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for engineers and business leaders

Introduction The AAE iNet – Your Strategic Partner for Innovation and Growth.


Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments and society. This definition must be correct because I got it from Wikipedia! Wikipedia was started in 2001 and is now accessed by 14.5% of all internet users and it’s a great example of high growth achieved through innovation. I’m sure that Wikipedia didn’t do everything right, just as I’m sure they are not the best, but they successfully gained long term market acceptance by identifying their business critical factors and responding accordingly. We can’t all be good at everything but we are all good at something. The trick is to identify the critical factors and develop our capability in those areas. Developing a successful strategy can be as simple as these three stages: 1) 2)


Diagnosis – diagnose the critical factors in your current situation Guiding Principles – develop one or more statements that describe your approach to addressing the factors that are critical to improving your situation Action Steps – identify the specific action steps to implement your guiding principles

The AAE iNet Innovation and Technology Review is an in-house diagnostic session to help you to identify the critical factors that will assist you with Innovation and Growth. Attendance at one of our Innovation for Growth Workshops is a fast-track way of developing innovative action steps that will move your business forward. We also provide in-depth follow on support with critical areas including Creativity, Marketing, and New Product and Process Development. If we can’t help, we can point you in the direction of people who can. This issue of Connect includes contributions from Lynch Motor Company, Innovative Vehicle Systems and Rockwood Composites, all great examples of businesses making real progress with iNet support – so can you!

A part of

Funded by

Led by

Inside Connect Page 1 Introduction and welcome

Page 2 National Composites Centre

Page 3 ITAR & EECN Rockwood Composites

Page 4 Lynch Motor Company Innovative Vehicle Systems

Page 5 Casting Support Systems Ltd

Page 6 iNet Advanced Manufacturing Conference 2012 UWE MBA Programme

Open for business and ready to support YOU! In November 2009 the Government launched the UK Composites Strategy. The Strategy highlighted the importance of composites to the future of UK manufacturing, and the Government’s plans for ensuring that the UK has the means to succeed in intensely competitive global markets. A key part of this strategy was the establishment of the National Composites Centre (NCC), to bring together dynamic companies and enterprising academics to develop new technologies for the design and manufacture of advanced composites. The NCC was officially opened by Dr. Vince Cable on November 24th, 2011. The NCC is a purpose built 8,500m2 state-of-the-art centre on the Bristol and Bath Science Park. The South West region is already at the forefront of composites development, both as a research hub and as a manufacturing base, and the NCC capitalises and builds on this. The NCC provides manufacturing facilities at an industrial scale capable of building prototypes to validate design concepts. Working with the NCC offers the opportunity to develop, adapt, scale up and validate new and existing processes and technologies. Through innovative collaborative ventures, technology and knowledge transfer, access to state-of-the-art equipment, specialist software, and access to an established network of experience, members benefit from working alongside other leading original equipment manufacturers, material and equipment suppliers, and, of course, potential customers. Apart from leading advanced composites in the UK, the NCC leads the co-ordination of a strengthened network of regional centres of composites excellence; these centres work together to support, develop and lead all composite capabilities in the UK. The NCC provides direction and focus for fundamental research and collaborative links with UK universities, which members are able to influence and direct. It also helps to develop and co-ordinate training to support the skills base necessary for applying advanced and specialist composite technologies. The centre influences research funding bodies and acts as a focal point for composite funding, as well as a proven collaborative vehicle, in which all sectors and companies will benefit from the cross fertilisation of capabilities. Membership opportunities exist for small, medium and large companies from all sectors with an interest in the Composite Industry. Smaller companies will benefit from access to a wide established network with access to the business support services that the centre offers. The NCC is the hub of the Composites industry in the UK, and provides good connections with the Composites Skills Alliance and the Composite Trade Association (Composites UK). SME Support available! In addition to their manufacturing facilities, the NCC offers a specialist advice service to SME’s to assist Companies in evaluating the opportunities for capitalising on the many benefits which Composites can bring to innovative manufacture of many items. The NCC Specialist Engineering Team has considerable experience in the design and manufacture of a wide range of items in composite materials, combined with significant materials technology knowledge. The stepping stones for benefitting from this service are: 1.



Complete a simple questionnaire which simply summarises the application you have identified which may benefit from some input from the NCC. One of our engineers will then review your idea, and advise if he/she thinks it is worth your while pursuing the application further with the NCC. If so, the NCC offers you a free-of-charge 1 ½ hour dialogue at the NCC with an appropriate specialist engineer to explore the challenge and issues in more detail. This meeting time will be set by mutual agreement. If further engineering support is considered to be beneficial, then NCC engineering support can be provided on a chargeable rate basis. Joining the NCC as an Affiliate could be the way to harness these opportunities. Supported access may also be available through the i-nets scheme.

GET IN TOUCH. To find out more:-; 0117 3707 600;


ITAR & ECCN I’ve been exporting for over thirty years and I’ve never had an export licence! Companies acknowledge that export controls apply to bombs, tanks, ammunition and fighter jets but what about commercial avionics, aero engines and seals & gaskets? You may have seen references to ITAR or been asked what the ECCN is of your product but have not really given this much thought. After all, aren’t these US terms? This is England; the US has no jurisdiction over here! Incredible as it may seem, some commercial aerospace products, software and technology are subject to export controls and, the US enforce re-export controls that impact transfers within the UK, the nationality of employees, conversations and visitors. So here are some examples of how controls affect the aerospace industry: 1. 2.

3. 4. 5.


Small changes like drilling new holes or adding fittings or configuration are modifications. Items ‘specially designed or modified for military use’ require an export licence to all countries, even to the EU. Commercial navigation equipment, seals & gaskets, aero engines and related software and technology appear on the Dual-Use list because although they may have been designed for aerospace purposes they could be used in missile systems. Supplying machinery, tooling, drawings and/or software to an overseas company may require an export licence because you are exporting the ‘know-how’ to manufacture items. Items hand-carried outside the UK are exports e.g. tooling, spare parts, maintenance information, mobile phone or a laptop that can receive and access ‘controlled’ information. Use of US product, software or technology in the UK is subject to US re-export controls which include transfer within the UK and non-UK persons having access the ‘controlled’ item.

This is all very complex and so, WEAF are planning a series of training events in conjunction with the Elizabeth Carter MD of Import & Export Solutions who is happy to answer any of your questions. Please contact Angela Weids at or call 01275 872353 to express your interest in these sessions.

Rockwood Composites Built on a long history of manufacturing achievements, Rockwood Composites are known for providing cost effective manufacturing solutions to technically demanding composite structures. Rockwood’s main activities are the out-of-Autoclave processes of bladder and compression moulding with pre-preg materials. This is targeted toward Aerospace, Defence, Medical and other high technology sectors; but Rockwood’s wish is to move into their own product manufacture. With a background in processing advanced thermoplastic materials by stamping, winding and pultruding, and having built a number dedicated “lights out” manufacturing cells. Thermoplastic products should be seen as the preferred solution for UK manufacturing companies, where production labour costs are high, and as a way forward in generating UK manufacturing, whilst competing against low cost countries. High performance thermoplastic tubes seem a potential opportunity to moving into own product manufacture. However a good idea is not enough to ensure a viable product,especially one aimed at a worldwide market. Following discussions with WEAF, Mark Crouchen (Rockwood’s MD) contacted iNET South West for an independent project review. With only an outline manufacturing system and a short list of potential end uses Dr John Bradford embarked upon an Innovation and Technology Review (ITR) to assess the project viability. Dr Bradford was able to access a wide range of technical and commercial data when compiling his review, and was able to take a pragmatic and holistic view of the project away from the day to day business activities. The result was a report detailing a product line with a multi-million pound sales potential and worldwide demand. Mark Crouchen commented that “The ability for small companies to access this type of high quality information is very limited. This strengthens UK manufacture opportunities and helps in obtaining project funding. I am very pleased with the iNET contribution”

Lynch Motor Company Ltd Lynch Motor Company has been designing and manufacturing DC electric motors and generators for over 20 years. LMC motors are very compact, with high power to weight ratios and 90% efficiency, making them ideal for current electric and hybrid applications. What initially started out as supplying a specialist group of electric vehicle enthusiasts has now turned LMC into a world-wide provider of high performance products for a whole range of applications ranging from 2 to 4 wheel vehicles, marine drives, industrial drives, military and aerospace. The Acciona sailing team has designed and built the world’s first 100% sustainable, self-sufficient 60ft monohull ship to compete in the IMOCA Ocean racing world championships. LMC have worked closely with the research and design team to develop and supply the electric motor power required and bespoke drive system. We were very pleased to hear that the ship passed the pull test to be classed as an official IMOCA racer. Working with the iNet and UWE a Quickmark project has been undertaken to assess the market for LMC motors in the marine sector. This service will prove invaluable for LMC as it establishes itself as a world leader for low voltage high performance solutions. LMC has the knowledge and expertise to work with system builders to develop new and exciting applications for this proven technology. For more details please visit

Innovative Vehicle Systems Innovative Vehicle Systems Ltd (IVSL) is a high tech company based in the south west developing a novel collision warning system for motor vehicles. Proof of concept has been achieved and the company is now actively seeking further investment to fund development. A constant partner throughout has been i-NET whose advisors have been an invaluable source of expert advice. IVSL’s technology brings together established hardware and conceptually straightforward software in a novel way to alert drivers should they encroach on the safe braking distance. Current systems are expensive and complicated and typically part of a vehicle’s on-board systems. This is slowing the up-take of the technology despite the obvious need. Each year, global road traffic accidents lead to 50 million injuries, 1.2 million deaths and more than $500 billion in economic losses. It is likely that, by 2020, traffic crashes will be the sixth-largest cause of death worldwide. IVSL’s technology will modify driver behaviour and will have a number of additional benefits beyond simply reducing the number and severity of collisions, including a reduction in fuel consumption with consequent environmental emission benefits. Tyres, brakes and transmission systems will last longer and it is confidently predicted that system users will benefit from reductions in insurance costs. A demonstration can be seen at From a market opportunity perspective there are roughly 300m vehicles in Europe. The UK’s vehicle parc is some 30m and in broad terms the commercial vehicle parc is one tenth of the total in both the UK and EU. IVSL are targeting several niche segments, the commercial fleet sector being the primary focus. There are a number of sound reasons for this, not least the prediction that the fuel savings alone will pay for the equipment within a year. IVSL are keen to network within the automotive safety sector and are currently looking for a small number of commercial fleet operators to partner with. For more details contact George Ferrie,


Casting Support Systems Ltd Paignton based Plastic Injection Moulders Casting Support Systems Ltd and sister Tool making company Investment Casting Systems Ltd are both heavily involved in manufacturing for the Defence and Aerospace sectors. Both companies hold ISO9001 and AS100 accreditation.


Casting Support Systems Ltd has been involved in plastic injection moulding for over 30 years and whilst it has its own range of products is now producing moulded components up to 3.6 kilos shot weight on machines which range from all electric Fanuc 15 ton lock up to Sandretto hydraulic lock machines up to 820 tons. Together with secondary operation facilities the company can provide a ‘one stop shop’ providing excellent service and backup. Tooling is invariably designed and manufactured in-house, providing a secure facility ideal where products are subject to an NDA. Investment Casting Systems Ltd is a member of the Gauge and Tool makers Association and with its in house design facility can provide a first class service for companies looking to source tooling for a wide range of industries many of which are engaged in the manufacture of Gas Turbines and associate engineering. Wax pattern dies, Plastic Injection Mould tools, Die Casting tools, Press tools, Jigs and Fixtures are some of the tooling made. More recently ICS has become involved with the design and manufacture of Aluminium and Resin tools for the Carbon Composite Industry and already has a reputation for building high end tools on short lead times for Aerospace sector customers in the USA and Europe.

Design is carried out in-house by associate design company Deltacad Ltd using Solid Works and Vero Cad Cam systems and has the capability to interpret and manipulate as required, most non-native data. Toolpaths are programmed using VISI Machining and streamed to the high speed CNC machining centers. Carbide cutting tools with the latest geometry are used to maximize speed and feeds rates, all held in a central library. The tool room houses CNC machining centers capable of machining a maximum of 2,500mm in the X axis, 1,500mm in the Y axis and 700mm in the Z axis together with the usual Spark Eroders, CNC and manual lathes and Grinders etc. In order to achieve rapid turn around times we set up a number of individual work pieces around a single datum which run over night for lights out machining. A typical production tool is the Seat Shell tooling, manufactured and assembled in only 9 days. This was achieved using accurately predicted toolpath cutting times allowing us to switch component manufacture with minimal down time, longest runs being programmed to run overnight utilizing 3 high speed machining centers. The complete assembled, multi insert tool was sent to the customer for lay-up and production, where the final carbon fibre component measuring 700mm x 680mm x 460mm, weighed 5.25 lbs was ‘right first time with virtually no visible split lines. Looking to the future the CSS Group intends to expand the manufacturing capacity on all fronts moving towards production of larger components and tooling, focusing on emerging markets.

iNet Conference 22 May 2012 - Taunton Racecourse This event not only celebrates the success of the companies speaking at the event but also recognises the importance of the sector to the SW. We have one of the world’s leading Supply Chain experts Richard Lamming, who we are sure will be not only entertaining but will highlight some of the key themes that manufacturing will need to address to enable it to grow. Finally we will get to hear about the National Composite centre which is based (yes you guessed it) here in the SW. For more information or to book please visit

UWE MBA programme offers expertise to SW advanced engineering companies

With keynote speaker:

Prof Richard Lamming Visiting Professor at Manchester Business School

UWE’s MBA programme is linking up with the South West’s Advanced Engineering and Aerospace iNet (AAE iNet) to offer free business expertise to advanced engineering companies. The Bristol MBA is designed to allow postgraduate students to take a step toward senior management by providing them with the skills they will need to improve business and service performance, achieve change, bring out the best in people, boost profitability and deliver long-term success through innovative strategic thinking.

“During 2012, there are 10 project opportunities - five individual projects and five group projects for businesses that would like concentrated assistance in areas such as: • Developing marketing strategies and campaigns • Consideration of HR process such as induction and recruitment • Investigation into implementation of a future IT system • Review of existing project management strategies and procedures “Projects would ideally commence April 2012 and be relatively local to Bristol. There’s no fee to pay, though reasonable travel expenses would be expected to be covered by the company.” “Projects focus on a real problem or issue facing an organisation, a practical investigation is undertaken leading to clear recommendations for action. In addition to the postgraduate involvement, the AAE iNET can provide additional academic expertise.” WEAF member company Third Dimension, based in Filton, has already benefited from the expertise of a UWE MBA student. The company supplies optical measurement systems to the manufacturing industry worldwide, including aerospace manufacturers, for geometry checks and quality control. CEO Peter Marchbank said, “Working with placement students gave us access to a fantastic professional resource that provided a meaningful contribution whilst allowing us to give something back to the community.” For more information on the link between the UWE MBA programme and the AAE iNet, e-mail Dr John Bradford on or phone 0117 32 86695.


Spring Connect 2012  

Connect magazine published by WEAF

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