While we tend to cover private sector more often, government investment in various manufacturing processes is a crucial part of the additive manufacturing world. Multiple programs put up investment in 3D printing and this also appears to be the case in Britain. The UK has been planning to boost its own manufacturing capabilities as part of their Catapult program. As part of the program the government will invest £780 million in multiple laboratories across England, Scotland and Wales.
Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), among others, will benefit from Catapult. All in all, the investment will run between 12 different companies procuring five years of innovation and R&D in high-growth areas of the UK economy. The investment is also going to the Satellite Applications Catapult and manufacturing programs including hybrid printing processes.
The purpose of the program, as one would expect, is to advance the capabilities of the domestic market. Seeing as how many international deals might suffer in the wake of Brexit and with austerity looming, these sorts of programs can be crucial. The labs that benefit from the funding also contain other start-ups and firms aside from the main catapults.
As a part of these same programs the chancellor of the exchequer has also opened up an incubator with MTC. The lab will research additive manufacturing, automation and augmented reality among other technologies. Additionally, it will provide incubation cells to a whole host of start-ups and manufacturing firms within the premises.
The Catapult Program
Catapult’s own press release states:
Over the next five years, the £780m investment will allow the Catapult network to help thousands of businesses across the UK conduct cutting-edge R&D and train hundreds of apprentices and doctoral students in technical skills in high-demand from industry. This will be alongside investment from the industry, which is expected to be well over £1.5bn in R&D over the next five years.
The Catapult Program houses a ton of different industries from biotech to manufacturing. As a result, the investment will be spread out across a wide swathe of functionalities. While the precise divisions are unknown, MTC, AMRC and the Warwick Manufacturing Group will all benefit in some capacity. The investment will allow the “catapults” to help businesses all across the UK as well.
Catapult’s high value manufacturing department has only been around for 6 years but the government is putting quite some faith into it. With the 5-year funding package, they can expand beyond their current range and research into the newest processes available. The MTC labs can serve as a de-risked area for start-ups to take bold risks and innovative leaps forward. The UK government are hopeful for a way forward using advanced manufacturing systems.
Featured image retrieved from Catapult Website.