Real potential for growth in Bristol as Vince Cable opens National Composites Centre

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The National Composites Centre is a new 8500m2 state-of-the-art building offering laboratory space for SMEs to develop new products. It is also…

The National Composites Centre is a new 8500m2 state-of-the-art building offering laboratory space for SMEs to develop new products. It is also one of seven research and technology facilities which form the High Value Manufacturing technology and innovation centre.

The Bristol city-region is already at the forefront of composites development, both as an international research hub and as a world-leading manufacturing base. The National Composites Centre will capitalise and build on this.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Here in the UK we are very good at invention, but we need to do more to innovate and turn our ideas into products and jobs. I don’t want the UK to miss out on any opportunities to create economic growth through manufacturing.

“This centre will work with our world class universities and international businesses based in the South West and across the UK, to develop and commercialise new technologies. Its work will strengthen our manufacturing sector, exploiting the next generation of advanced composites materials and helping maintain our global lead in this technology area. I look forward to seeing what they produce.”

During the day, the Business Secretary also visited EADS and Airbus at Filton, who have received conditional offers of funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. This £1.4 billion fund is supporting projects that will create jobs in areas dependent on the public sector.

Vince Cable said:

“The South West is becoming a real hub for composites and aerospace manufacturing, and is exactly the sort of place where targeted Government support through schemes like the Regional Growth fund, can have a real benefit.

“By helping companies large and small unlock their potential for growth, we can make sure that we rebalance the economy and emerge with a stronger and more diverse industrial base.”

EADS plan to use the Government support to fund the development and industrialisation of additive layer manufacturing which uses laser or plasma energy beams applied to powdered material to build a 3D product up in layers. During his visit, the Business Secretary saw a bicycle that had been made using the process.

Airbus have received conditional approval for their bid to support the expansion of aircraft wing design, manufacture, assembly and equipping capabilities. Their application supports a wider investment by Airbus in the project.

Notes to editors:

  1. Core activities at the National Composites Centre (NCC) include: * Providing manufacturing facilities at an industrial scale and rapid manufacturing processes capable of building prototypes to validate design concepts. * Being the hub of the UK’s effort to develop and implement rapid composites manufacturing technologies and systems. It will also co-ordinate the regional network of composites centres. * Providing direction and focus for fundamental research and collaborative links with UK universities. * Helping to develop and co-ordinate training to support the skills base necessary for applying advanced and specialist composites technologies. A skills Academy is being established at the NCC.
  2. The NCC received funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which provided £12 million for the centre with the rest coming from SWRDA (£4m) and ERDF (£9m).
  3. The EADS RGF bid is now going through due diligence. On completion, the firm will be awarded funding from the government support.
  4. Airbus was one of the successful bids from the second round of the RGF, announced on October 31. It is in the process of finalising the terms and conditions of the conditional offer, and will then proceed to due diligence.
  5. Bids from the second round, if they pass the necessary legal checks, are expected to start accessing their funding from the spring.
  6. The High Value Manufacturing technology and innovation centre was opened in October 2011. The centre will receive £140 million of funding over six years.
  7. For more information on the technology and innovation centres, visit the Technology Strategy Board website
  8. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

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