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Coventry's £40million Manufacturing Technology Centre is celebrating a successful first year with news the facility has smashed all its targets – six years earlier than expected.
The pioneering MTC on the Ansty Business Park, which has just signed up its 45th member, has generated £15million in income since opening last year, according to the latest figures.
Employee numbers at the centre have grown to more than 130 engineers, technicians and support staff from just 20 a year ago, including 11 graduate engineers and 13 apprentices.
And according to bosses at the world-class research facility, these targets were not expected to be achieved until 2018.
MTC chief executive, Clive Hickman, said: “The MTC provides a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale, providing a unique opportunity for manufacturers to develop new and innovative processes and technologies in a low risk environment.
“We now have 45 members including ten Tier One members – a target that was originally not expected to be achieved until 2018.
“Our incredible growth from a standing start is based on work generated by our members who have already shown faith in us to deliver new processes for them, as well the support of our research partners and the commitment of MTC employees.
“We have developed a strong aerospace, automotive and ICT expertise and we are active in around half a dozen sectors currently. We expect to move into the defence sector, motorsport and renewables very soon.”
The latest member of the MTC is 3D Scanners (UK), a leading 3D scanning specialist based at Coventry University’s Health Design and Technology Institute. 3D Scanners is the master distributor for Polyworks software in the UK and Ireland.
Other companies to sign up to MTC membership recently include global robotics company Kuka, factory locations systems specialist Ubisense, metalworking fluids specialist Jemtech (UK) and Birmingham-based CADCAM software supplier Delcam.
The Manufacturing Technology Centre opened in 2011 following a £40million cash injection from the West and East Midlands development agencies.
It is a partnership between some of the UK’s major global manufacturers and three universities: Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough as well as TWI Ltd, the operating division of The Welding Institute.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the government’s manufacturing strategy.
The areas of MTC’s technology focus are appropriate to both large and small companies and are applicable across industry sectors. Founder industrial members of the MTC are Rolls-Royce, Aero Engine Controls and Airbus UK and members now include manufacturing companies from multiple sectors.
Tier One members include HP, GKN Aerospace, DMG Machine Tools, Siemens and Sandvik Coromant. Research partners include the University of Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Loughborough University and TWI Ltd.