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Composites centre doubles capacity

Small businesses in the UK will have better access to facilities to help them develop composite materials for aerospace, automotive and other industries, following the expansion of a national design and manufacturing centre.

The National Composites Centre, based at the University of Bristol, opened an extension that doubles its capacity on 3 November. The extension was paid for with £28 million of government funding, announced in the autumn statement in 2012, from Innovate UK, formerly the Technology Strategy Board, and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Part of the investment has been used to install a high-rate manufacturing press for composites manufacturing—the largest of its kind in the world, according to a government statement. Peter Chivers, the centre’s chief executive, said at the launch that the press was capable of producing parts in less than 6 minutes. Further investment will also be made in automated technologies. 

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