UK Metals SMEs to be supported by Centre for Process Innovation CPI

18 December 2015

Electroarc furnace at metallurgical plant

Electroarc furnace at metallurgical plant

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), will be running an innovation support programme aimed specifically at small and medium sized businesses operating across the UK Metals processing supply chain. This programme is in line with the recently published ‘Vision 2030, The UK Metals Industry’s New Strategic Approach’, and will enable companies to respond to the changing business environment caused by the recent downturn in the Steel sector.

The £400,000 programme, which is being funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills through Innovate UK will focus on; the identification of investment opportunities and dissemination of innovation best practice, the development of new business plans for small and medium sized businesses in the sector, and the enabling of knowledge sharing and the formation of new business partnerships through the creation of collaborative communities of practice.

The metals and materials manufacturing industries in the UK are evolving with lower levels of primary production, causing a major rethink of the UK based supply chain. This could trigger opportunities for the adoption and implementation of the next generation of processes and manufacturing technologies, if related best practices are transferred from other industries, such as the process and chemical sector.

CPI’s business support tool, The Innovation Integrator®, will be used to analyse the specific needs of an individual business, identifying opportunities and recommendations for future success in a time when many of these businesses face a fragile trading environment. CPI’s experience shows that this systematic approach allows partners to implement value creating plans quicker and with less risk.

CPI will leverage the existing relationships with the Materials Processing Institute (MPI) and other Centres in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which will supply much of the on the ground delivery resource. Importantly, this programme aims to improve innovation processes and give participating companies the opportunity to develop new projects that will prepare them for the future.

Graham Hillier, Director of Strategy and Futures at CPI said; “CPI’s specialist expertise has been proven, repeatedly, within multiple sectors, from start-ups through to large corporations. We understand what is needed for successful innovation to take place at each technology development stage; invention, innovation and commercialisation. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work within the UK Metals industry to use our knowledge and experience to help stimulate even more innovation”.

“Innovation will be key to securing a more sustainable future for our metals industries which is why the government is backing the sector with this scheme. I am pleased this funding is going to CPI which is based in Redcar, following the recent closure of the steelworks there, and hope it can help the supply chain there and throughout the UK.”
Business Minister, Anna Soubry

Linda Edworthy, Director of Strategy and Investment at Tees Valley Unlimited said; “Tees Valley Unlimited has recently published its Innovation Strategy in which we highlight the area’s strong focus on innovation and invention and today’s announcement follows Tees Valley recently being named as one of the country’s best performing areas in terms of support for sector modernisation. We are delighted LEP stakeholders, CPI – and their work alongside MPI – has been recognised for its ingenuity and collaboration and see this support programme as key to the ongoing growth and development of our highly skilled and globally impactful industries.”

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Officer of the Materials Processing Institute said; “The availability of support to help SMEs in the metals sector to access innovation support from the Materials Processing Institute and CPI is welcome.  The sector has been hit hard in recent months, but by accelerating product improvements, process developments and reducing costs we can help businesses in the sector to grow and find new markets.”

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