Culham Centre SME engagement day

Culham, 13 September 2017.

UKAEA is hosting a networking and information day for small and medium-sized companies which could supply products or services to the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

Jet torus

With an annual spend of £200 million for the next 10 years, plus a further £21 million funding for the MAST upgrade – around half of which is channelled through tier one and two suppliers – the UK’s centre for fusion research presents a valuable and active market to nuclear-ready suppliers.

Exhibitors will have the opportunity for one-to-one “meet the buyer” interviews with procurement specialists from UKAEA and top-tier suppliers including AmecFW, Assystem, Atkins, Cavendish Nuclear, Jacobs, Mott MacDonald and Nuvia. The Nuclear AMRC will also be attending.

Prices for exhibiting and networking start at £735+VAT. For more information, contact Industrial Exhibitions Ltd:

Storer appointed chief executive

Andrew Storer has been appointed chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC, after two years as managing director.

He succeeds Mike Tynan, who has now retired after four years leading the centre and 42 years in the nuclear industry. Below, Storer introduces his vision for the centre.

Andrew Storer

I have been at the Nuclear AMRC since October 2015, but I’ve been involved since the beginning. I was programme director for Rolls-Royce’s civil nuclear business, and we needed somewhere to develop manufacturing techniques to help deliver potential contracts.

Back in 2012/13, the centre was dominated by one customer responsible for 85 per cent of work. Those early years were about creating the physical assets and starting to think seriously about supply chain support.

Since then, Mike Tynan has spent a lot of time and effort getting the Nuclear AMRC into the fabric of the nuclear industry. Within the past year, we have diversified the customer base so we are no longer dominated by any one company, while increasing overall revenue. We have opened a new centre in Birkenhead for modules and local supply chain support. We are really well engaged with Sellafield, and see this as a great relationship for the future.

We still have a lot more to do. More than ever, the UK nuclear industry needs to work as one, building on the good things across the sector and not just re-inventing everything in silos. Consolidating procurement plans across the sector would help us all understand volumes, stimulate UK investment, and leverage economies of scale. Research needs to be targeted at today’s scope of work as well as future needs, to help companies make things at lower cost and with greater repeatability while meeting quality demands.

This efficiency needs to be fed back to the consumer – nuclear is competing with other energy sources and we can’t take anything for granted. We must start by showing that we can deliver current programmes in new build, decommissioning and submarines, and keep generating 21 per cent of the UK’s electricity at EDF’s 15 operational reactors.

To support this cross-sector approach, we are working with the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) to develop a sector deal as part of the new industrial strategy. This is one of five initial deals proposed by the secretary of state, Greg Clark, and was presented at the Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) in July. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to positively change our sector, with some real game-changing topics which were all agreed as sensible areas for development.

The new energy minister, Richard Harrington, and his team are now working with NIC members to develop the details for presentation to Clark later this year. We hope this will trigger new approaches for current and future technology development and intellectual property in the UK.

So what does all this mean for Nuclear AMRC? We are now in the performing phase of the centre’s life. We intend to deliver more in-depth supply chain development, providing very specific support to companies against real opportunities. This will link back to our facilities in Rotherham and Birkenhead, providing more tangible disruptive manufacturing research based on industry pull as well as innovation push. We also plan to develop bases in the UK’s key nuclear regions, providing localised support to reduce the burden on the supply chain.

There’s nothing in our name to say we only work with metal – we intend to develop our research into electrical controls and instrumentation, which make up a large part of the value of a reactor plant and which fall within UK scope.

We recognise that qualification of equipment is a vital part of UK companies winning work, and are working very closely with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to provide additional support for this and other areas. And of course, we will develop our work on modules, which we see as fundamental to reducing cost, and which we are just starting to address at our new facility.

We have lots to do at the Nuclear AMRC and, as the new chief executive, it really does excite me. I look forward to continuing to work with everyone here at the centre and all our members, partners and friends in the nuclear industry.

F4N support for Welsh manufacturers

Welsh manufacturers wanting to get ready for opportunities in the nuclear industry can now claim additional support from the Welsh Government.

Economy secretary Ken Skates announced a second tranche of funding worth £450,000 to support 50 Welsh companies through the Fit For Nuclear programme.

“The nuclear sector will provide a wide range of business opportunities over the next 20 years and we want to ensure that businesses in Wales are in a position to bid for and win a share of this business,” said Skates. “In Wales, research has identified that Welsh businesses have the potential, with the relevant accreditations and organisational systems, to compete for a significant proportion of nuclear sector contracts both in Wales and further afield, and Welsh Government is eager to support business efforts to maximise their share for the benefit of the Welsh economy.”

F4N skyline

Fit For Nuclear (F4N) is a unique service, developed and delivered by the Nuclear AMRC, to help UK manufacturers get ready to bid for work in the civil nuclear supply chain. The programme enables companies to measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry – in new build, operations and decommissioning – and take the necessary steps to close any gaps.

The Welsh Government is currently supporting an initial 20 companies through the programme.

“The 20 Welsh companies currently working through the F4N programme have highlighted the wealth of high-quality manufacturers in Wales which could meet the demands of the nuclear industry,” said Helen Arthur, F4N programme manager. “We are very excited to continue working with the Welsh Government to make sure that more Welsh manufacturers can access our support and get ready to win work in the nuclear supply chain at home and worldwide.”

Expressions of interest are now being sought from businesses in Wales wishing to participate in the F4N programme – companies must register by 9 August 2017.

Eligible companies must have a manufacturing facility in Wales, a turnover of £1.6m or above and employ 10 or more people. For more information and to register interest, go to the Business Wales F4N site or email DigwyddiadauNiwclear.NuclearEvents@wales.gsi.gov.uk

 

NDA supply chain event

Thursday 2 November, Manchester.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and its site licence companies present their seventh annual supply chain event.

The 2017 NDA estate supply chain event, Delivering change together, aims to highlight opportunities along the supply chain, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses, and will include presentations from the NDA, site licence companies and key government speakers.

NDA logo

Last year’s showcase event attracted around 1,600 delegates, providing opportunities to network with more than 280 exhibiting companies. The event has a particular focus on SMEs, and aims to attract new businesses to the nuclear decommissioning sector.

Registration is free. For more information, go to: www.decommsupplyevent.co.uk

See our nuclear decommissioning intelligence page for more information on the opportunities for manufacturers.

Nuclear AMRC opens new modular manufacturing R&D centre in Birkenhead

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has opened its new modular manufacturing R&D centre, at the Birkenhead site of member company Cammell Laird.

The launch marks the start of a research collaboration led by Cammell Laird to develop modular manufacturing techniques to support the UK’s nuclear new build programme.

The Nuclear AMRC, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, works with UK manufacturers of all sizes to help them win work in the nuclear power sector. Its research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire is home to over £30 million worth of state-of-the-art machining, welding and inspection facilities, all of which are available for companies to use in collaborative R&D projects.

The new facility expands the Nuclear AMRC’s capabilities into modular manufacturing. Modular manufacturing involves the off-site assembly of large-scale complex systems, which are then transported to site for final installation.

Modular techniques are already widely used in shipbuilding, aerospace and other safety-critical industries. In the nuclear sector, they can significantly reduce construction risk and help deliver new power stations to schedule and cost.

The Nuclear AMRC Birkenhead facility was officially opened on Tuesday 4 July, with a launch event attended by around 50 industry delegates.

Birkenhead Brown Lester Elsy Storer

The event featured presentations from (L-R) Jonathan Brown, managing director for energy at Cammell Laird; Craig Lester, executive director for nuclear strategy at BEIS; Dick Elsy, chief executive officer for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult; and Andrew Storer, managing director of the Nuclear AMRC.

With over 1,000m2 of workshop space, the new facility will host specialised machining, joining and assembly equipment to develop and prove modular manufacturing techniques for nuclear applications. Work will address modular manufacturing for new reactors of all sizes, as well as the challenges of decommissioning and waste management.

Andrew Storer, managing director of the Nuclear AMRC, said: “Our new Birkenhead facility extends our capabilities into an area of huge interest and importance to the nuclear industry. Modularisation reduces risk in manufacturing and construction, and will help developers build new power stations on schedule and on budget, meeting our national targets for secure, cost-effective, low-carbon electricity generation.

“The manufacturing techniques we will develop at the new facility can also help improve production efficiency and costs in other parts of the nuclear market, for example in the manufacture of large numbers of standardised waste boxes for the decommissioning programme.

“Our Birkenhead facility is the first of a new network of regional supply chain hubs, which will help us provide on-the-ground support to companies of all sizes across the UK. Birkenhead is ideally placed for the established nuclear cluster in North West England as well as the Wylfa new build site in North Wales. We want to help companies based in this region to become Fit For Nuclear and win work in the nuclear sector at home and worldwide.”

Cammell Laird aerial

The Nuclear AMRC Birkenhead facility is hosted by Cammell Laird, which joined the Nuclear AMRC as a tier one member earlier this year. Cammell Laird’s 120-acre site on the Mersey features four dry docks, a non-tidal wet basin, a large modular construction hall and extensive covered workshops. The company has been involved with the UK’s nuclear sector for a number of years, and is positioning itself as a world-leading hub of modular manufacturing expertise.

Cammell Laird is now leading a new research project with funding from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

The project, called Fit For Modules, aims to develop the UK supply chain into a world-leading provider of modular manufacturing techniques for nuclear and other high-value energy sectors. The research consortium – including the Nuclear AMRC, Laing O’Rourke, Arup and Frazer-Nash Consultancy – will work with industry and regulators to map the challenges and opportunities of modularisation.

Jonathan Brown, managing director of Cammell Laird’s energy division, said: “Modularisation is widely applied on shipbuilding, civil construction and a number of other sectors where it is demonstrated to bring significant benefits in terms of cost reductions and improved schedule performance. We are confident that when applied correctly within the nuclear sector we will see similar benefits.”

The first stage of the project will produce a detailed study showing how the development of modular techniques can support the UK’s nuclear new build programme, and identifying what research and investment are needed to turn the UK into the world leader in off-site modular construction for the nuclear industry.

Immediately after the launch event, Cammell Laird hosted a two-day industry workshop to discuss modularisation challenges associated with process and methods, technologies and techniques, and people and culture. The project will also consider financial and supply chain issues around modularisation.

At the end of the first year-long phase, the consortium will publish a technology roadmap detailing how the required technologies and capabilities can be developed over the next five years. The report will be shared with industry, including the 120+ manufacturers who have completed the Nuclear AMRC’s Fit For Nuclear (F4N) supplier development programme.

Birchwood Nuclear Exhibition

Tuesday 11 July, Warrington.

The UK’s biggest independent nuclear suppliers’ exhibition comes to Birchwood Park, the heart of the North-West nuclear cluster.

The Birchwood Nuclear Exhibition will feature more than 70 exhibitors from along the nuclear supply chain, plus technology demonstrations, knowledge-sharing presentations and networking opportunities.

The event is organised by Nu-Tech Exhibitions & Events, with support from the Nuclear AMRC and the Fit For Nuclear programme, Nuclear Institute, North-West Nuclear Forum and Amec Foster Wheeler.

Nuclear AMRC CEO Mike Tynan will give the opening address, and the centre’s Mantra travelling showcase will be on site to give a hands-on taste of the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing.

The event is free to attend. For more information and to reserve your place, go to: www.nuclearexhibitions.com/BirchwoodEvent

Birchwood Park

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.

Fit For Nuclear delivering real impact

Nine out of 10 companies which have joined the Fit For Nuclear programme would recommend it to other manufacturers, according to a new survey.

Fit For Nuclear (F4N) is a unique service which lets manufacturers measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry – in new build, operations and decommissioning – and helps them take the necessary steps to close any gaps. F4N is delivered exclusively by the Nuclear AMRC, and supported by top-tier partners in nuclear new build and decommissioning.

Around 600 UK manufacturers have now taken the initial F4N online assessment, with most receiving ongoing support from the Nuclear AMRC’s industrial advisors and nuclear specialists. Completing the programme requires commitment and drive from senior managers, and typically takes 12–18 months.

Almost 100 companies at all stages of their F4N journey responded to the survey request in February. Nearly all are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Almost half of respondents said that they have already experienced meaningful business benefits, from demonstrable improvements in HSEQ measures to greater awareness of nuclear opportunities. A significant proportion say they have won new orders or enquiries as a result of their F4N journey – many more say it’s simply made their business better.

Around a quarter of companies said they would not have tried to develop their capabilities for nuclear sector if F4N support had not been available.

The survey results will help the Nuclear AMRC develop the F4N service to provide additional value to manufacturers.

“We welcome the frank comments in the survey about how we can refine the F4N service, and where manufacturers want to see additional support,” says Nuclear AMRC chief executive Mike Tynan. “One consistent message is the need for ongoing support after F4N granting, to make sure that companies can identify relevant opportunities and successfully bid for work. We are currently developing a number of new services to meet this demand.”

The survey also shows the appetite from SMEs for innovative R&D – 80 per cent of respondents said they would consider working with the Nuclear AMRC to solve their manufacturing problems and develop their capabilities, or are already doing so.

“Advanced technical capabilities and high-impact innovation are increasingly vital factors to winning nuclear work,” notes Tynan. “With the UK’s new build programme finally progressing, and the decommissioning programme reaching out to new suppliers, it’s a great time to start your F4N journey if you haven’t already.”

Download the full impact survey report.

F4N survey17

What manufacturers say about F4N:

  • “F4N is essential for companies who need to improve their status.” – David Toone, W Maass
  • “We are early on our improvement programme, however we are seeing significant improvements in the way our business operates.” – Peter Bruch, AE Aerospace
  • “F4N has forced us to think through every aspect of our business systems and ensure that they meet best practice.” – Jeremy Kemsley-Pein, Heatsense Cables
  • “We have over 20 years’ experience in the nuclear industry and we see F4N being very important for us to be considered for future new build projects.” – Paul Bunn, S&H Systems Design and Installation
  • “Great programme. More help with the next steps would enhance it further.” – Matthew Heaton, DAE Systems
  • “It will definitely change the company for the better, and well worth all the hard work.” – Chris Steele, WKW Precision Engineering

Start your F4N journey today.