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NETWORKS T h e S c i e n c e E n g i n e e r i n g & Te c h n o l o g y M a g a z i n e


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FOREWORD AS the nights draw in and temperatures cool, the County Durham innovation sector is set to be warmed by brighter times. Autumn is the season that draws us together and this is never more true in science and technology than when the air is rich with opportunity. Baffled by what I’m talking about? Fear not, as this month’s edition of Networks promises enlightenment on three counts. November heralds the return of the annual national photovoltaics conference, Solar Flair – on this occasion, being held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Durham. It is also the month in which Durham’s dark nights will spring to life as the remarkable Lumiere light festival returns to the city. And, as if that isn’t enough, this edition of the magazine also highlights illumination of a different kind courtesy of the new NETPark Affinity programme. Solar Flair (see pgs 9-10) has proved extremely popular right from the outset and this year boasts arguably our best line-up yet. Conference attendees will be treated to speakers from both sides of the innovation coin, with senior technological innovators sharing a stage with major names in the commercialisation of photovoltaics including Bosch Solar Energy AG and the European Space Agency. The last time Lumiere visited Durham’s fair streets it was an incredible success. Some 75,000 people visited the city during the four-night spectacular which featured an array of eye-catching, large-scale lighting installations. NETPark’s community engagement programme, Project C, is working with Durham University’s Science Outreach Team at this year’s event. A series of workshops, family events and community activities based on the theme of the ‘Science & Art of Light’ will bring an added dimension to the Lumiere programme. In addition, Thorn Lighting, which is developing its next generation lighting at PETEC on NETPark, will be hosting a special day of science activities for local schools at its Lighting Academy in Spennymoor as part of its sponsorship of Lumiere. Read all about it on page 8. To complete the theme of enlightenment in this month’s Networks, you will also find a feature on the new Affinity programme at NETPark. We wanted to inject a higher level of insight and professional support to companies that are part of the online community at NETPark Net. Affinity will bring together a range of leading professional service providers together under one virtual roof to provide support and expertise to NETPark Net members. There is a significant commitment on Affinity members to be proactive which will prove an attractive addition to the NETPark Net offering. You can find out more on page 7. Happy reading, Stewart Watkins Managing Director, County Durham Development Company (CDDC) CDDC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Durham County Council, encourages innovation and strategic investment in the County and is driving the development of the North East Technology Park (NETPark) and the virtual innovation environment NETPark Net.

NETWorks is published by Distinctive Publishing Ltd, Aidan House, Sunderland Road, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 3HU Telephone 0845 884 2385 Managing Director John Neilson Creative Director Martin Williamson For all enquiries including editorial, subscription and advertising please contact Distinctive Publishing. With thanks to all our contributors.


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Where brilliant ideas grow.

The NETPark Incubator doesn’t just provide space to work, it provides a total-support environment in which science and technology businesses can develop and grow. If your business is based on the research, design and development of new technologies, and displays the potential and ambition for growth through innovation, then why not join us? If you have a product to develop, we’ll help you turn it into a business. To find out more, visit us at: Or contact us at: The NETPark Incubator, Thomas Wright Way, Sedgefield, County Durham TS21 3FD


NETPark enquiries: +44 (0)1740 625180 NETPark is developed by:

INCUBATOR where business grows

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NEWS & EVENTS... NOT TO BE MISSED TechWorld Event – 16-17th November 2011 The Excel Centre, London UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) provides expert trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies to grow their business overseas. We work with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets. Techworld, now in its 6th successful year is the largest technology event held by UKTI, dedicated to bringing you the highest quality audience at one event, under one roof. This year’s event will bring together 500 international buyers and decision makers, 130 exhibitors, over 1000 British technology companies, 60 high calibre speakers and ministers and 400 entrepreneurs. To find out more information, please visit Solar Flair 11 – 23rd – 24th November 2011 Radisson Blu Hotel, Durham Solar Flair 11 – the National Photovoltaic Conference provides a market view of the solar and photovoltaics sector, considers new technologies, opportunities on offer to energy specialists & consultants, architects, builders, manufacturers, high tech startups and many more. Following the success of previous Solar Flair events, we have attracted an international speaker list including the European Space Agency, Bosch and Solar Power Portal. For full details or to register for this event please visit or call 01740 625 180. Meet International Buyers and Decision Makers at Autosport International 2012 - 12-13th January 2012, NEC, Birmingham Expand your international business at Autosport International 2012. UK Trade & Investment, the Government organisation which supports UK companies trading internationally, is again providing the opportunity to meet with overseas buyers and decision makers as part of their International Business Exchange (UKTI-IBEX) over two days of the show. Buyers covering every level of motor racing from F1 to Karting will participate in this service which is free to UK companies. Last year 24 international buyers from markets including USA, Brazil, Germany, Sweden and Portugal took part. For more information about the event contact: or call 0141 228 3607 Breakfast Briefings Breakfast Networking event for all. We love the opportunity to network with our science, engineering, and technology-based companies. The ultimate aim is to create the ideal environment for all organisations to work collaboratively, develop new ideas and commercialise cutting-edge technologies. We should do this

over breakfast! These briefings are at NETPark, Sedgefield, from 8.00am until 9.30am and are the first Tuesday of every month. This event is free-of-charge, all welcome. Please email to book your place. NETPark company Reinnervate scoops an ‘Oscar for innovation’ Reinnervate, an innovative biotechnology company founded by Professor Stefan Przyborski of Durham University’s School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, has won a major international research and development award at the prestigious Annual R&D 100 Awards. The company’s breakthrough 3D cell structure technology, alvetex®, was chosen by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine to be among the hundred most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year. The award was presented to reinnervate at a special Gala Awards Banquet on October 13, at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel, SeaWorld, Florida, USA. See feature on page 41. Huge UK investment in graphene will pay off, says Nobel prizewinner The UK government has announced an investment of £50m to create a research hub to support the commercialisation of the wonder material, the aim being to manufacture products in the UK. Graphene – a sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice – is set to revolutionise our lives. It has been described as tougher than diamond, yet it can stretch like rubber. It can conduct electricity a million times more efficiently than copper, but it is more transparent to visible light than any other conductor. It is then easy to see why scientists describe graphene as the “miracle material” of the 21st Century when you look at how many ways it could be applied. Last year a team from the University of Manchester won the Nobel prize for physics for isolating and measuring the properties of graphene. Graphene even has a North East presence with Durham Graphene Science, a research and development company which specialises in the synthesis of graphene, using a unique and scalable “bottom-up” approach to preparing the material. Durham Graphene Science is part of the NETPark community. For further information, please visit A year on, the government has woken up to the potential of a substance which scientists and engineers say could make everything from touchscreens to plastics cheaper and more efficient. See feature on page 11.


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CSI: Teesside For Dr Tim Thompson, Teesside University’s Reader in Biological and Forensic Anthropology, innovative techniques like those seen on the hit television show CSI are closer to reality than you may think. So much so that he has recently launched his own company, Anthronomics, to help bring some of this new technology to life. “In much forensic anthropological work, we’re still using pen, paper and stills photography for casework, research and teaching. My idea was to digitalise as much of the process as possible and create 3D models from scans of the bones,” said Tim. “Bones are actually extremely difficult to scan. You’re dealing with holes and pores, lumps and ridges and a combination of organic and inorganic materials. It’s not as easy as you might think.” Two sister projects, the Science 2 Business (S2B) Hub and Teesside Manufacturing Centre, collaborated with Tim to turn his vision into reality. Roy Huzzard, Manager of the S2B Hub, which is part-funded by the ERDF, said, “The S2B Hub helped identify the skills and resources that need to come together for companies like Anthronomics to innovate.” Tim recently held his first short course using the new models and scanning equipment, with a mix of students from Teesside, Durham, York and Italy.

learn, allowing bones that are usually hard to replicate – like the pelvis – to become an integral part of study.” The first products to be promoted are the laser scans and 3D models, although plans are in place to develop a much wider range of associated products. With the support of a grant from the North East England Investment Centre, Tim has also developed a bespoke 3D viewer in collaboration with Rubix Studios, a start-up company based in an incubator unit at Teesside University. “By importing bone data straight into the software, we hope to give much quicker information to people who aren’t trained forensic anthropologists about the sex, age and height of the body. This will help the police determine a recent murder victim or someone who died centuries ago,” said Tim. Diseased bones can also be replicated through the software and printed bones can be colour-coded to indicate core strength, an attribute not available in the market at present. “The combination of 3D modelling and real replica structures helps give students a much better sense of the real skeleton and has a real wow factor to it.” For more information about Dr Tim Thompson’s work or the S2B Hub, email or call 01642 738200.

Tim was delighted with the results. “This provides a very different way of teaching and is very intuitive. Using such digital technology to improve the study of bones and structures also helps create a much more ‘real’ environment for people to


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MEETING THE CHALLENGE IN THE RENEWABLES MARKET The big challenge for the renewables industry is persuading the wider public that green technologies truly does represent the future for the UK.

from April to June 2011, renewable energy sources, including wind, supplied 9.6% of the UK’s electricity, – up from 6.3% in the same quarter in 2010.

Although there are many technologies involved, wind is still seen as a key sector as the green revolution gathers pace. That is why figures which came out at the end of September were so important because they showed that renewables had reached a record high, providing nearly 10% of UK’s electricity.

The report attributes the 50% rise to higher wind speeds and the industry’s increased capacity to generate clean electricity. Nearly half the renewable electricity produced in this period came from wind (46.4%).

The statistics, released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, showed: n A 120% increase in electricity from wind compared to a year ago n 50% rise overall in electricity from renewables n Nearly half of all renewable electricity comes from wind alone

The figures were welcomed by RenewableUK, the country’s largest renewable energy trade association, which said they showed that

Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, said “We’ve reached a historic high, with renewable energy now providing almost 10% of the UK’s electricity. “These statistics show that the wind industry making a tremendous contribution to the nation’s energy supply. Wind is now providing enough power to supply nearly three and a quarter million homes in the UK. The amount of wind can of course vary from month to month, but year on year, we can expect the role of wind energy to continue to grow, providing us with a secure alternative to expensive fossil fuel imports.


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“This will stabilise energy prices, as well as generating tens of thousands of jobs, and helping us to build a new low carbon economy”. The statistics followed one from National Grid figures showing that a record-breaking amount of electricity was generated by wind turbines on Tuesday September 6. It was the first time the 3,000 megawatt milestone has been achieved by wind for the National Grid. At the peak time of 11.58am on the Tuesday, wind power generation reached 3,021 megawatts. At that point in the day, wind power was supplying 7.2% of the total amount of electricity on the Grid and the performance broke the previous record set on 15th January this year of 2,800 megawatts. The windy conditions were caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene and RenewableUK said that National Grid’s overall statistics are even more impressive. National Grid says the actual amount of electricity generated during this period by wind was even

higher because a third of all wind turbine capacity in the UK (32%) is connected directly to local electricity networks, and not to the Grid. Once that extra 1,500 megawatts are taken into account, the amount of electricity being generated reached 4,500 megawatts, supplying more than 10% of the UK’s electricity needs. RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said: “These record-breaking figures show that wind energy is providing everincreasing amounts of electricity to homes and businesses across the country. It makes a strong case for installing even greater capacity so that we can make the most of the bountiful wind resource we have in Britain. “The benefits are clear – we are generating clean energy, cutting down on expensive and insecure imports of fossil fuels and creating tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade.” In total, the UK currently has 5,739 megawatts of installed wind capacity – enough to supply 3,209,233 homes.


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Durham University’s research labs

University’s research and development strengths win awarD Durham University’s strengths in research and development have won it an international award from the world’s largest consumer products company. Durham won the Global Business Development University Partner of the Year award from Procter & Gamble at an event in Cincinnati, USA in recognition of the collaboration between the University and P&G. The University-company partnership has already secured more than £5,700,000 ($9,200,000) in external funding for a series of projects and studentships. Durham is also recognised by P&G as a “best in class” academic partner and follows an innovative approach to University- business partnering where research needs and research capabilities of both partners have been carefully mapped and core areas of mutual interest identified. More than of 80 Durham academics are now linked with a similar number of P&G researchers in locations ranging from Newcastle to Frankfurt, Brussels, Beijing and Cincinnati in areas including surface sciences, biophysical sciences electronic goods, manufacturing and consumer psychology. A recent highlight has been a joint project to set up a virtual surface science centre, providing technical and scientific expertise to develop more effective home cleaning products.

is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. Professor Tom McLeish, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), at Durham University, said: “This recognition of the collaboration between P&G and Durham signifies our shared values of partnership, which is at the core of what we do. “One of the world’s largest corporations recognises that Durham is ‘best in class’ which is a tribute to the strength of research at the University and the high-esteem in which it is held by blue-chip employers across the globe. “This award, and that made to the EPSRC, shows that a corporate leader such as P&G are happy to be investing in research and development in the UK and in particular in Durham University.” Michael Duncan, European Innovation Director at P&G, has been appointed as a Visiting Professor of Physics at Durham University. He said: “We have been working with Durham for less than two years, but it is already delivering high-impact results with Durham being seen as best in class of our University collaborations. “We look forward to building relationships and producing meaningful innovations for generations to come.”

The award follows the signing of a Master Collaboration Agreement with P&G which establishes Durham University as a core strategic research partner to this multinational corporation.

The University’s Durham Business and Innovation Service has been at the centre of this partnership development. The office develops partnerships with businesses and is also responsible for commercialising research outputs.

As well as the Durham award, the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) also won the Government sector Partner of the Year award from P&G. EPSRC

Working with Faculties, Departments, Institutes and individual researchers, the unit supports all aspects of business engagement and research commercialisation.


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Graphene will revolutionise our lives It has been described as tougher than diamond, yet it can stretch like rubber. It can conduct electricity a million times more efficiently than copper, but it is more transparent to visible light than any other conductor. Graphene – a sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice – is set to revolutionise our lives. It is easy to see why it has been described as the “miracle material” of the 21st Century when you look at how many ways it could be applied. At only one atom thick, it could replace silicon as the raw material in computer chips and be used instead of indium tin oxide for flexible, paper thin computer and television screens. Made by chemically processing graphite – the cheap material in the lead of pencils – scientists say it could make everything from touchscreens to plastics cheaper and more efficient. And the great news is that its potential was discovered by two British-based scientists, Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim, from Manchester University. The pair won the Nobel prize for physics for isolating and measuring its properties and, understandably, their work has sparked global attention. In Britain, it led to Chancellor George Osborne announcing in October an investment of £50m to create a research hub to

Graphene is a twodimensional crystal consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged hexagonally. (Credit: Berkeley Lab/U.S. Department of Energy)

support the commercialisation of the “miracle material” with the aim being to manufacture products in the UK. Graphene is now the subject of a global race as scientists develop how it could be used, with South Korea alone reportedly investing £195m into the technology. It even has a North East presence with Durham Graphene Science, a research and development company which specialises in the synthesis of graphene, using a unique and scalable “bottomup” approach to preparing the material. Durham Graphene Science is part of the NETPark community. Also in the North East, delegates at Solar Flair, the national photovoltaic conference taking place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Durham in late November, will hear how this fascinating material could have the power to transform the solar industry with its use in solar cells. Could its transparency and flexibility mean that we could see solar panels across a window, for example? Graphene is just one of the cutting-edge breakthroughs that will have an impact on the solar field. We’re looking forward to hearing some of the country’s leading solar minds talk about the progress of developments and the difference they will make to the industry.


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INTERNATIONALISE yOUR BUSINESS Small and medium sized companies can now access services designed to turn them from exporters into multinational companies. RTC North’s international services team helps small and medium sized firms take their overseas strategy to the next level by setting up operations on the ground in new markets. With export strategies subject to diminishing returns over time, the team can help clients fight increasing competition on the ground by establishing representative offices, branches, joint venture companies or wholly owned subsidiaries overseas. The service is headed up by RTC North’s head of business consulting, Ray Jones. He said: “Increasing competition demands a faster response to changing market conditions and customer expectations on the ground. “Our services are designed to help businesses make the step change from exporter to a multinational manufacturing or trading organisation with a presence in international markets.” From lower risk options to the complexities surrounding joint ventures, subsidiaries and mergers & acquisitions, the team at RTC North will plan your journey and work with you to internationalise your business.

“Dealing as a ‘multinational’ is no longer the preserve of large corporations and with the right strategy in place, small and medium sized businesses can compete on the world stage by establishing a presence closer to their market.” Since 2002, RTC North has worked on every continent and helped over 400 companies in 75 different sectors establish robust strategies for growth. Often travelling with clients or on their behalf, the team will ensure your tax, legal and financial requirements are in place and where necessary ensure they benefit from our wider operation, which consults across the entire business growth cycle.


Projects delivered by RTC North may qualify for support under the ‘R&D Globalisation Programme’ - a service which will benefit from £393,557 of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.


To speak to someone about how your business can grow by moving closer to some of the world’s fastest growing economies contact call 0191 5164400, email

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Lift off.

from exporter to multinational. The largest companies in the world have succeeded by moving closer to their target markets. Find out how you can increase market share and internationalise your business. Contact the team on 0191 516 4400 Projects delivered by RTC North may qualify for support under our ‘R&D Globalisation Programme’ - a service part financed by the European Regional Development Fund. RTC North international services for businesses

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EUROPEAN UNION Investing in Your Future European Regional Development Fun 2007-13


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INVESTMENT AIMS TO SUppORT UK GREEN TECHNOLOGIES A £6.5 million investment to deliver a new generation of engineering leaders in renewable energy was announced recently by Business Secretary Vince Cable. Leading universities and industry will provide training for up to 50 of the best engineering students as part of a new Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy.

Peter Hofman, Director of Company Shared Services & Integration at EDF Energy, said: “As the energy market in the UK develops it is crucial that we train engineering students in low carbon generation expertise.”

Although delivered primarily from Edinburgh, the investment is designed to support green technology companies across the country.

Dr David Clarke, Chief Executive Officer of the ETI, said: “The drive to meet the UK’s ambitious deployment targets for offshore renewable energy technologies requires a steady supply of highly trained engineers and scientists. We anticipate that this new Industrial Doctorate Centre will contribute significantly to that requirement.

Vince Cable said: “Engineering skills are vital for the growth of a more sustainable economy and are in high demand from employers. This scheme will see industry working with universities to provide students with the training and commercial experience businesses want.”

“The experience and knowledge these universities and organisations each bring to the centre will ensure that high-calibre students will be equipped to help solve the difficult engineering challenges we face in making offshore renewables a vital part of the long term industrial and economic base of the UK.”

The new Centre will be funded through the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Training will be delivered by Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Exeter universities, together with the Scottish Association for Marine Science and consultancy HR-Wallingford. Companies taking part include EDF Energy, BP, Caterpillar, E.ON, Rolls Royce and Shell.

David Ingram PhD, Centre Director said: “If the UK is to meet its ambitious targets for renewable energy deployment in 2020 and 2050 we need to dramatically increase the number of highly trained engineers with expertise and understanding in resource assessment, project planning, device development, grid integration and environmental impact.“


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NETPark Net Membership Join our Innovation Community

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Networks 15Advert.indd 1 101997 -19.indd NETPark

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First Technology Innovation Centre Launched “There is science. There is invention. Combining and applying them is what innovation is about.” So said Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, at the Innovate 11 conference in London last month (October). Dr Cable used a speech at the event to officially open the Government’s first Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), about which he said: “Technology and Innovation Centres will provide leading-edge facilities, where ideas generated by academiccommercial partnerships can be developed and prepared for market”. The High-Value Manufacturing TIC will consist of seven regional facilities from across England who will share more than £140m public investment over the next six years to support the development of a range of companies and products. County Durham is a key component of the Government’s first flagship TIC. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), which has operations at NETPark in Sedgefield and at Wilton in Teesside, has been chosen as one of the seven facilities making up the TIC, and will play a leading role in kick-starting a sustained manufacturing revival by commercialising science.

Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre and the Government’s initiative to grow manufacturing in the UK, and are looking forward to working with our partners in the new Centre. This announcement heralds sustained investment into manufacturing and CPI’s proven ability to help companies create their next generation of products and processes will grow as a result. This is great news for the UK, for the North-East and for the Process Industry.” Mr Perry added: “This investment demonstrates the UK’s commitment to inspiring new innovation. It aids the on-going development of CPI’s world class technology platforms in sustainable processing, printable electronics and high temperature processing, which enables British companies to benefit from and commercialise the results of leading research.” The news was warmly greeted at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) where CPI’s flagship printable electronics prototyping facility PETEC is located.

The manufacturing TIC will concentrate on areas including photovoltaics, biochemicals and composite materials. It will allow businesses and research groups to build prototypes, use large-scale clean rooms and even develop virtual environments to assist product design.

Stewart Watkins, managing director of the County Durham Development Company which manages NETPark on behalf of Durham County Council, said: “CPI must be praised for the work they have done in developing the facilities that will make up part of this first Technology Innovation Centre. It is critical that the region is part of the Government’s drive to dramatically improve high-value manufacturing in the UK and we fully anticipate the County will benefit enormously from being involved in the TIC.”

Nigel Perry, CPI chief executive, welcomed the announcement, saying: “This is fantastic news for CPI and great recognition for the CPI team and the excellent work we have done since we began in 2004. We are delighted to be part of the High Value

Mr Watkins added: “Durham County Council identified the need more than a decade ago for a high-end science park because it recognised that the knowledge economy was key to all our futures. The Government’s announcement on TICs


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demonstrates that this was the right move to make and I look forward to seeing the exciting and visionary products that make it to market thanks to the world class facility we have on our doorstep in PETEC.” Dr Cable used his speech at Innovate 11 to make it clear why TICs were a vital cog in efforts to reignite the UK economy. He said: “Economists disagree on many things. But there is clear consensus that, in mature economies, all long-term economic growth processes depend on innovation: that is, applying new technologies in an economically productive way.” And, Dr Cable was direct in his explanation about why highvalue manufacturing was the focus of the first centre: “There is a clear rationale for backing innovation in manufacturing. The sector contributes disproportionately to UK productivity and exports.” The Government left the decision on which areas to focus the attention of the TICs to the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). Iain Gray, chief executive of the TSB, said: “Manufacturing is a priority sector for the Technology Strategy Board to support with a technology and innovation centre. The UK has some of the world’s best manufacturing businesses and the industry accounts for 12 per cent of GDP, around half of exports and in 2010 employed 2.5 million people in the UK. The new centre will help UK businesses stay at the leading edge of manufacturing technology and create and protect jobs long into the future.” The Government is adamant that TICs will not purely focus on developing and perfecting techniques for making highend products. It is keen also to make sure that innovation in engineering skill is complemented by design innovation.

Dr Cable said: “There are lots of crossovers between creative industries and manufacturing, Dyson’s vacuum cleaners being a good example. The alumni of the Royal College of Art are an eclectic collection of artists and engineers whose combined skills lie behind a remarkable amount of successful British Innovation.” Mr Watkins agreed: “The importance of the collaboration between engineering and design innovation cannot be underestimated. The recent death of Apple icon Steve Jobs highlighted the phenomenal impact that great tech coupled with gorgeous design can have on a company’s performance.” The High Value Manufacturing technology and innovation centre is formed from seven regional facilities across the country. These are: n The Centre for Process Innovation (Wilton, Teesside &

Sedgefield, Co Durham) n Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Rotherham,

part of the University of Sheffield) n Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre

(Rotherham) n Manufacturing Technology Centre (Coventry) n Advanced Forming Research Centre (University of

Strathclyde) n National Composite Centre (University of Bristol) n Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick).


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HQ SWITCH bucks trend from South to North AN abundance of skilled, flexible workers has prompted a major local employer to continue investing in the region. Thorn Lighting’s decision to move its UK headquarters from Hertfordshire to its award-winning plant in Spennymoor may have raised some eyebrows. But there were sound business reasons behind the move north. Thorn operates in more than 100 markets round the world, including Australia and Hong Kong, but it still regards County Durham as a key part of its future 80 years after it first launched a factory in the region.

the right employees for the needs of our business. From our existing operations, we were confident that the North-East had an abundance of talent to choose from.” Thorn has continued to invest in the development of its employees to ensure they are equipped with cutting-edge skills in a variety of disciplines, from production to marketing and management. Ms Herrick continued: “If other leading brands are to continue to see the region as an attractive and viable investment opportunity, access to the right people is crucial.

The £28m production facility and £1.3m Academy of Light training centre at Green Lane Industrial Estate represented the largest investment the company has made in one of its plants when it was opened in 2009.

“Links between businesses and local employment providers is key, ensuring that people from across the region are ready and equipped for employment. For this to happen, businesses must also invest in the development of their workforce.”

The modern purpose-built lighting plant houses 595 staff and has been hailed by business leaders and politicians as a shining example of how to combine traditional engineering skills with world class technologies.

The business recently launched a new division aimed at helping customers become more energy efficient.

Kelly Herrick, director at Thorn Lighting, explained that the decision to name Spennymoor as the hub of its UK operations made perfect sense to the country’s largest lighting manufacturer.

Thorn Energy Solutions forms part of a business strategy launched by the firm, as it looks to increase turnover by ten per cent in the coming year. The changes come after Thorn’s market share had started to fall in recent years but it remains one of the region’s largest private employers.

She said: “While the decision was made for a variety of reasons, the primary motive behind the move was so we could recruit THE SCIENCE ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE

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Philip Murray, Customer Service Director for Harlands

From here to Affinity with latest NETPark Net recruit NETPark Net, one of the fastest growing innovation networks in the UK is set to expand further with the launch of a new initiative. The Affinity programme is the newest addition to NETPark Net, the community set up to extend expertise and support available at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) to a wider audience. Affinity will bring a structured platform for a limited number of professional services companies to provide a wealth of expertise, advice and support for the region’s burgeoning science and technology companies. NETPark Net, delivered by the County Durham Development Company on behalf of Durham County Council, already has nearly 300 active member companies and organisations operating in the science, technology and engineering fields. Affinity is expected to help them develop at a faster rate in the future by bringing in new members with specialist knowledge in business-critical areas. The latest Affinity member to join the network is County Durham based Harlands Accountants which specialises in providing accounting and taxation services to growing Small to Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) Philip Murray, Customer Service Director for Harlands, said: “It was clear from our first interaction with NETPark that it is a unique community where world class science and technology companies and individuals come together and the NETPark Affinity package allows Harlands to contribute to this exciting community. We aim to bring specialist expertise to help companies at all stages of development from those looking to start a new business or helping business owners to understand the financial requirements of their business to ensure it is successful and plays the right part in their life.

which will include monthly clinics as well as being available on a one-to-one basis for science and technology businesses in need of a more individual service. In addition, Harlands will encourage best practice and knowledge sharing within the network by writing articles and blogs for tenants to keep them up-to-date with news on changes in legislation. Philip added: “Getting your financial systems right is essential within small, fast growing companies because each decision has a far greater impact than on a larger organisation. The UK government has put a big focus on supporting innovative companies through mechanisms like Research and Development (R&D) tax credits and we want to help companies access these benefits”. CDDC anticipates that the expertise provided by the Affinity programme will be a valuable support to the network’s members. Stewart Watkins, CDDC managing director, said: “The Affinity programme will offer the additional benefit of bringing in professional services expertise which is vital for companies looking to develop and take new products to market. “The Affinity package provides the ideal platform for professional service companies such as Harlands to interact with the North East’s science and technology community. Science and technology companies can now start to access this expertise and knowledge on demand through regular seminars, clinics, online discussions and blogs.” For more information on the Affinity programme, visit

Harlands will be providing in-depth support to NETPark tenants and members of NETPark Net as part of the Affinity programme


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County Durham has much to offer the business investor

County Durham is a place to do business County Durham can often be overlooked in favour of its industrial neighbours Tyneside and Teesside. But with new developments and natural attributes, there is much to recommend it, according to North East property experts. STEPPING off the train at Durham and walking through the city it is not difficult to see why the county is so attractive to employers, employees and students alike. A world-class university, quality hotels, good access to two airports and excellent road and rail links, not to mention an international cricket ground. While the cathedral and castle help attract significant numbers of tourists, it is the infrastructure that has helped to attract inward investment with approximately 300 UK and overseas companies investing in County Durham business operations in the past 25 years (Source: CDDC). A short drive south of Durham city and into the heart of the county lies DurhamGate Business Park which, despite the economic climate, is currently being developed in partnership by Carillion Developments, part of Carillion plc, and regional property business Arlington Real Estate. The 53-acre scheme has consent for office, retail, hotel and residential development all of which will benefit from the significant investment in the infrastructure which is currently well under way with the creation of a new boulevard entrance and existing highway improvements. The scheme is creating a new business destination which has the ability to attract employees from across County Durham due to its central location.

with Sedgefield Borough Homes’ new 20,000sq ft headquarters due to open soon. This follows the September opening of the Fox Cub, a new Marston family pub. The developers are in discussions with further commercial occupiers and residential developers and are set to announce more transactions before the turn of the year by which point it is estimated that more than 400 people will be working at DurhamGate. Elsewhere within County Durham there has been significant development at Meadowfield to the south west of Durham city. At Whitfield Court a range of self-contained offices have been constructed and have attracted high-profile occupiers including the NHS, Driving Standards Agency and Banks Group. Directly opposite Whitfield Court lies City West Business Park which comprises 22 self-contained, flexible business units ideal for small to medium enterprises. North of the city at Belmont Business Park, North East developer Hanro have secured planning permission for Parkgate, a new 120,000sq ft office scheme. The scheme will occupy a prominent location close to the entrance of Belmont and the developers are currently inviting interest from prospective occupiers. The availability of high-quality accommodation is fundamental in allowing growing companies to expand and also in making inward investment possible. Despite the economic circumstances that we are currently experiencing it is important that County Durham and the wider region make the most of the considerable assets we have to offer. Simon Taylor is associate director in office agency at Jones Lang LaSalle’s Newcastle office

The investment in infrastructure at DurhamGate is paying off THE SCIENCE ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE

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Cella chief executive Stephen Voller.

North East-backed business prepares for lift-off A hydrogen storage technology business initially backed by County Durham specialist chemical company Thomas Swan & Co has secured a new round of financing led by an investment from Space Florida. Using the cash injection, Cella Energy plans to develop its technology at a government-backed laboratory in Oxfordshire and a new facility at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The $1m (£645,000) funds received by Cella from Space Florida are part of a larger $2.5m (£1.6m) fundraising from international institutions and other individual investors. The money will support the development of four proof-of-concept projects for Cella’s low-cost hydrogen storage technologies. The funds will also be used to expand operations and provide employment opportunities in the UK and in Florida. Initial funding for Cella came from Thomas Swan & Co, the Consett-based chemical company established in 1926.

Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC’s) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford and at the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Over 30 years NASA-KSC has become one of the world’s largest users of hydrogen, and has built up expertise in this area. “To be announcing a second round of investment so soon after Cella Energy was formed is testament to the confidence investors have in our technology” said Cella chief executive Stephen Voller. “As the world population grows, so will our demand for energy. Hydrogen provides a way of helping to meet this demand for more energy but without increasing harmful emissions”. Space Florida President Frank DiBello added: “Space Florida is very excited about our investment into Cella, and we look forward to bringing this new technology to KSC.

According to the Oxfordshire-based Cella, its technology could lead to lower priced fuel at the pumps and improve energy security in the European Union, the US and throughout NATO.

“Companies like Cella are leading the way in keeping Florida a driving force in alternative energy. We will continue leveraging our financing relationships to help companies like Cella succeed.”

Cella plans to develop its hydrogen storage materials - which allow hydrogen to be stored without high-pressure tanks and other potential safety hazards - both at the government’s

Simon Robeson, a partner at CoreTec Ventures, advised Cella Energy on the investment round. Other advisers included Muckle and KPMG.


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INNOVATION - AND HOW TO MAKE SURE THAT IT HAppENS Innovation, it’s the word on everyone’s lips but the question is how do you support it? How do you encourage companies to invest in innovation when the pressures of surviving in a harsh economic climate are often more pressing? One of the ways is to ensure that those companies can access improved training for their staff, both experienced ones and those coming into the industry. Many business leaders see developing skills as crucial to supporting innovative companies. To address those concerns, the Government has just announced that has provided an initial £11 million of funding, with more to come, following the first round of bids to the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF). The Fund was set up to help employers to develop more effective skills through more apprenticeships, new professional standards and closer partnerships with education and training providers. Business Minister Vince Cable said: “Sustained economic recovery will depend on our ability to excel in the high tech skills that our most innovative companies need to compete in the globalised economy.

“That is why this Government is committed to skilling up our workforce through work based training. By providing concentrated seed funding for employer led projects that attract further investment from business, we’re targeting money where it will be best placed to drive growth.” Skills Minister John Hayes said: “We know that business is best qualified to identify how skills can drive growth. This investment will help employers develop their own solutions to the barriers that stand in the way of opportunity.” Work is now being undertaken on the development of future rounds of GIF, which will deliver up to £50m of government investment per year. An announcement will be made later this year regarding investment for 2012. Sectors to benefit immediately benefit from GIF funding include renewables, sscience-based industries, energy and utilities, environmental technologies, nuclear industry and heakth. One of the organisations to benefit is RenewableUK, the wind, wave and tidal energy trade association, which is establishing a Renewables Training Network (RTN) to tackle the critical


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shortage of skilled workers in green energy industries. The RTN will create 2,000 places on training courses specifically tailored to those wanting to make the transition into the renewable energy sector, focusing particularly on mature skilled workers wishing to retrain.

In addition, EU Skills will establish a Talent Bank for the gas, power, waste management and water industries to provide a skills brokerage service. This will create 400 new Apprenticeship places and support the training of 400 high skilled technicians by 2014.

Working with employers, universities and colleges, the RTN aims to bridge the skills gap to help build a new low carbon economy. It receives £579,583

In environmental industries, Lantra will develop a new Professional Standards Framework, allowing employers to identify the skills they require to meet business objectives. This project receives £49,434.

When it comes to science-based industries, Cogent will deliver an Apprenticeship Training Agency to increase apprenticeship numbers in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and deliver more than 1,000 new apprenticeships by 2017. It receives £889,665

In the nuclear sector, The National Skills Academy for Nuclear will deliver a specific skills training system for manufacturing, particularly focussed on SMEs and the supply chain. Its investment from the Government scheme is £925,000

In addition, a Life Sciences Skills Pathway will provide more than 400 new higher level apprenticeships, 500 individuals receiving technician training and 1500 work ready graduates through an employability kite marking scheme. The investment is £890,876

And new National Skills Academy for Health will help meet skills shortages in pharmacy, midwifery, occupational health, and facilities management. The investment is £1,500,000.


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HOME FROM HOME FOR NEW NETpARK FIRM A North East based technology firm is set to be the first company to move from a NETPark Net virtual office to full time office and laboratory accommodation at the NETPark Incubator building at the North East Technology Park (NETPark). Eshtech Ltd, which provides professional technical services to clients around the word, has graduated from its virtual office base at NETPark to new physical premises at the NETPark Incubator at the North East Technology Park in Sedgefield, County Durham, to accommodate its anticipated growth. The company has developed a global client list, offering a range of specialist services including technical due diligence, Intellectual Property (IP) assessment, PRINCE2 project management, technical consultancy for start up companies, university spin outs and investors. Following the move into delivering innovative professional services, the company is considering expansion into other sectors, with development of an intellectual property portfolio and product development in the pipeline. Dr Gary Gibson, Director at Eshtech, said: “NETPark is where world-class science and technology companies and individuals

come together and we felt that it was the right location for our business. Moving from a virtual office to our own office and lab space has been very simple. It is this simple and flexible approach delivered by NETPark and NETPark Net that has allowed us to concentrate on growing the business both in the UK and internationally and having the support of the NETPark and the NETPark Net service has been extremely positive”. The move to NETPark is expected to catalyse the company’s growth thanks to its location and facilities, which include high-speed reliable broadband access, attracting a thriving technological business community. Stewart Watkins, managing director of County Durham Development Company (CDDC) which manages NETPark on behalf of Durham County Council, said: “The NETPark Incubator is specifically designed to support innovative companies like Eshtech and it’s fantastic to see them graduating from a virtual office to a full time location at NETPark – I’m sure they will be the first of many.”


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Gain direct access to the NETPark Net community with Affinity membership




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Leading the Way in Innovation DHL supply chain brings multi-supplier collaboration and dynamic pricing to the bulk logistics industry As the global economy continues to change, retailers, manufacturers and other vendors are facing increasingly difficult challenges. The successful companies in the 21st century will be those that can adapt to these changes, and make them work in their favour. How should they respond flexibly to fast-changing consumer demand? How can they contain or reduce escalating costs? How do they source low-cost materials or enter emerging markets without substantially increasing their risk or their impact on the environment whilst maintaining their standards for corporate and social responsibility? A solution is at hand The DHL brand stands for personal commitment, proactive solutions and local strengths worldwide. For many years DHL has been synonymous with fast, reliable express and forwarding services around the world, and today we’re also a leading innovator in supply chain solutions. As the world’s largest contract logistics specialist, DHL Supply Chain is passionate about: 1. driving sustainable competitive advantage for our customers by getting their products to market faster and more efficiently. Whatever their size, our customers can rely on us to draw on our local insight and global scale to deliver value across every aspect of their supply chain.

disciplined approach to performance measurement, quality assurance, project management, environmental management and continuous process improvement. DHL Supply Chain’s commitment stems from the personal dedication of around 140,000 employees operating in over 60 countries worldwide. In addition, DHLSupply Chain is able to mobilize the power of DHL on behalf of our customers, creating integrated solutions to manage global supply chains and leveraging our global reach across over 220 countries and territories through: n DHL Global Forwarding for air and ocean freight forwarding n DHL Freight for overland transport in Europe and beyond n DHL Express for express deliveries across the world n DHL Global Mail for domestic/international distribution of mail

By working closely together across divisions, DHL offers integrated end-to-end supply chain solutions with high levels of optimization, visibility and control. Because we focus on selected major industry sectors, our customers benefit from working with specialists - not only in supply chain services, but also in their particular marketplace. Not only do our managers have to be logistics experts, but they also have to be experts in the business of every one of our customers. The knowledge of our people, combined with our industry-leading solutions, provides our customers with real competitive advantage. Case Study: DHL driving innovation in the chemical industry

2. providing a range of industry-specific solutions throughout the supply chain. From planning, sourcing, production, storage, configuration and delivery to after-sales, our customers can rely on us to provide robust solutions that work for any industry, in any environment, no matter how demanding.

The world of bulk chemical logistics is often viewed as an entrenched and conservative area of the supply chain. Business is won and lost through the regular cycles of lane-rate tenders and this has had the gradual impact of commoditising the supplier base.

3. using our industry and supply chain expertise to turn complex customer requirements into flexible solutions which meet customer challenges head-on. By understanding their issues and anticipating their logistics needs in an ever changing environment, our customers can rely on the quality and expertise of our global, regional and local teams.

DHL is constantly striving to bring innovation to this sector which has often lagged behind other industries in its adoption of new and creative supply chain solutions. A key example of this is in the area of collaboration and associated lead logistic provider (LLP) models which have been standard in the automotive and pharmaceutical sectors for nearly a decade

Our customers can rely on solutions that work harder for their business through our commitment to innovation and our

The global business downturn in 2008 and the associated economic impact hit the UK chemical manufacturing


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capacity hard, with chemical manufacturers facing major cost challenges. This, in turn, added further pressure to the bulk chemicals business and logistics service providers, as all struggled with the dual challenges of contracting and variable delivery volume requirements and ever shrinking profit margins. Nowhere was this challenge more obvious than in the highly commoditised market of bulk polymer distribution and it left DHL with a major challenge on how to deliver a 10% efficient/ cost saving target to one of it’s key customers.. A review of the customer’s supply chain landscape revealed that there was the potential to increase efficiency, through a combination of maximising back-loading efficiencies between the customer’s production facilities and tapping in to the wider, non-hazardous bulk logistics market. The real challenge lay in finding a method to extract best value given fluctuating regional demands, short-term and intense campaign volumes and a lack of a single point of overall control of the customer’s product volumes. DHL proposed a managed transport solution where DHL retained a significant, but minority, in-house operation and managed the remaining volume through a range of approved sub-contractors. The unique element of this proposal was the implementation of a new IT system which has a number of key features. The system was adapted from an existing DHL IT platform to form a web-enabled order placement, costing and fulfillment tool. This tool has twoguiding concepts; it is vendor-neutral and dynamically priced. It means that any approved supplier can bid on any in-scope order at any time at any price (providing this is no greater than a pre-set ceiling rate). The cheapest price wins – its effectively EBay in reverse. How has this benefited the customer? Firstly suppliers have much greater visibility of the volumes and lead-times of the customer’s product flows. This allows traffic planners to think further ahead than before and allows them to optimise delivery back-loads, as well as linking the product into other non-hazardous polymers product flows. The result is more deliveries made on back-loads and thus more rates based on a back-loading cost base.

assists in simplifying the communications between the customer and its customers. Thirdly, with the DHL portal being the single point for this product order management and execution, the customer can start to simplify it’s back office function and potentially realise further savings. Challenging industry norms DHL has successfully challenged the normal way of providing a bulk distribution solution and worked with our customer to develop a completely new operational concept with an associated unique IT proposition. The solution provides the commercial benefits required by the customer, as well as all of the benefits a managed transport solution brings. The backloading efficiencies that the system creates will generate significant CO2 savings across the in-house fleet and participating suppliers. There were a number of characteristics of this business that allowed a new solution to be trialed: n The product volume was significant enough that a small

percentage savings would equate to significant savings (circa 200,000 tonnes per annum.) n There was only a small number of product source points n The solution dealt with only one product with less than a

dozen grade options n The delivery volume was such that if the new IT solution did

not work it would be relatively easy to revert to a manually routed option This new concept has been proven in the sector and is readily applicable and transferable to other sectors. The solution has now been in place for nearly 12 months and has successfully delivered a net saving of circa six per cent without any detrimental impact to the overall service. The challenge now is to take this further and develop new solutions that can benefit from this unique IT capability. If you are interested in discussing this or any other solution please contact DHL on +44 (0) 7771 388410 or send an email to

Secondly, as the tool is web-based and real-time, the customer has live visibility of its product flows – from the bidding stage through to supplier allocation, delivery and debrief. This greatly

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SOLAR FLAIR 2011 – THE NATIONAL pHOTOVOLTAICS CONFERENCE THE point at which science and commerce collide is a momentous place. It often heralds the transition from the laboratory into everyday life and is the catalyst for any burgeoning industry. Photovoltaics has been in the public arena for many years now but it remains an industry on the ascent as public policy drives uptake while technological advances encourage demand. Scientists, technicians, entrepreneurs and end users alike are contributing to the development of this method of power generation and events that bring these individuals together under one roof are an opportunity to learn, participate in and benefit from a key strand of the renewables energy sector. An important event in the photovoltaics calendar is Solar Flair – a national PV conference, now in its third year. Solar Flair 11 will be held at the Durham Raddison Blu Hotel in Durham City on November 24. The growing popularity of the event has attracted a high quality panel of speakers to outline the latest advances and opportunities in the photovoltaic industry.

Euro photovoltaics centre in Arnstadt, Germany, and a 520 million Euro solar module manufacturing plant in Malaysia. Solar Flair 11 has been organised by the County Durham Development Company (CDDC), the business arm of Durham County Council. Stewart Watkins, managing director of CDDC, said: “This is the third time we have held the Solar Flair conference and it is has rapidly gained a reputation for excellence within the photovoltaic field. “This year we’ve attracted some of the biggest names in the photovoltaic industry and their insight into the solar power revolution will be invaluable for businesses looking to develop in this cutting edge field or gain insider tips to expand their companies further. “Understanding how photovoltaics is being used in space will be particularly revealing as the technology is often two or three steps ahead of what’s happening elsewhere in the industry.”

Delegates will also hear from Franz Ziering, vice president of Bosch Solar Energy AG, which has developed the most efficient photovoltaic cell on the market.

Other speakers at Solar Flair include Emma Hughes, editor of Solar Power Portal and bi-monthly business magazine, Solar Business Focus UK. Emma is widely regarded as one of the most influential solar technology journalists in the country and is a frequent contributor to the industry-renowned technology journal Photovoltaics International and global online news and information resource

Bosch is creating the largest solar farm in the UK – a 5 MW park over 18 hectares in Trefullock, Cornwall – as well as a 530 million

Solar Flair will also benefit from the insight of another leading industry journalist. David Thorpe, editor of Energy &

Key speakers include Dr Stephen Taylor from the European Space Agency who will give an insight into the cutting edge solar power being used in the space industry.


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NETPark Net Membership Join our Innovation Community

“Access to information and equipment from Durham University’s Research Institute ERH4)8)'LEWFIIRERI\XVIQIP]ZEPYEFPI Environmental Management magazine and author of the cells – based on more abundant elements; the use of novel WYTTSVXQIGLERMWQLIVIEX2)84EVO² Earthscan Expert Guide to Solar Technology. He previously core-shell quantum structures to improve photovoltaic device worked as managing editor and author at the Centre for Alternative Technology, all of which has given him an excellent Steve Clements, Managing Director, U2T Photonics UK Ltd. overview of the solar PV scene and policy landscape.


There are a number of highly-respected academics on the speaker line-up including Dr Chiara Candelise, of the Institute for Energy Systems, University of Edinburgh; Prof James Durrant, professor of photochemistry, Imperial College London; and, Dr David Lane, reader in analytical physics and advanced materials, Cranfield University who will bring tremendous insight into the industry and its future progression.

efficiency; and the development of hybrid organic-inorganic structures for low cost photovoltaic devices. Finally, Dr Alistair Buckley, project leader of the Sheffield Solar Farm, completes the heavyweight roster of speakers. Dr Buckley has a broad range of research interests in optoelectronic devices. His PhD thesis studied discharge lighting using spectroscopic methods and he has eight years industrial experience in developing information display technology based on polymer light emitting diodes.

The innovation support network to help companies operating within the Science, Engineering and Technology sectors, achieve their full potential Dr Buckley joined Sheffield University as a lecturer in 2008.

8S½RHSYXQSVIEFSYXXLIFIRI½XWSJ2)84EVO2IXQIQFIVWLMT In addition, Dr Douglas Halliday, deputy director of the Centre In 2010, he founded the Sheffield Solar Farm project to for Materials Physics at Durham University will be present. link between academic research in the field of organic ERHLS[XSNSMRTPIEWIZMWMXXLI[IFWMXISVGSRXEGXYW Dr Halliday uses advanced spectroscopic techniques to photovoltaics, and the real world implementation of solar PV understand the optical and electrical properties of thin-film in the UK. The Solar Farm aims to collect data, analyse it and ;IFWMXI devices. The insights gained from this approach inform the then feedback the performance UK PV microgeneration to its )QEMP growth and fabrication of devices thereby increasing their domestic, industrial and political stakeholders. efficiency. 01740 625180 8IPITLSRI To book a place at Solar Flair 11, or for more information, Dr Halliday’s current projects include the log onto *SPPS[YWSR


development of new sustainable materials for thin film solar

7KH1(73DUN1HWSURMHFWLVSDUWĂ€QDQFHGE\WKH(XURSHDQ The NETPark Net project is part financed by the European Regional 5HJLRQDO'HYHORSPHQW)XQG (5')  PDQDJHGE\WKH'HSDUWPHQW Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for IRU&RPPXQLWLHVDQG/RFDO*RYHUQPHQW VHFXULQJÂ…P(5') Communities and Local Government, securing ÂŁ0.22m ERDF investment.7KH(5')&RPSHWLWLYHQHVV3URJUDPPHLV The ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 is LQYHVWPHQW bringing over ÂŁ300m into the North East to support innovation, EULQJLQJRYHUÂ…PLQWRWKH1RUWK(DVWWRVXSSRUWLQQRYDWLRQ enterprise and business support across the region. This project has HQWHUSULVHDQGEXVLQHVVVXSSRUWDFURVVWKHUHJLRQ 7KLVSURMHFW received funding from Durham County Council through County Durham Development Company. KDVUHFHLYHGIXQGLQJIURP'XUKDP&RXQW\&RXQFLOWKURXJK &RXQW\'XUKDP'HYHORSPHQW&RPSDQ\


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L to R: Hamsterley Primary School headteacher Lynn Cowan; Esteban Chaparro; Centre for Process Innovation; Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council; Dr Lorraine Coghill, Durham University and Hamsterley deputy head Damian Hassan, with some of the winning pupils.

Eco champions win ‘Recharging the Earth’ challenge Used batteries together weighing more than a family car have been collected by thousands of youngsters across County Durham in a bid to become eco-friendly champions. Recharging the Earth, devised by the Outdoor and Sustainability Education Service, (OaSES), saw schools take up a two-part challenge which included collecting as many nonrechargeable batteries for recycling as possible. The 50 schools which took up the challenge collected almost 1,678 kg worth of batteries between them – weighing almost as much as a Land Rover Freelander. The winning school, St John’s Chapel Primary, in Weardale, County Durham, collected 245kg of batteries and won a lifetime’s supply of ‘eneloop’ rechargeable batteries donated by the electronics giant, SANYO, which had supported the Recharging the Earth initiative. Mrs Kerrie Evea, headteacher of St John’s Chapel Primary, said: “It was a fantastic achievement, particularly as we’re such a small school. Both the children and parents fully embraced the project and it was a real community effort.” For the second part of the challenge, entitled Future Planets, senior school pupils worked with primary pupils to create work reflecting where the planet will be in 25 years if sustainable choices are made and what will happen if they aren’t.

Richard Hurst, sustainability education advisor with OaSES, said: “The pupils’ understanding of the issues around sustainability was brilliant. Some used time travel scenes to get their messages across and others, like Hamsterley, produced a wonderful, imaginative entry which impressed all the judges.” Recharging the Earth was supported by SANYO and Project C, the North East Technology Park (NETPark) community outreach programme designed to highlight the benefits of innovative science and technology to young people and community groups. A spokesman for SANYO said: “SANYO are delighted to have been able to participate in this project and would like to offer our congratulations to all who took part. SANYO are committed to developing products that bring tangible benefits to our environment, we are pleased that the eneloop batteries and solar panels mean the benefits of this project will continue long after it has finished.” Catherine Johns, director of innovation development at County Durham Development Company, (CDDC) which coordinated the competition as part of Project C, said: “It’s fantastic to see how hard the children have worked on these challenges. They really grasped the importance of making sustainable choices and the effect that those choices have on our planet.”

Pupils at Hamsterley Primary, near Bishop Auckland, were victorious after impressing judges with their eye-catching interactive video showing news reports from the future. The school will receive a prize of electricity generating solar panels worth more than £10,000.

The judges of the competition were Dr Lorraine Coghill, NETPark science outreach co-ordinator at Durham University; Esteban Chaparro, business development manager from the Centre for Process Innovation and Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development with Durham County Council.

Damian Hassan, deputy headteacher at Hamsterley, said: “We were so impressed by the creativity and humour that our children brought to this project. They’ve also made it clear that this competition is not an end in itself - they have a strong commitment to eco-issues and are working towards their Green Flag award.”

Councillor Foster said: “It is clear from the high standard of the presentation that the pupils had embraced the project. I would like to congratulate everyone involved, including the pupils, school staff and the NETPark team and would also like to thank all of the sponsors of the event for their support.”


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Husqvarna were one of many companies at Engineering Oktoberfest 2011

Oktoberfest 2011 ‘best yet’ Over 90 exhibitors participated in the North East’s largest manufacturing and engineering event and a host of excellent companies lined up for a ‘meet the buyer’ programme, at this year’s Engineering Oktoberfest, described as the best yet.

and has rail connectivity down one side of the site. Rail access and the creation of a 1 km train test track were comparatively straightforward and road and rail access to Teesport was in place,” added Mr Motraghi.

The event took place on Wednesday, October 19th at the XCEL Centre, Newton Aycliffe. The showcase event was officially opened by Councillor Neil Foster, Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration, Durham County Council, who told visitors to the event that, “Durham Oktoberfest is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to showcase their capabilities to an international audience and provides a clear message that the engineering and manufacturing industry is critical to the recovery of the UK and North East economy. I’m proud to be part of Oktoberfest.”

“Further the work skills in the area were as required, possibly honed on the manufacturing and engineering work ethic of the region as will be shown at this year’s Oktoberfest. Our corporate credo is to contribute to society through technology and at Newton Aycliffe I believe we can do this by delivering trains that meet our UK and European customers’ expectations.”

Following on from Councillor Foster, Mac Motraghi, Head of Sales, Hitachi Rail Europe and then Geoff Hunton, Technical Director of MPD took to the stage to add their welcome to the event. The proposed development of a 460,000 sq ft facility for Hitachi Rail Europe at Newton Aycliffe, Co. Durham “says much about the advantages of doing business in the North East” said Mr Motraghi. “Newton Aycliffe has it all. Our site is one mile from a motorway

The ‘meet the buyer’ sessions have always proved to be a huge success at the event, with one to one appointments offered to those companies looking to attract more business. This year’s event was no exception, as John Lyle, General Manager, Derwentside Enterprise Agency explained: “Our meet the buyer sessions are always well attended. It’s a great chance for companies to book one to one appointments with buyers from a wide range of sectors. This year’s participants were NAREC, Thorn Lighting, Calsonic Kansei, Ministry of Defence, EBAC, Husqvarna, Tata Steel Tubes, AAF International, CAV Aerospace, Durham County Council and Parker domnick hunter.”


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WhatUsersDo: L to R Lee Duddell - (Founder), Nick Imrie - MD, Michelle Cooper (Northstar), Matthew Witt (Investor) Steve Porthouse (Sales Director)

INVESTING IN INNOVATION Northstar Ventures specialises in turning promising ideas and innovations into commercially successful businesses. As well as financial backing, Northstar offers fledgling firms in the north east the management support and professional know how to help them flourish. Northstar manages two funds as part of the £125m Finance for Business North East programme: £15m Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund – supporting innovative technology projects with investments of between £20k and £100k. £20m Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund – investing between £100k and £500k in early stage high potential enterprises. These funds are backed by the European Investment Bank, the European Regional Development Fund and One North East. Northstar’s funds represent a vital boost for both talented individuals wanting to move ahead with new ideas and existing businesses looking to achieve their full potential. Northstar facilitates successful deals across a range of sectors, including digital media, healthcare, biotech, energy and environment and mobile communications. Through backing new products and processes that enhance living standards and create inspired solutions for business, Northstar has invested in many ground breaking, innovative technologies, which serve as the basis of a sustainable, knowledge-based regional economy . This year, Northstar Ventures was named ‘Early Stage Team of the Year’ at the British Business Angels Association Awards, an endorsement of our commercial early stage funding activities and commitment to backing the best teams in the region to create high growth businesses. Northstar’s funds provide an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs to access the capital they need to get started and grow.

to quickly and cost-effectively improve the profitability of their websites. WhatUsersDo reveals how visitors to company websites find information or buy products – typically increasing sales or lead generation and reducing metrics like bounce-rate. Dedicated to helping companies listen to ‘what users do and why they do it’ so that they can then act upon this insight, the company remotely records website visitors’ voices and screen sessions as they complete tasks on a client’s site, such as searching for information and purchasing products. Users or ‘testers’ are recruited from social networks and complete the online tasks from the comfort of their own homes, using their own computers and receive a small fee for their time. Backed by a £60,000 investment from Northstar Venture’s Proof of Concept Fund in 2009, it has now attracted a further £150,000 investment from the Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund. Northstar’s continued investment in WhatUsersDo will allow the company to recruit key staff and improve its product offering, as well as strengthen its reputation as the leading provider of this type of service. Since Northstar’s initial investment, founder Lee Duddell has recruited an experienced management team – including Nick Imrie, a former board director of – to advance their ambition to become Europe’s largest remote user-experience testing company WhatUsersDo has already signed up an impressive list of clients such as BT, Lastminute. com, travel company TUI, and Comet as well as SMEs including UKBathrooms, DietChef and Photobox. Case Study The Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund

Case Study The Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund WhatUsersDo A North East Internet business has identified more than 50 million potential customers for a new service that allows website owners

Combined Cycle Enhancements Limited (CCE) New technology that is being pioneered in the North East could soon be used in power plants around the world to improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to a £100,000 investment from Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund.


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Love Your Larder: L to R Richard Exley (Northstar), Tristan Watson (Founder), Andrew Seymour and Polly Randall

Teesside based venture Combined Cycle Enhancements Limited (CCE) has devised a process upgrade for gas turbine cooling systems that can be applied to combined cycle power plants (CCPP) to reduce fuel consumption. CCE’s technology uses heat from the turbine cooling system to increase the efficiency of the CCPP. The patent pending technology can be used in industrial scale power plants both for retrofit and new installations. The upgrade will pay for itself within two years by achieving a fuel saving of 1 to 2%, depending on the specific configuration of the plant it is applied to. Gerard Armstrong from CCE said: “It’s an exciting innovation with global potential. There are two key revenue streams: existing and new build power plants. In the longer term we will explore licensing agreements to allow new builds to use our technology but at the moment we’re focussing on the sizable market opportunity in retrofit installations.” The CCE team boasts over 65 years of collective experience in the power generation industry. It is led by Gerard who is joined by Darren Watson, a mechanical engineer with power industry expertise and Iain Neill, a highly experienced control and instrumentation engineer. CCE has already used some of the Northstar funding to secure an independent verification of the benefits of its technology. The remainder of the finance is being used for engineering, design and development activities. The company is working closely with a large industrial services company and key technology providers with whom CCE aims to develop long term, strategic relationships. A unique online marketplace that brings together independent food and drink producers is set to expand thanks to a £100,000 investment on from Northstar’s Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund. Food lovers can now track down those hard-to-find products and ingredients by visiting Newcastle-based LoveYourLarder. com. The website offers everything from heritage potatoes to artisan chocolates, craft beers to rare cheeses, all sold directly

by the person who made them. Small manufacturers also benefit, reaching a global online audience without the need to build their own ecommerce website. Tristan Watson, Love Your Larder’s award-winning founder, was inspired to create the website through his own enthusiasm for cooking. He says, “Like many people I love watching cooking programmes, but get frustrated that their recipes often need obscure ingredients that you just can’t find in supermarkets. I wanted to make it easier for people to cook great food at home - and support small businesses at the same time.” Newcastle-based Love Your Larder offers an easy, economical way to buy high quality, locally produced food and drink and an efficient way for the producers to sell it. Producers who sell in the online marketplace range from brand new companies like ‘Fudge Fancies’, to traditional flour millers ‘Shipton Mill’, located at an original mill site that has been grinding flour for over 900 years. There are also recipe suggestions for the different products. This innovative service has strong green credentials, cutting down on food miles by getting producers to ship orders directly to the customer. There are currently 70 producers signed up to the site, which already offers over 500 products, with many new manufacturers joining each week.  The investment has enabled the company to make two new hires - Polly Randall who is working on marketing and PR and Andrew Seymour who is developing new features for the site. These new features include a location based search facility and tie-ins with broadcasters. Northstar’s experienced and approachable team is always keen to hear from innovative and creative entrepreneurs looking to develop their business. Please contact: Alasdair Greig Tel: 0191 229 2770


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HELpING THE RESEARCHERS Universities are behind much of the innovative work being carried out in the UK today and a £760,000 competition is under way to improve the way in which they can take advantage of their breakthroughs.

A total prize fund of £760,000 has been allocated. Applicants can bid for funding ranging from £10,000 to £100,000 for proposals that will improve the way in which their intellectual property and knowledge exchange is managed.

The idea, backed by the Government, is to ensure that researchers do not work in isolation but can obtain the support they need.

Baroness Wilcox said: “The development of intellectual property at UK institutions is vital to help them provide the starting blocks for new businesses to grow. By investing in innovative ideas at an early stage we will be giving institutions the best possible chance to support the future economic growth of the UK.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said the Fast Forward Competition encourages Higher Education Institutions and Public Sector Research Establishments to work with businesses and local communities to share research, innovation and intellectual property (IP). The aim is to invest in research and knowledge transfer projects that have the potential to create new companies or services which benefit both the UK economy and society.

“The Fast Forward competition recognises that education establishments are where groundbreaking ideas can be developed and turned into success stories.”


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UK Trade & Investment supports businesses in the North East looking to grow internationally. We work hard to ensure local businesses achieve success in foreign markets, and continuously encourage top overseas companies to look to the UK when choosing global partners. Whether you’re expanding your current international trade or exporting for the first time, we can support your growing ambitions. We are currently running a series of events called Sell to the World, aiming to encourage local companies to embrace the idea of trading overseas. We intend to showcase the vast resources and support we can offer, in order to help you achieve success.

To find out more about UKTI Sell to the World, or register your place at our next event, visit, email or call the North East International Trade hotline on 0845 05 05 054 For further information about UKTI products and services visit


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CAN YOUR BUSINESS SELL TO THE WORLD? It has never been been easier easierfor forNorth NorthEast Eastbusinesses businessestotodevelop developtheir their international international trade trade strategy. strategy.This Thiscan canbecome becomeaareality realitywith withthe thehelp helpofofUK UK Trade and Investment. Investment.With Withour ourexpertise expertiseand andexperience experienceofofdealing dealingwith with businesses worldwide, worldwide,we wecan canhelp helpyou youand andyour yourbusiness businessaccess accessthe the businesses international trade trade market marketwith withsuccess. success. international until March 2012 - A series of workshops workshops will willbe beheld heldatatvarious variouslocations locationsacross acrossthe theregion regionrunning running until March 2012 business community. all aiming to to assist assist businesses businessesininpresenting presentingtheir theirofferings offeringstotothe theinternational international business community. With the specialist support offered by UKTI,for theopportunities potential for abroad opportunities abroad for With the specialist support offered by UKTI, the potential for businesses businesses thehas North East hasmore neverpromising. been more promising. based in thebased North in East never been All workshops will will cover covertopics topicssuch suchas asthe thebasics basicsofofinternational internationaltrade, trade, researching export All workshops researching export markets, markets, agents and distributors, market-specific seminars, communications agents and distributors, market-specific seminars, communications and culture.and culture. New workshop topics dates being regularly. Available dates to bookand a place at are these freeadded workshops andPlease furthervisit details are as follows: for a list of forthcoming events.

Introduction to International InternationalTrad Trade Introduction to

Export Communications Communications

Are you thinking thinking about about taking takingyour yourproducts productsand andservices servicesabroad? abroad? This full-day This full-day workshop workshopwill willintroduce introduceyou youtotothe thefundamentals fundamentalsofof developing aa global developing global strategy, strategy,which whichcan canboost boostsales salesand andgrow growyour your business – whatever whatever its itssize. size. Learn the Learn the essentials essentials of: of:

It is vital to know know the the different differentchannels channelsofofcommunicating communicatingeffectively effectively before making making that that all-important all-importantstep stepto tolaunching launchingyour yourbusiness businesswithin the global The emergence of new technology has made within the marketplace. global marketplace. The emergence of new technology has made communication between businesses easier –when especially communication between businesses easier – especially trading when abroad.Whether you’re completely new to ecommunications or have simply hesitated in adding a new method of Whether you’re completely new to e-communications or have simply communication to your business plan, the necessity to build an hesitated in adding a new method of communication to your business online platform for your business is hard to avoid when it comes to plan, the necessity to build an online platform for your business is hard trading in foreign markets.This all-day event will polish your skills in: to avoid when it comes to trading in foreign markets. � Building your international online presence This all-day event will polish your skills in: � Developing positive online customer experience O Building yourainternational online presence

O your � Why Why trading tradingininforeign foreignmarkets marketscould couldbe bethe theright rightstep stepforfor your business business O Planning effectively when taking into consideration the key issues � Planning effectively when taking into consideration the key issues for for trading tradingoverseas overseas O Selecting target markets and routes to market � Selecting target markets and routes to market O The role of research in order to manage a strategic export plan � The role of research in order to manage a strategic export plann O Steps to conduct successful and effective research Steps to conduct successful and effective research O Perfecting your market entry strategy � Perfecting your market entry strategy

There will also be the opportunity to ask UKTI representatives about There will also be the opportunity to ask UKTI representatives about further support further support available availableininreaching reachingyour yourtarget targetmarket. market.Information Information packs will packs will be be available availableto totake takeaway. away. Key dates Key dates and and times: times: 10th November 10th November 2011 2011––9:30am 9:30am- -4:30pm 4:30pm –– Durham Durham County County Cricket CricketClub, Club,Chester-Le-Street Chester-Le-Street 17th November 17th November 2011 2011––9:30am 9:30am- -4:30pm 4:30pm – Stadium of Light, Light, Sunderland Sunderland Delegates will be provided with lunch and refreshments. Delegates will be provided with lunch and refreshments.

Business Culture Culture Doing business Doing business in in different differentcultures culturescan canmake makeororbreak breakyour your international reputation. international reputation.This Thisfree freemorning morningsession sessionwill willgive givedelegates: delegates: O An increased awareness of the cultural differences that exist in the Middle East, Asia andcultural the Americas, through � Europe, An increased awareness of the differences that real-life exist in case studies of best East, and worst Europe, the Middle Asia practice and the Americas, through real-life case studiesonofthe best and worst practice O Information decision-making hierarchies present in businesses from different cultures to hierarchies help you excel in cross-cultural � Information on the decision-making present in communication businesses from different cultures to help you excel in crosscultural communication O Practical tips and advice on how to avoid ineffective communication, cantips hinder business and waste � which Practical andpotential advice on how to opportunities avoid ineffective precious time andwhich resources for all parties involved communication, can hinder potential business opportunities waste Keyand dates andprecious times: time and resources for all parties involved. Check for an up to date list of available 20th October 2011 – 9:30am - 12:30pm workshops and Middlesbrough seminars. – Thistle Hotel,

� The art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how to make the O Developing a positive online customer experience most of it O The art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how to make the � most Verbalofinteraction between your business and foreign markets it O Verbal � Planning your export communications strategy with clear interaction between your business and foreign markets objectives to ensure maximum impact when building a O Planning your export communications strategy with clear objectives relationship with businesses abroad. to ensure maximum impact when building a relationship with Check for an up to date list of available businesses abroad workshops and seminars. Key dates and times:

26th October 2011 – 9:30am - 4:30pm – Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne. 2nd November 2011 – 9:30am - 4:30pm – Thistle Hotel, Middlesbrough. Whether your business to deal in trading to new Delegatesyou willare be expanding provided with lunch and refreshments. countries or exporting for the first time, UKTI workshops will provide you and your business with the most effective tools and reassurance Whether you aresuccess. expanding your business to deal in trading to new for international countries or exporting for the first time, UKTI workshops will provide All workshops are free to attend and can be booked online via you and your business with the most effective tools and reassurance or by contacting the North East for international success. International Trade Hotline on 0845 05 05 054.

All workshops are free to attend and can be booked online via www. UKTI works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in or by contacting the North East International Trade international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies Hotline onthe 0845 054. to look to UK05 as05 their global partner of choice. For further UKTI works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in information visit international markets, and encourage the best to Further information about the workshops can overseas be found companies at: look to the UK as their global partner of choice. For further information or by emailing visit Further information about the workshops can be found at: or by emailing

27th October 2011 – 9:30am - 12:30pm – Stadium of Light, Sunderland


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Variable Polarity Submerged Arc Welding

Over the last ten years, improvements to power source technology have allowed the application of variable polarity in SAW; this process variant has come to be termed as variable polarity submerged arc welding (VPSAW). VPSAW power sources provide options to the welding engineer to alter the standard square wave AC arc for balance (the time spent on one polarity) and offset (the amount of power on each polarity), as shown in Figure 1 below.

This change in the proportion of time/energy spent on a particular polarity will affect the burn-off rate of the electrode and therefore influence the deposition rate of the process as shown in Figure 2 or the weld bead profile produced, as shown in Figure 3. In addition, the mechanical properties produced during welding could also be influenced favourably.

Deposition rates for changing polarity using a single wire 12.00 Constant Current 10.00 8.56 8.37




Figure 1: a) Balance



8.00 6.76

6.99 6.93






10.87 10.55

Constant Voltage


In welding of thick section structures, weld metal can be deposited using a number of process options. The choice of process to be applied depends on many factors, including but not limited to: the requirements for mechanical properties, the welding position and volume of the weld to be produced. For structures such as pressure vessels, deck fabrications and wind turbines (onshore and offshore), submerged arc welding (SAW) is commonly used. This process offers some of the highest deposition rates (4-10kg/hr) available for arc welding processes and, by altering the wire flux combinations, allows a high degree of control of the mechanical properties produced. The limitation, however, is that the use of a flux precludes all-position welding.

AC Square Wire 75

AC Square Wire 50 Polar

AC Square Wire 25


Figure 2: effect of changing polarity on deposition rate when using a single 4mm electrode

b) Offset


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DCEP Application of VPSAW technology

AC 50%

DCEP Figure 3: Weld bead proďŹ le changes with changes in polarity

VPSAW offers solutions to the needs of a fabricator attempting to reduce welding times and improve weld metal properties. Using the flexibility offered by the power source, electrode positive (DCEP) polarity can be used for root runs to maintain deep penetration and AC polarity (with balance biased towards negative polarity) for fill and capping runs used to maximise deposition rates and productivity. Combined with the use of novel edge preparation methods such as high speed grinding, the critical path for fabrication can be even further reduced. In order to address issues with bottle necks in fabrication caused by a requirement to increase deposition rates, TWI propose to launch a group sponsored project (GSP). The project will address some of these issues through a review of current manufacturing practices, investigation into high productivity fabrication and weld preparation manufacture, and developing reliable inspection through the use of phased array NDT techniques. For further information on this project, please contact.


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Caterpillar’s facility at Peterlee in County Durham is one of 3 sites in the region

Caterpillar forecasting record year Manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc, which employs more than 1,200 staff in the North East, has far exceeded analyst expectations with a 44% rise in quarterly profits. The US company said it expects full-year 2011 profit and revenue to be at the top end of its previous outlook range due to strong demand. In 2012, the company sees revenue increasing 10-20% above the $35bn in sales it expects this year, although it continues to make contingency plans for a potential downturn. Caterpillar said it ended the third quarter in one of the healthiest positions in its recent history with orders standing at record levels and higher commodity prices leading to a

favorable environment for its growing mining business. Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillars chairman and chief executive, said last night: This was the best quarter for sales in our history, and our order backlog is at an all-time high. The company lifted its 2011 revenue forecast to $58bn, the top of its previous guidance of between $56-58bn. Caterpillar has three sites in the North East, including one at Peterlee in County Durham, where they have recruited more than 200 new staff in the last two years after cutting around 400 jobs as the recession hit the construction industry. The firm also manufactures parts for its machines in Stockton and East Cleveland.


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2/11/11 10:55:40

Ashley Cooper, Chief Executive of Reinnervate

SpIN-OUT COMpANy SCOOpS AN ‘OSCAR FOR INNOVATION’ Reinnervate, an innovative biotechnology company founded by Professor Stefan Przyborski of Durham University’s School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, has won a major international research and development award at the prestigious Annual R&D 100 Awards. The company’s breakthrough 3D cell structure technology, alvetex®, was chosen by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine to be among the hundred most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year. The award was presented to reinnervate at a special Gala Awards Banquet on October 13, at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel, SeaWorld, Florida, USA. Reinnervate has also announced that it has signed agreements with seven new European distributors for the non-exclusive distribution of alvetex. These agreements mark a significant expansion of reinnervate’s distribution network. Under the terms of the new agreements, alvetex will be distributed and sold under the reinnervate brand by regional distributors of life sciences research products—Generon (UK), Biozol GmbH (Germany), Chemie Brunschwig AG (Switzerland), THP Medical Products (Austria), In Vitro AS (Denmark), Euroclone (Italy), and Bio Connect (the Benelux region). Following the recent expansion of reinnervate’s distribution network in Asia and Australia, the appointment of these new distributors further increases the company’s global reach, enabling more researchers to directly access the alvetex 3D technology platform. Professor Przyborski’s company assists in the funding of eight research PhDs in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Chemistry, with a view to benefiting from the technology that the students help to develop. In collaboration, reinnervate then further builds on the

research, developing products here in the UK so that they are ready for the international bio-tech market. Alvetex is a unique and proprietary cell structure scaffold that, for the first time, enables genuine 3D cell growth to be performed routinely and cost effectively in cell biology laboratories. Professor Stefan Przyborski, reinnervate’s Chief Scientific Officer and founder, said: “We were delighted to hear that reinnervate has received this prominent accolade for its accomplishment in developing a solution for routine three dimensional cell culture. “Technology has now advanced to the stage where scientists can move away from basic two dimensional models simulating cell growth in the laboratory. Alvetex creates more valuable three dimensional systems providing information that is more relevant as to how cells function in real tissues. We envisage that alvetex technology will be used in conventional cell culture laboratories around the world.” Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards have identified revolutionary technologies newly introduced to the market, many of which have become household names. Winners are picked from industry sectors as diverse as telecommunications, high-energy physics, software, manufacturing, and biotechnology and represent a cross-section of industry, academia, private research firms and government labs. Based at NETPark in County Durham, Reinnervate was founded in 2002 based on the pioneering research of Professor Stefan Przyborski and his colleagues at Durham University, UK, and is funded by NorthStar Equity Investors (NSEI), management and private investors. Alvetex was also named as one of the top ten life science innovations of 2010 by The Scientist magazine.


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Innovation Class of 2011 “60% of all new product development efforts are scuttled before they reach the market*” “40% that are launched, fail to become profitable and are withdrawn*” “75% of all innovation investments are wasted*” *Clayton Christensen & Raynor, (2003) “The Innovator’s Solution” Frightening statistics for any entrepreneur on their innovative product journey. NETPark Net launched their Innovation Management Academy (IMA) Programme over a year ago designed to help their member companies to boost their innovation performance and defy these product failure rates. The programme delivers a structured framework for defining a consistent innovation process for the “Front End”, which can: n Improve the clients’ ability to spot the best opportunities and

ideas, n Better identify customer needs n Link innovation processes to a business strategy n Manage a product portfolio n Understand how to better take products to market n Engage and develop collaborative ventures though open

innovation This is being conducted over a period of 18 month period where the ten selected companies are put through their paces via Masterclasses, themed roundtable discussions, webinars, and supplemented reading best-practice innovation reports. Jenny Kwok, NETPark Net Executive and programme manager for IMA said, “Our cohort of companies were individually selected and interviewed, taking only those who are serious and committed about improving their product development processes – it’s not an easy course, but building a successful innovative product is not an easy achievement.” In its twelfth month, some of the companies, like Steve Todd from Windpressor Ltd, are already seeing results - “By applying the techniques and methodologies, I have learnt on the IMA course, I have been able to fast-track my product to market and take a more structured approach to research and development. I’ve found it very useful and eye-opening.” One of the participants who is developing several products,

Dr Anwar Bashir from Hypersmart commented, “The IMA Programme has been of invaluable assistance to Hypersmart. The Programme has enlightened the company to areas such as; IP landscaping, Blue Ocean Thinking; Innovation Strategy. Knowledge gathered is being “bedded” into the companies’ operations and will enable the company not only to sustain current operations, but develop and grow into new markets.” The Programme is not purely for technology-based companies, a number of them are larger organisations, who already have a successful businesses, but this is no reason for them to stop learning; Julian Pearson, Commercial Director at Roman Ltd added, “This Programme has been an inspiration in terms of our business focus. We are now spending more time at the front end of the design process. We have used process/models learnt during the course and implemented in to the business to improve performance. The Programme has been a useful source of information and knowledge for us to use with our own business.” Chris Lawer, MD of Strategyn, recently led the IMA Masterclass (19th October), on “Identifying Unmet Customer Needs for Market Advantage” asserted “it not just about product development, but opportunity development. Companies need to implement a process to identify market opportunities for profitable innovation.” NETPark Net is keeping a close eye on this pioneering Programme. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Jenny Kwok, NETPark Net Executive on 0191 370 8683 or email “I’ve taken part in many management courses over the past 30 years as a member of large organisations. The IMA Programme has updated me with the latest theory and practice in business innovation, and the attendance with other SMEs and their combined and shared experience has been very beneficial.” Andrew Chalmers, Filter Integrity Ltd “The IMA Programme has helped us develop an innovation culture with in the business.” Graham Speed, Roman Showers Ltd “We are very positive with the [Innovation Management Academy] Programme, and NETPark has been significant in providing support and project management of our innovations. Excellent. Well done to NETPark.” Thomas Bayat, GlowLED Ltd. “ A stimulating environment with like-minded innovative people to explore business needs and explore solutions common to our roles and in our businesses. It has broadened my outlook and approach to innovation.” Lucy Carr-Seaman, Airowear Ltd


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