Companies that use composite materials could access a portion of £11.7 million to fund projects under a new initiative called the Composites Innovation Cluster, expected to create more than 200 jobs.
The Composites Innovation Cluster, or CiC, will be financed by £23 million, of which more than £11 million will come from the government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.
The project is expected to create over 200 direct jobs, 1,000 indirect jobs and £190 million revenue from new composite projects, the cluster partners claim.
Led by research group Axillium, Cytec Industrial Materials and Composites UK, a national trade association, the CiC aims to deliver 14 integrated capability projects over three years across 27 industry partners.
The Materials Knowledge Transfer Network and National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol, which will host the launch on Wednesday June 26 at 11.00, will support the cluster in its goals. Demand for composite research projects is high – earlier this year, the NCC announced it will need to increase shop floor space and is now building a second facility.
The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative was set up by the government to help British supply chains grow and achieve high quality and delivery standards to encourage new prime suppliers to manufacture in the UK.
ASMCI will contribute £11.7 million and the rest will be matched from private partners, says the CiC, which it hopes will address market failures that challenge the greater adoption of composites in UK markets.
Market failures include the availability of composites skills, training and experience available in British suppliers and prime contractors, the development of new materials and formats for recycling, high performance, rapid processing and handling in the manufacturing cycle and the automated, high-volume, rapid manufacturing and joining methods composite structures in volume.
The CiC aims to form a collaboration of industrial and academic partners, mainly from England, with the support of UK-based primes to “build an intelligent, sustainable, competitive and networked UK composites supply base to enable the design & manufacture of lightweight vehicles, structures & devices.”
Sectors that can benefit from the CiC cluster include aerospace, automotive, energy generation, marine and defence.
Some of the partners signed up to the cluster include ARRK Europe, Aviation Enterprises, Axon Automotive, Cobham Advanced Composites, NetComposites, Sigmatex and Tilsatec (a division of Sirdar Spinning).