The metal manufacturing sector has increased its investment in collaboration and innovation despite the impact of the recession, according to a report from Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP).
The report shows that during 2008-09, the number of KTP projects involving metal manufacturers had increased in comparison with the previous year.
The news follows the publication of manufacturing organisation EEF’s recent annual Innovation Monitor survey, which revealed that 59 per cent of manufacturing companies have plans to introduce product innovations over the next three years.
The results from the KTP report also show that, on average, businesses stand to benefit from an overall increase in annual profit before tax of more than £126m through the KTP – £43m more than in 2007-08.
EEF senior economist Jeegar Kakkad said: ‘It is encouraging to see that, over the past year, metals manufacturers have increased their investment in innovation. More manufacturers are collaborating with universities, drawing on their technical expertise to get innovations to market quickly.
‘The shorter KTPs were undoubtedly a key part to greater collaboration between manufacturers and academics, providing much needed flexibility during the downturn and giving them an advantage during the recovery.’
Casting manufacturer The Stockton Casting Company embarked on a KTP project with Teesside University, which saw the business upgrade its efficiencies by implementing an improved operational system and castings design capability to achieve sustainable capacity.
Funding organisations also continue to see the value of innovative projects, with the report noting an increase of almost 30 per cent in grant support committed to new KTP projects during the course of the year.