World class additive manufacturing in the West Midlands targeted

Posted on 28 May 2013 by The Manufacturer

Three engineers have launched a new company aimed at creating a world class centre for additive manufacturing in the West Midlands.

Innovate 2 Make (i2M), dedicated to designing and manufacturing the next generation of components for the aerospace, automotive, motorsport and medical sectors, was set up by senior industry men Ian Campbell, Mike Kelly and Dr Bruno Le Razer.

The trio have invested £750,000 into the Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, premises and have also acquired EOS M280 400 watt laser melting platform, the latest in additive manufacturing technology, to enhance operations.

Ian Campbell, whose background includes air weapons in aerospace, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), IBM, TWR and Arrows F1, feels additive manufacturing can revolutionise the designing and making process.

He said: “The West Midlands has been at the forefront of industry for centuries and there’s no reason why it can’t become the technical centre of excellence in additive manufacturing in the coming years.”

Campbell added that due to innovations in the sector, i2M can now manufacture angles and shapes that would be deemed impossible just a few years ago.

i2M, which also has projects with jewellery manufacturers and fashion houses, plans to invest in an additional laser machine by the end of the year with hopes of increasing job numbers as a result.

It is also currently in talks with a number of blue chip clients about the possibility of re-designing critical components, making them lighter, more cost effective and enhancing long-term performance.

Mike Kelly, who has had a long-term involvement in additive manufacturing, said: “This is a great opportunity and a major challenge all rolled into one.

“At the moment additive manufacturing is a lot like CNC machining was in its infancy; industry knew it was the next big thing, but had to be convinced they could achieve the control and repeatable quality we now take for granted today.”