Alison, and her colleague Richard Hill, Head of Automotive and Manufacturing at NatWest, joined CEO of WMG Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Archie MacPherson to meet with a series of SMEs that NatWest and WMG are currently supporting on the ‘Create Test Launch’ (CTL) Programme.
The CTL Programme was launched in 2017, with WMG experts providing hands on advice and support with new product development.
The potential of the Programme was recognised by NatWest, who then partnered with WMG to subsidise ten clients through CTL.
At the event Alison, described as ‘the most influential woman in investment banking’, spoke with passion about the need to prioritise innovation in the boardroom and sparked a lively discussion. Key topics included the challenges of balancing operational pressures against the desire to innovate, the crucial role of good leadership, understanding the innovation process, and support for SMEs in an uncertain political and economic climate.
With 50,000 manufacturing clients nationally, NatWest is keen to promote innovation and leadership in industry. Following the visit, WMG will continue to work closely with NatWest to strengthen the UK manufacturing sector.
Tipton-based darkroom specialists Paterson Photographic Ltd have added daylight to darkness in their leading studio and theatre lighting equipment, thanks to LED technology support from WMG at the University of Warwick.
Having developed a global reputation for the quality of their darkroom equipment, they wanted to add to their product offering and re-enter the studio lighting market with a comprehensive range of Continuous Lighting units manufactured in their own UK factory.
Creating a studio lighting range that used LEDs with a colour temperature of 6000K (daylight) rather than the most common methods using fluorescent lighting would provide Paterson Photographic with a technological leap in their products.
The SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) support team at WMG at the University of Warwick provided technical and research support allowing the company to launch the first batch of LED-based daylight products with bespoke coloured filters at the 2018 Photography Show at Birmingham’s NEC. The new products are expected to generate sales in six figures for Paterson over the next year.
Lampposts could be the answer to electric vehicle charging, thanks to help from researchers at WMG, University of Warwick in bringing a new brand of charging points to market – some of which are powering electric vehicles on the University campus.
Startup company char.gy created a new electric vehicle charging point product – which can be easily installed onto existing lampposts, resulting in no requirement to add another power supply or dig up the road or pathway – but it required a bespoke electronic circuit board in order for it to meet to EU standards for public charge points.
The SME support team at WMG helped char.gy rapidly design, build and test a prototype of the new electronics board in order to achieve the certification deadlines.
Because of this, char.gy was able to complete the product to time, and send it for testing – eventually making the charge points ready for public use.
The University of Warwick not only supported the development of char.gy, but has also purchased “char.gys” to charge electric vehicles across the campus – including the University Estates Team’s new fleet of battery-powered Nissan vans.
Purity Brewing Ltd is a small brewer based on a farm between Studley and Great Alne not far from Stratford upon Avon. Sales continue to boom, which means constantly balancing the production of their beers with growing customer demand. The company turned to the SME team in WMG at the University of Warwick to help develop data systems to manage this complex operation while they get on with brewing the beer.
Andrew Thurston, Finance Director at Purity Brewing said:
“The WMG SME Group quickly identified our technical and business challenges. The new production tool will save us money and support Purity with its rapid growth.”
Purity Brewing benefitted from collaborative project support through the WMG SME Group’s Product Innovation Accelerator Project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. This helps manufacturing SMEs within Coventry and Warwickshire and the Black Country are to create, test and develop new products, improve processes and access innovation support.
Arden Fine Foods, a Tile Hill-based firm specialising in sweet and savoury bakery products, were keen on producing the creatively shaped biscuit, but to achieve this vision they needed to engineer a unique shape to cut the biscuit dough.
The challenge required employing a flexible process that could easily be altered when minor shape changes were needed – allowing for design freedom and efficient tool manufacture.
WMG researchers used 3D printing, design and additive layer manufacturing capabilities, to help explore new designs and create dough cutters that were used to trial a number of different biscuit shapes, allowing the company to achieve the perfect shape before investing in a drum to fit onto the dough-depositing machine.
WMG technology helps Midlands cycle company create next generation bicycles for Transport for London
Engineers from WMG, at the University of Warwick, are providing advanced technology support for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Pashley Cycles, England’s longest established bicycle manufacturer based in who, with Serco, who this week won the contract to supply the next generation of bicycles for the Transport for London (TfL) Cycle Hire Scheme.
Under the new contract Serco will introduce bicycles, made by Pashley, with the first ones available at the start of October 2017. The new bicycles, which will be produced in the company’s home town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, used WMG’s technical support and advice to help create cycles that are 10% lighter than the current model and that are designed to give a more manoeuvrable and comfortable riding experience.
Through the WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, based at the University of Warwick, and renowned for its expertise in light weighting, the WMG SME Group provided “additive layer manufacturing” and 3D printing assistance to enable Pashley to develop the new bicycle. This support played a significant part in creating the bike prototype, which in turn helped secure the TfL contract.
In July our SME team welcomed a group of interns as part of the 2017 Summer Internship Programme. They are working with local SMEs on a range of projects covering design and manufacture, tool development, electronics, materials testing and characterisation, and lean methodologies.
Over the past five years, we have delivered 110 internship projects and will deliver another 25 as part of this year’s programme. The interns work alongside our team of experts, giving them valuable work experience, and in turn our SMEs get to work with talented up and coming undergraduates, and access to the state-of-the-art research facilities at the University of Warwick.
If your company is interested in our Internships Programme contact Jen Manerova, Internships Officer, on 02476 523 776 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Part funded by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, WMG’s SME group at the University of Warwick has been delivering this internship scheme since 2010, with over 120 businesses so far benefiting from a range of impactful outcomes.
The scheme encourages students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects to consider careers in the manufacturing supply chain. Coupled with this, it supports SME manufacturers to increase productivity by embedding new technologies and processes into their businesses for minimal cost (£2000 per 8-week project).
On Wednesday (22 March), our SME Group presented ‘Why Innovation Matters’ to SMEs across the Black Country.
The exclusive invite-only event took place at the NatWest Manufacturing Hub in Wolverhampton with speeches from Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking, and Richard Hill Head of Sector Automotive and Manufacturing at NatWest. Archie MacPherson CEO, WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Paul Milne, Innovation Manager in our SME team, represented WMG.
Attendees were given a chance to hear first-hand about our SME Group’s specialist Product Innovation Accelerator Project. The Project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It was developed to help manufacturing SMEs, based in Coventry and Warwickshire and the Black Country, develop new products, processes and access new technology through collaboration.