Horizontal innovation challenge seeks innovative SMEs

UK SMEs can claim up to £50,000 of R&D support to develop their technologies for new industrial sectors including civil nuclear.

The new Horizontal Innovation programme, led by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), is seeking innovative UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) whose technology can be adapted and commercialised to solve societal and industry challenges in sectors that are new to the company.

Horizontal innovation promotes the transfer of technology from one sector to another. The new programme offers UK SMEs access to advanced technology support to enable their innovation or product to be commercialised and help solve problems in one of seven sector categories: healthcare, agri-tech, energy, food and drink, transport, construction and nuclear.

horizontal innovation

The nuclear challenge covers three broad technology areas:

  • Automation and mechanisation to support in-process inspection and verification, component manipulation and movement, and handling of hazardous waste.
  • Assembly and fabrication, covering modular manufacturing, in-process and through-life monitoring, and tracking and alignment of large assemblies.
  • Digital manufacturing for low-volume production, including enhanced workplace visualisation, digital workflow, and virtual training.

Proposals must be based on the use of wholly or mostly pre-existing technology which has not previously been used in the challenge sector. The winner in each category will be awarded up to £50,000 worth of applied R&D support to help adapt and scale up their innovation for the new application.

The new Horizontal Innovation programme builds on a pilot programme in 2016, when the IET teamed up with the Manufacturing Technology Centre to call for UK SMEs to solve a healthcare challenge. Warwickshire-based 3P innovation was awarded £35,000 to repurpose a simple ketchup and mayonnaise sauce squeezy bottle technology to help address catheter-associated urinary tract infections in UK hospitals.

IET president Jeremy Watson CBE said: “The IET’s Horizontal Innovation Programme offers financial support to SMEs to bring exciting and industry-cutting innovations to market. The UK is internationally renowned for its creativity, research and innovation, but often technologies or processes can get locked into one sector or industry. We want to break down barriers to sharing ideas to enable innovations to be used where they are needed, and not just in the sector in which they are created.

“Our aim is to reward and recognise some of the UK’s most promising small businesses in using horizontal innovation to deliver economic and societal benefits.”

HVM Catapult chief technology officer Sam Turner said: “Taking learning and technology from one sector and adapting it to achieve success in another sector is a core part of what we do. Our work with the construction industry, for example, involves introducing established manufacturing technologies from aerospace and automotive into a construction setting. This is proving to be a speedy, cost-effective and lower-risk way of innovating which has the potential to create real benefit, particularly for small and medium-sized companies.”

To be considered for the programme, SMEs should submit a proposal that demonstrates how their technology solution can be used and commercialised to solve a real-life issue in one of the seven sectors.

Online applications are open until 31 July 2017. For more information and to apply, visit www.theiet.org/horizontal-innovation

 

Nuclear New Build 2017

27–28 June 2017, London.

Organised by the Nuclear Industry Association at London’s County Hall, Nuclear New Build 2017 will bring together nuclear new build developers, the supply chain, and keynote speakers from inside and outside the nuclear sector.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Tom Samson, NuGen
  • Duncan Hawthorne, Horizon Nuclear Power
  • Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy
  • Mike Tynan, Nuclear AMRC
  • Dr Dame Sue Ion
  • Zhu Minhong, CGN

Hosted by Steph McGovern and with more than 350 people forecast to attend, the conference also offers a full social programme to provide unrivalled networking opportunities for delegates.

For more information and to register, go to: www.nuclearnewbuild2017.co.uk

NNB2017

 

EQ Alliance to tackle equipment qualification challenges

The Nuclear AMRC is working with a new alliance of Rolls-Royce, Lloyd’s Register, Assystem and Arexis to support the UK’s nuclear new build programme through equipment qualification.

Equipment qualification (EQ) is a systematic approach to ensuring that safety-critical components and systems being manufactured for new nuclear power stations meet the relevant quality standards.

The new EQ Alliance will produce a detailed report on EQ requirements for the UK new build programme, and examine the UK’s current capability to meet those requirements. The report, due in spring 2018, will provide vital strategic guidance to help ensure that UK manufacturers are ready to meet nuclear customer requirements, reducing the risks of new build while maximising the opportunities for the UK supply chain.

“UK suppliers aiming to win work in nuclear new build need to understand the requirements for qualifying safety-classified equipment,” says Andrew Storer, Nuclear AMRC managing director. “This can be a barrier to winning work in the nuclear sector, but is often overlooked.

“By developing the UK’s capabilities for equipment qualification, the EQ Alliance can help UK manufacturers win work. We can also help the UK become a recognised global centre for equipment qualification for the nuclear sector, providing new export potential. With four different reactor technologies being developed in the UK, helping UK suppliers understand the differences and identify common areas could provide significant efficiencies for new build projects worldwide.”

 

 

EQ Alliance news

The alliance will work closely with the Nuclear AMRC and industry stakeholders during the development phase.

Mark Tipping, offshore technology manager at Lloyd’s Register commented: “We are delighted to be working with our partners to ensure successful delivery of this EQ project for the Nuclear AMRC and, by extension, the UK’s ambitious nuclear build programme.

“EQ is an essential element in demonstrating that a nuclear power plant can be operated safely. It is a regulatory requirement which must be satisfied in order to obtain a licence to operate.”

“Ensuring a robust and agile EQ framework is in place will deliver significant technical and commercial benefits to the UK’s new build programme.” says Chris Tierney from Rolls-Royce. “We have partnered with some of the foremost companies in the industry to ensure the strongest combination of EQ expertise and the highest standards of delivery for the Nuclear AMRC.”

“The EQ Alliance will be leading the industry in the development and delivery of efficient methodologies to support the growing supply chain, and to provide clarity of EQ requirements to the extensive nuclear new build programmes across the UK,” says Bryn Thomas, head of strategic campaigns for Assystem. “We are committed to helping the new build developers in the UK learn from the experiences of other global nuclear developments”.

Raphael Schirrer, chief executive officer at Arexis, says: “The approach of the EQ Alliance brings a unique accumulated pool of EQ expertise with highly skilled resources from all consortium members.”

Over the next 12 months, the EQ Alliance will investigate the UK’s capabilities to meet and manage the EQ requirements of the various technologies being developed for the UK’s nuclear new build programme, and help the Nuclear AMRC make recommendations for intervention.