Centre for innovative manufacture launched in the UK

19 July 2011

The first national EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing has been launched, following the announcement in March of a £45m investment for nine national Centre’s for Innovative Manufacturing.

The first of nine national Centres for Innovative Manufacturing in the UK has been launched officially at Cranfield University. The new Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services is sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and will be run as a collaborative initiative between Cranfield and Durham Universities, supported by four core industry partners - BAE Systems, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce and the Ministry of Defence - and 13 additional industry partners.

The centre aims to combine innovative technology and engineering knowledge, supported by the partner organisations, to tackle some of the major long-term research challenges in through-life engineering services.

Professor Rajkumar Roy, director of the new Centre and head of the Manufacturing Department at Cranfield University, hosted the launch event, which included presentations demonstrating the value of through-life engineering services in delivering reliable, competitive, high value products with the lowest life-cycle cost.

Professor Roy said: “The launch of this new centre comes at a crucial time for the manufacturing industry in the UK, which is experiencing real opportunity for growth and change. The provision of high-value services will become a major priority for UK companies in the next five years.

However, there is limited feedback from the service phase to design and manufacturing, often resulting in maintenance problems, support issues and unforeseen costs. The centre’s remit is to address this challenge to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the manufacturing industry.”

Five initial projects at the centre have a funding commitment and will focus on current and future problems indentified by industry partners as being key to long-term capability, including cross-sector challenges in through-life engineering services; reduction of ‘no fault found’ situations through system design; characterisation of in-service component feedback; improvement of the system design process; and self-healing technologies for electronic and mechanical components and subsystems.

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