Dick Elsy, Chief Executive Officer of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, launched the 2016-17 Annual Review at the House of Commons on the 21st June 2017. The event, which celebrated our success and launched the review, was attended by over 100 MPs, Peers and Stakeholders.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Minister, Lord Prior, addressed the parliamentary event, saying that he was totally convinced of the HVM Catapult and its seven centres across the UK. “I don’t need any persuasion to support what you are doing, if I have a criticism of our Catapults, it is that they are not ten times bigger”
The success of the HVM Catapult is best illustrated by the level of industry buy-in and engagement, which consistently exceeds expectations. With an order book of over £205m (of which £137m is collaborative R&D), over 3,387 customers (over 40% of whom are SMEs) in 2016-17, and over 2,114 staff across seven centres, the HVM Catapult has grown as the go-to-place for advanced manufacturing technology innovation in the UK.
Dick Elsy added that “An independent survey highlighted that for every £1 of government core funding that we have had over the last 5 years we have locked £15 into the UK economy”.
Lord Prior suggested: “Our productivity is woefully low. The work the HVM has done to start to address that catastrophic problem is fantastic”. Mr Elsy gave two examples of this: “Impact is significantly reducing machining times by 50% for complicated aerospace components in effect increasing productivity by 50% ensuring that those components stay in the UK because it is the most cost-effective place to make them, driven by the technology. Impact is bringing home the carbon fibre chassis of McLaren sports cars currently made in Austria as a result of the technology provided to improve the manufacturing process at the AMRC in Sheffield”
He added that SMMT figures recently highlighted that 44% of car components used in the UK are now made here too. He concluded that the Catapult had “Created a lasting capability which is a big economic advantage for the UK”.
Harry Swan, Managing Director of Thomas Swan, a chemicals manufacturer in the North East, spoke about the help his firm had received when it had needed it most in developing Graphene production:
“The Centre for Process Innovation [one of the HVM Catapult centres] helped de-risked the technology for us” he said which enabled him to take on new machinery knowing it would work. His company now produces up to 25 tonnes of high purity graphene per year – now one of the few producers in the world. He said he sought help from the HVM Catapult and it was provided.
“I don’t need any persuasion to support what you are doing, if I have a criticism of our Catapults, it is that they are not ten times bigger”
Lord Prior, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy