Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.
“In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy. Enable Manufacturing Ltd and the development of its Additive Casting technology, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people,” said Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr. Ian Campbell.
Under this initiative, Enable has launched a project that is scheduled to run until April 2021 and during which the company will be designing and producing parts, using all three processes currently available for Additive Casting:
Sandcasting for large parts (up to 60 tons)
Investment casting for fine detail (up to 250 x 250 x 250mm)
Investment casting for ultra-fine detail (up to 190 x 160 x 160mm)
The design of the parts will include designs that are optimised for the Additive Casting process as well as designs that cannot be manufactured using traditional manufacturing methods and that must utilise additive manufacturing technology.
Parts will be produced in four different materials including magnesium, which cannot be used in direct 3D metal printing processes due to its highly volatile nature. However, magnesium is a very desirable material in the motorsport industry, for instance, due to its lightweight properties.
The goal of this project is to prove the concept of Additive Casting and to obtain hard evidence that will prove that Additive Casting is currently the only manufacturing method on the market utilising additive manufacturing technology, that can produce highly complex metal parts, in nearly any size or production volume, in more than 130 materials to existing quality standards applicable to the aerospace, automotive, marine and heavy industries sectors.
“We strongly believe that Additive Casting is a game-changing technology that will help UK companies innovate quicker, make better quality products and re-shore production for a more sustainable manufacturing model. In this sense, Additive Casting could play an important role in the UK’s recovery post COVID and our journey towards a zero-emission economy. But for us at Enable this grant also means that there are people and organisations who believe in our technology and are prepared to help bring it to market successfully. And for this we want to thank Innovate UK,” explained Jon Wright, Technical Manager at Enable Manufacturing.