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£950,000 project aims to slash new product costs

08 February, 2023

The UK’s High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult is launching a £950,000 project to cut development costs and times to market for new products, by using techniques such as computer modelling  and simulated testing rather than relying solely on the destructive physical stress-testing that has long been the standard practice in manufacturing.

The three-month project aims to accelerate the UK’s capabilities in “certification by analysis” – the term used to describe the testing of goods through techniques such as modelling and simulated testing.

Digital technologies, simulation and advances in mathematics offer significant opportunities to optimise the use of physical testing. However, transitioning to the new approach will be a major challenge.

The collaborative project – called Towards Product Certification by Analysis – is being led by the HVM Catapult, supported by the National Composites Centre, the University of Sheffield AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre), the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, and the MTC (Manufacturing Technology Centre).

The project aims to identify and take early steps to accelerating certification by analysis in the UK. A team recruited from industry, regulators, academia and the HVM Catapult network, will develop an product certification assessment framework, the results of which will form the basis for a roadmap.

The traditional “make and test” approach to product development may no longer be ideal. New manufacturing techniques, increasing product complexity, and the need to keep costs and development times competitive, mean that new regulatory and certification frameworks and techniques are needed.

In addition, net-zero targets demand a change in the way new products are designed and manufactured. Certification will be key, because companies and consumers must be confident that the goods they buy meet safety and performance standards.

The certification framework will assess the relative readiness of individual products to transition to certification by analysis, and identify the key challenges. The framework will be tested against industrial case studies with the team producing a detailed study establishing the first steps towards accelerating the certification of composite and steel pressure vessels in current and future applications.

The project team will also collate current best practice from across industrial sectors, delivering case studies where certification by analysis has proven effective, and publishing a report on its findings. As part of the project, an engineering IT test environment will be created, allowing the team to work with software vendors to evaluate future digital ecosystem needs for certification by analysis.

This three-month seed project also includes an initial assessment of skills and training gaps.

“Customer confidence in the safety, quality and performance of new products is critical to their success,” says HVM Catapult CEO, Katherine Bennett. “Certification for the net-zero world is not simply a case of ‘digitising’ today’s processes – we need to define a new way whereby complex products are validated and regulated. The UK has an opportunity to lead in this area, accelerating pathways to certification by developing new UK standards that encourage the use of analysis techniques.”

Bennett: “We need to define a new way whereby complex products are validated and regulated”

Companies interested in the project, or who wish to provide best practice use cases on digital certification, are asked to contact the HVM Catapult. The project team will be holding workshops over the coming three months to gather input from a range of parties. For more information, contact digitalengineering@nccuk.com

HVM Catapult:  Twitter  LinkedIn




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