New centre to help UK firms introduce products to market faster

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) - part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult network - has opened its new cutting-edge National Formulation Centre.

The centre for innovation as part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult has opened its new, state-of-the-art National Formulation Centre – image courtesy of CPI.

Formulation involves the creation of multi-component, often multi-phase products, which are abundant across markets such as healthcare, food and drink and personal care.

According to the CPI, for companies developing formulated products, challenges such as up-scaling, advancing technical knowledge and optimising downstream processing can be difficult to overcome and slow down the innovation process.

CPI will guide companies through the steps needed to take their next-generation formulated products to market with reduced risk on their decisions or capital investment plans.

This unique centre will create an environment for innovation that will allow businesses and academic partners to collaborate to develop, prove and commercialise innovative products and processes in formulation science, and be more efficient in the use of resources to generate further value for the UK formulation industry.

The centre is home to world-class laboratories and accompanying expertise focusing on measurement, high-throughput formulation, process chemistry, process technology, complex particles, nanomaterials, composites, and chemistry and dispersions.

The new centre is based at NETPark in County Durham and is funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the North East Growth Deal from the UK Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

‘UK food sector is bigger than aerospace and automotive’

The National Formulation Centre was first announced by former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne in 2014, and broke ground in November 2016. Representatives from global companies including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKleine (GSK), Procter & Gamble (P&G), Unilever, Croda, BASF and BP, alongside many other formulations-based organisations attended the opening launch.

Emma McLeod, research principal at Mondelez International, said: “The food and drink sector is the largest remaining manufacturing sector in the UK – it is bigger than the aerospace and automotive industries combined, and contributes over £28.8bn a year to the UK economy.

“As 97% of companies in the sector are SMEs, the biggest challenge is getting the scale of formulations we need. CPI’s National Formulation Centre is integral to enabling the cross-sector collaboration and access to facilities required help get future food and drink formulations to scale.”

Rebecca Yates, formulated products research manager for Fuels and Lubricants at BP, said: “The potential to participate in a cross-industry solutions for formulated products through CPI enables transformation in finding future practical solutions and ways of working.

“Bringing together the formulation industry and the applications of formulation products will increase the profile of the industry as a whole. It is exciting that CPI enables collaborations across sectors to drive delivery of projects which result in transferable formulation solutions.”

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