A technical support facility has secured funding to support the north east’s low carbon energy manufacturing sector and increase the turnover of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by £6m.
The TWI’s Technology Centre in Middlesbrough has received £1.67m of funding from regional development agency One North East to extend the Renewable Energy Manufacturing Technology (REMTEC) initiative and increase the competitiveness of companies in the region.
Under the scheme, TWI, a global welding and joining company, will open its centre to local SMEs to improve their manufacturing processes. The focus of the scheme will be on the use of advanced materials and joining technologies for the production of new products and processes that increase competitiveness.
The project will also attempt to identify opportunities for advanced fabrication of wind towers and foundations, composite fabrication for large wind turbine blades, combustion component coatings for biomass and dual-fired plants, solar energy systems and anti-fouling coating development.
Terry O’Neill, associate director at TWI, said: ‘We will give regional businesses access to TWI’s world-class and leading-edge fabrication technologies to enable them to adopt new design and manufacturing methods for the low carbon energy sector, particularly in areas such as offshore wind power.
‘We have a waiting list of SMEs looking for TWI technology transfer assistance. TWI experts will help these companies with product and process reviews to identify opportunities, exploit innovation and resolve technical problems. We will follow these up with direct support to explore the feasibility of new ideas and the application of alternative technologies and solutions.
‘Companies using this service will benefit from sound technical assistance, effective testing and reports from the accepted world-leading authority in the area of materials joining technology – none of which would normally be readily available to them.’
The project is expected to create up to 90 new jobs and secure 246 others in regional SMEs. The ERDF claims that this will generate £6.24m in turnover and protect existing sector turnover by £16.4m.
The scheme is being part financed by £1m from the European Regional Development Fund 2017-13, matched by £670,000 from One North East’s Single Programme. Contributions from participating SMEs make up the remainder of the £2m initiative.