The University of Birmingham is offering advanced manufacturing businesses the opportunity to investigate the hidden make up of materials used during production and is providing a cost effective method of research and development.
With increasing numbers of West Midland’s manufacturing companies venturing into advanced engineering and embarking upon R&D projects, the support, consisting of open days, workshops and more involved collaborative projects, offered by the European Regional Development-funded CHART project at the University of Birmingham is proving invaluable.
Professor Ian Jones, of the University of Birmingham and CHART project, commented: “The CHART project is assisting West Midland’s manufacturing SMEs to refine and improve their R&D work, as well as offering an insight into working with the University.
“It has been boosting efficiency and innovation across the region. We are looking forward to supporting many more manufacturing SMEs.”
CHART has already supported a number of local SMEs with their R&D work, for example with Reynolds Technology.
Reynolds Technology Ltd is a West Midlands SME that develops metallic materials for use on tubular structures. Keith Noronha, managing director of Reynolds Technology, said: “In order to expand the choice for our customers, we wanted to get data that indicated whether our proposal…would offer useful mechanical properties.
“The initial report from the CHART project is very helpful and was a key part of our decision to move the project to the next stage; full scale prototyping and testing. Thanks to the CHART project, we were able to access the high level knowledge of the staff and facilities at the University of Birmingham and the project was carried out within a short timespan that fits well with our commercial requirements.”
Max Turner, CHART business engagement manager, of the University of Birmingham, added: “The CHART project is perfectly placed to assist manufacturing SMEs who are looking to advance their business, but lack the equipment or technical expertise to do so. Through the CHART project, SMEs can access advice, expertise and world class equipment, all at a subsidy.”
The CHART project is hosting a number of introductory ‘open days’ in the coming months that are ideal for West Midlands SMEs from all sectors to attend. These open days offer the opportunity to see the project equipment in action as well as discuss any challenges with our resident academics and technicians.
Eley, a globally renowned sporting ammunitions company based in the West Midlands, has always been at the forefront of the sporting ammunitions industry. John Smith, continuous improvement chemist at Eley, attended a CHART open day as part of the company’s drive for innovation and continuous product development.
Eley attended the CHART project open day as they saw it as an opportunity to see techniques and procedures which a small but innovative company could not justify and which might prove beneficial in solving development and production issues.
John Smith of Eley commented: “The open day was an opportunity not to be missed by small businesses as the open discussion with both academics and other business attendees was particularly useful, demonstrations and talks around the different equipment, techniques and methodologies opened up ideas for using the chart Equipment and expertise in practical ways for innovation and continuous improvement”.
Since attending the open day Eley has returned for evaluation and testing on a number of occasions and the results have contributed to the solution of problems. New relationships have been formed and will continue to be developed.