Innovation creates UK jobs

Simon Edmonds discusses the latest news from Innovate UK, including the positive news about a new Lontra manufacturing facility.

Lonta - Lontra’s innovative Blade Compressor is a step change in air compressor technology, best imagined as a piston and cylinder, but with the cylinder wrapped into a toroidal shape. Seventy-five new jobs will be created when the high-tech engineering company builds a new manufacturing facility in Warwickshire.
Lontra’s innovative Blade Compressor is a step change in air compressor technology, best imagined as a piston and cylinder, but with the cylinder wrapped into a toroidal shape. Seventy-five new jobs will be created when the high-tech engineering company builds a new manufacturing facility in Warwickshire.

2018 started with positive news that high-tech engineering company Lontra is to build a new manufacturing facility in Warwickshire for its innovative industrial compressors and create new jobs.

The business developed its ‘Blade Compressor’ – a revolutionary new design for an air compressor – with the support of Innovate UK.

Our support for the development of the Blade Compressor came through a number of projects. This included initial feasibility studies, development of a prototype, and investigating its use in industrial areas including power generation and food processing.

The first part of the new factory is expected to open later this year. It will complement the business’s research and development technology centre at Napton.

Up to £65m will ultimately be invested in the new manufacturing facility, creating 75 new jobs by 2020, more than doubling its workforce.

This excellent news from Lontra is testament to the strengths of UK high-value manufacturing, and in particular the West Midlands region. It illustrates how investing in innovation leads to jobs and growth for the UK economy.

 This article first appeared in the March issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.

Faraday Battery Challenge appointment

We are very pleased that leading automotive industry R&D expert, Tony Harper, is to take up a new role heading up the Faraday Battery Challenge.

Tony Harper - the next head of the Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (from 9 April).
Tony Harper – the next head of the Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Tony Harper is currently director of Engineering Research for Jaguar Land Rover, a role he has held since 2006. He will join UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on 9 April to take up the post.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is a £246m government investment into battery technology through the Industrial Strategy.

It will develop safe, cost-effective, durable, lighter weight, higher performing and recyclable batteries in the UK, which will power the next generation of electric vehicles.

Tony’s long-standing experience and expertise in automotive research and development means he is the ideal candidate to lead the ground-breaking Faraday Battery Challenge.

The next Faraday Battery Challenge competition, funded through the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, closes on 28 March. For more information please see: bit.ly/2oeJZIQ

Case study – Riversimple

I am always keen to highlight some of the excellent examples of companies that Innovate UK funds across the country. We recently published a case study and video on Riversimple, a Welsh automotive company that Innovate UK has supported (see: www.riversimple.com).

The company has been researching new, low-cost volume production methods for its vehicles, via an Innovate UK-funded project with the University of Manchester.

The project developed a carbon-fibre braiding system. This enables lower-cost volume production processes for advanced composite structures for cars, among other benefits.

The company’s business model focuses on keeping the car on the road as long as possible. It will offer customers of its hydrogen fuel cell-powered car a service plan where all fuel and repairs are paid for under a monthly fee.

That means it’s in the company’s interests to make the car as efficient and reliable as possible.

Innovate UK

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