By Daniel Hunter

Sixteen major new research and development projects that will help to stimulate innovation in the UK’s manufacturing sector are to share government funding of over £6.5 million.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board are to provide grant funding to support the development of new technologies that have the potential to underpin new production processes in a wide range of industrial applications and market sectors.

The focus of the R&D will be on production technologies that can create high value through novel processes, advanced product manufacture, resource efficiency and production techniques.

The projects will also encourage the development of technologies that will facilitate greater environmental sustainability through efficient disposal, recycling or remanufacture of assets at the end of their useful life.

“Investment in cutting edge manufacturing research and the translation of that into commercial applications is the key to economic success. EPSRC has a portfolio of 350 live projects and an investment of £380 million in the manufacturing sector," Professor Dave Delpy, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Chief Executive said.

"The UK is not alone in placing increased importance on advanced manufacturing. Funding projects such as these will help maintain our competitiveness against international peers such as the US and Germany.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “The Technology Strategy Board has an important role to play, through funding for such collaborative research and development and our other activities and initiatives, helping UK businesses to accelerate the development of new equipment, processes and expertise brought about by technology innovation. Manufacturing capability is often built on, and strengthened by such new-found technology and this can be a significant driver of economic growth.”

The projects will lead to the development of technologies such as:

- An innovative method of controlling and optimising car painting processes;
- Autonomous intelligent machining;
- MIG brazing technology for the manufacture of high strength steel car frames;
- The sustainable and resource efficient cutting of titanium;
- An innovative method of controlling and optimising car painting processes.

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