. Imagine a bicycle made as a single structure with no welds or brazed joints – just a seamless tubular structure.”
Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, comments as follows: “These ground-breaking facilities will further reinforce the MTC and the HVM Catapult’s capabilities as a world-class high value manufacturing research and technology organisation. Innovate UK is proud to be working with the Catapult to help drive forward national economic growth.”
The Research Centre forms part of the MTC’s research and development campus also including the MTC’s soon-to-be-completed Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre for tackling the shortage in manufacturing skills by training manufacturing engineering apprentices on a sponsored or part-sponsored basis, up-skilling manufacturing engineers, and developing graduate engineers and industrial designers.