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The NCC is the primary UK facility for technology development in advanced composites manufacture; we also act as the hub for the full spectrum of composites activity in the UK. As a key partner of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the NCC also ensures that composite materials and processes are at the heart of the UK’s future manufacturing strategy. The NCC also leads the coordination of a strong network of regional centres of composites excellence, encouraging collaboration, and facilitating access to the particular capabilities and strengths of each centre. The NCC provides direction and focus for fundamental research and collaborative links with UK universities. We also work with our members and partner organisations to develop and coordinate training to support the skills base necessary for applying advanced and specialist composite technologies. The NCC works with research funding bodies and acts as a focal point for composite funding, providing a place where all sectors and companies can benefit from the cross fertilisation of capabilities. We engage closely with industry at all levels, supporting supply chain development, and working closely with trade bodies and sector organisations to advance and inform composites take up and development in every sector.
Other UK Composites Centres of Excellence
The AMRC Composite Centre, part of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, is an open access, industrially oriented research centre, focusing on machining of composites, automation of layup, advanced curing technologies and novel manufacturing processes.
The centre has strong links with academic research at the University of Sheffield through the Composites at Sheffield partnership.
The GKN Aerospace Composites Research Centre on the Isle of Wight carries out major industrial research programs in composites for GKN and its industrial partners, and provides advice and support to the strong regional composite cluster on the island. GKN Aerospace is an NCC Tier One Member and the GKN Aerospace Composites Technology Centre team is located at the NCC. The capabilities are linked to represent activity at both centres.
The Northwest Composites Centre was established by the Universities of Bolton, Lancaster, Liverpool, and Manchester to focus their research capability in composites for industrial partners. The National Composite Certification and Evaluation Facility, also hosted by Manchester University, provides composite testing facilities for certification and validation to aerospace quality standards.
The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering (NIACE) Centre is a purpose built Industrial and Academic collaborative facility dedicated to supporting the development of the Advanced Engineering sector.
NIACE currently supports participants from an extensive array of industrial sectors such as; Aerospace, Automotive, Defence, Environmental, Marine and Renewables perform R&D within a range of areas including Composites, Metallics, Polymers, Design and Automation, by providing access to state of the art facilities; In conjunction with these facilities, NIACE has the capacity to support the co-location of 120 research and technical staff (from industry and academia) together to work collaboratively on developing world class innovative technology solutions, thereby bridging the gap between concept and commercialisation and facilitating continued business development
Composites UK is the approved trade body of the UK composites industry. Their aim is to promote the industry so that it may continue to grow and participate in the increasingly competitive world of global composite production. Their mission is to enhance and promote the safe and effective use of composites.
The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites (CIMComp), led from the University of Nottingham, is a research collaboration between the Universities of Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, and Cranfield. It has established itself as UK's national centre supporting academic research into composites manufacturing. Operating within CIMComp, led from the University of Bristol, the newly established Industrial Doctorate training Centre in Composites manufacture has just received extension funding up to 2022 . It provides opportunities for graduates to further their education in industrial composites manufacturing research, supported by a bespoke taught component delivered in week-long units at the NCC in Bristol and leading to EngD qualification.
The Composites Skills Alliance is a partnership between the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries NSAPI and SEMTA, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies. It brings employers and training providers together to improve composite related skills and training provision within the industry, helping employers to build workforces that will enable them to compete effectively in the emerging composites market.
The Network Group for Composites in Construction is a self-funding member group holding regular meetings to promote examples of best practice using composite materials in the construction sector. Active groups around specific topics include composite reinforcement and renovation of old and damaged structures, composite bridge designs, and innovations using composite materials for future sustainable buildings.
The Composites Leadership Forum (CLF) was formed in 2012 to work with Government and other bodies (including industry, research centers, academia, skills providers) to bring together support for composites industry, ensuring growth and industrial success for the UK. The CLF supports across a wide range of industrial sectors; key industrial sectors, automotive, aerospace, construction, motorsport, rail, renewables and marine, working with members of the sectors’ Leadership Groups. The CLF is currently working to update the 2009 UK Composites Strategy to reflect what has been achieved and to identify the next steps. The key areas are:
- Supply chain
- Skills & knowledge
- Regulation & Standards
- Sustainability & Environment
The Composites Innovation Cluster is a consortium of 25 organisations collaborating under the BIS funded Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative. The cluster successfully bid for over £11m of funding and is running a three year program consisting of 13 sub-projects. It aims to create over 200 jobs and £190bn of business growth by addressing the current market failures in many aspects of composite technology, manufacturing, skills base, and training provision.
The British Composites Society is a division of the IoM3 and is a forum for individual composite professionals to become Members of the Institute and further their Continuous Professional Development towards Chartered Engineer status or other professional qualifications. The BCS holds regular composites events and awards, and members contribute to major conferences and journals worldwide, including the IoM3’s own publication Materials World.
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