Head of Innovate UK, Dr Ruth McKernan received her first experience of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) this week as part of a visit organised by Coventry University.
McKernan was given a guided tour of AME’s advanced manufacturing hub by Professor Carl Perrin and met students, lecturers and engineers who work at the UK’s first ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’.
High on the agenda was the UK’s approach to tackling future innovation and technology challenges and what more can be done to commercialise R&D and embrace Industry 4.0.
As part of the tour, she was also presented with the institute’s pioneering lightweight exhaust system for Aston Martin, which has been proven to reduce weight by 50%, yet still offers dynamic acoustic and handling performance.
Backed by £180,000 funding from Innovate UK, AME is currently developing a low to medium volume production process that will see these systems made by Unipart in Coventry and fitted to vehicles from the summer.
Editor of The Manufacturer, Callum Bentley recently had the chance to sit down with Innovate UK’s new CEO, Dr Ruth McKernan, where the two spoke about the potential to grow the small, micro and medium-sized UK businesses to become the next economic powerhouse for Britain.
Perrin explained: “We were delighted to showcase our capabilities to Ruth and, more importantly, the difference her organisation is making to us achieving some of our early R&D goals”
“The UK comes up with some great ideas, but often the innovation is commercialised by companies in other countries. One of AME’s roles – ably supported by funders like Innovate UK – is to make sure we deliver solutions that make our country more competitive.”
He continued: “We are also receiving support for two projects with Jaguar Land Rover, designed to improve acoustic performance and take weight out of an exhaust system.”
Following her visit to the Institute, McKernan spent time at two spin-out companies from Coventry University – InoCardia, a specialist in testing drugs for cancer treatments, and Serious Games International, which showcased how you can use simulation techniques used in games to solve industrial solutions.
Paul Noon OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Enterprise and Innovation, concluded: “The three organisations we chose to showcase highlighted the diversity of innovations we are trying to cultivate.
“Coventry University is committed to creating ‘knowledge’ and turning it into successful businesses.”