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Comments from industry wanted on viability of proposed large scale composites structures centre for the Solent Region

As part of a study assessing the need for a 'National Large Structures Composites Centre' facility in the Solent region, The National Composites Centre (NCC) is seeking views on the viability of such a centre, and is inviting companies and individuals with an interest in large composites structures to a briefing event on 12 June in London.

The National Composites Centre (NCC), in conjunction with the University of Southampton, Solent LEP and partners, is investigating the need for a centre to research and develop the use of advanced materials in the manufacture of large structures needed by sectors such as marine, oil and gas and construction.

The study follows a Solent Maritime Forum report which cited a national need for a 'Large Structures Composites Centre', The NCC consultation and consulatation briefing event is designed to scope the demand for a satellite NCC facility in the area, in addition to its main location at Bristol & Bath Science Park.

 

Open to all sectors, including Construction and Transport

The draft Solent LEP Growth Plan published in January 2014 highlighted as one of its key proposals the creation of a large Composites Centre in the Solent Region aimed largely at the Marine and Renewables Sector. Refinement of the proposal during Q1 2014 resulted in a more detailed proposal to establish a 'National Large Structures Composites Centre' (NLSCC) which would be open to all sectors, including Construction and Transport.

A plan to foster growth in the marine and maritime industry in the Solent was commissioned by Michael Fallon MP following the decision by BAE Systems to end shipbuilding operations in Portsmouth. ‘Transforming Solent’. Among a number of recommendations was the establishment of a national Large Structures Composites Centre in that region be investigated in partnership with local Universities including Southampton and regulators. The draft Solent LEP Growth Plan published in January 2014 highlighted as one of its key proposals the creation of such a centre in the Solent Region aimed largely at the marine and renewables sectors.

The Composites Leadership Forum (CLF) representing composites manufacturing companies, across the full spectrum of the UK’s manufacturing sectors are currently generating a new UK Composites Strategy. This will be published later this year and, amongst the findings emerging from this work, is a gap in UK capability to meet the potential demand for development of large composite structures from the marine, oil and gas, construction, renewable energy and rail sectors among others.

 

Two month study now welcoming views

Peter Chivers, NCC Chief Executive said, “The NCC wants to work with industry, industry trade bodies, trade regulators and government. We will focus on whether there are specific issues around test facilities for large composite structures and knowledge transfer requirements for training, re-skilling and up-skilling people transferring from other disciplines to advanced composites applications. We’re looking for involvement from companies who wish to look at product and process development, optimisation, and validation. We need industry input to establish the demand and help specify the solution.”

The study is being conducted between May and July 2014.

Companies and individuals with an interest in large composites structures, please contact Graham Harrison at: consult@nccuk.com

To receive an invitation to the Consultation Briefing Event 3.00pm 12 June (Provisional time), to be held at Department of BIS, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET, contact: Funding & Partnerships Manager Graham Harrison 07551151921 (or PR & Comms Officer, Mary Page: mary.page@nccuk.com 07530366482 from 5 June).

National Composites Centre supports UK industry to deploy composites solutions

The National Composites Centre supports UK industry to rapidly deploy innovative and cost-effective composites solutions, working with academics, engineers and training providers in industrial-scale Research, Technology and Manufacturing facilities.

The NCC is a £25m investment supported by: the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (£12m); the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) (£4m); and £9m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It is owned and hosted by the University of Bristol. The Government announced a further £28m in the 2012 Autumn Statement for the expansion of the NCC. The NCC is a partner of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

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