U.K.'s National Composite Centre opens expanded facilities

The Bristol-based National Composites Centre (NCC) opened its expanded facilities, which feature a new Schuler compression molding machine.

The U.K.'s National Composite Centre (NCC, Bristol, U.K.) on Oct. 30 opened its new manufacturing facilties. The Right Honorable Dr. Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), formally opened the new NCC facilities at the Building the Future for Composites event in Bristol.

Cable was joined by more than 400 guests to see the new facilities at the NCC, funded by a £28 million investment from BIS, via InnovateUK and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The opening included demonstrations of cutting-edge manufacturing capability, including a new Schuler compression molding machine.

Cable said, “The National Composites Centre is leading the way in developing composites, the advanced materials which are crucial to Britain's aerospace and automotive industries amongst others. Britain is historically very good at making scientific discoveries but not turning these ideas into businesses. The NCC is part of the network of Catapult Centres across the country that is helping us to do just that - providing skilled jobs and a stronger economy.”

Peter Chivers, NCC chief executive, said, “The NCC is ‘Building the Future for Composites,’ we’re proud to be recognised as part of the #BuildingBritain campaign. We will work with companies to accelerate innovation and develop people to deliver commercially viable solutions. Thanks to the BIS capital investment, and HVM Catapult Core funding, we have now installed the world’s largest openly accessible high-rate manufacturing press for composites manufacturing. This is aimed at supporting sectors such as automotive, where developing high-rate, low-cost manufacture of composite components is critical. This press is only in its first week of factory trials, yet it is already producing parts within just six minutes.”

Colin Sirett, chair of the NCC’s Steering Board, added, “We are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to see the enhanced facilities and to highlight all that has been achieved here and all that is yet to come. The NCC is a fantastic national asset and is a catalyst for real change in the industry. The center has something for all businesses involved in composites manufacture, across all sectors. We already have commitments from large and medium sized enterprises involved in renewable energy, aerospace, automotive, defence, marine and rail, and we expect this list to grow.”