£20m for UK manufacturing

20 August 2008

In-process sensing technology and a technology development involving ABB Robotics are just two of twenty-one UK based research and development projects, set to receive £20 million of government investment. The cash will be provided by the Technology Strategy Board and is hoped to help UK companies develop their international competitiveness.

£20 million of investment will be put towards innovation and technology development in UK manufacturing
£20 million of investment will be put towards innovation and technology development in UK manufacturing

One project aims to develop a new technology, LyoDEA, and new knowledge for the development, optimisation and control of robust freeze-drying cycles. Partners are GEA Process Engineering, AstraZeneca PLC, De Montfort University and Solartron Analytical.

ABB Robotics is involved in a project titled Rubber Product Enhanced Recovery Technology (RuPERT) by water jet cutting and microwave de-vulcanisation, that will also receive a chunk of the funding.

RuPERT will integrate two technologies hoped to create a UK market worth over £100 million a year. The desired outcome is to produce products that can be recycled indefinitely from manufacture, through a service life and back to the raw processing stage with minimal input of imported virgin materials.

Other partners involved in the project are Symphony Energy, ARTIS Credowan, Hughes Pumps and Imperial College London.

‘Manufacturing is a vital sector of the UK economy, accounting for over 50 per cent of our exports. And the UK is the world’s sixth biggest manufacturer,’ Ian Pearson, Science and Innovation Minister, said. ‘Given the UK’s high-wage economy, future productivity and global competitiveness depend upon our ability to develop high-quality, clever technology and products.

‘Major investment in innovative research and development, such as the twenty million pounds announced today, will enable us to maintain and improve the quality of the UK’s manufacturing capability in key areas such as aerospace, healthcare, energy and recycling.’

Chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray, said: ‘There are some great examples of manufacturing technologies and innovation happening here in the UK.’

‘These successful projects reflect the changing nature of manufacturing and we are investing in the UK to enable it to maintain its place as one of the world's leading manufacturing locations,’ he said.

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest £19 million in these projects, while the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is to support four of the projects with a further £1 million investment. Taking into account the matched contributions from the private sector businesses involved, the total value of the research and development projects is in excess of £40 million.

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