Quantum technology, advanced robotics and surgical simulations will be among the leading-edge technology on display at this year’s Royal Academy of Engineering Soiree, to be held on the evening of Thursday 19 June at the Manufacturing and Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, in the presence of HRH The Duke of Kent, Royal Fellow of the Academy.

The interactive exhibition will showcase the inspiring and innovative research that will ensure a bright future for UK manufacturing.

Manufacturing remains a major contributor to the UK economy, contributing 54% of UK exports and directly employing more than 2.5 million people.  UK manufacturing is experiencing a renaissance, made possible by innovative new research including the development of new materials, technologies and processes. The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and its founding partners are at the heart of this regeneration, accelerating innovation from universities to deliver the proven solution to industry.  MTC has experienced astonishing growth over the last three years of operation and has ambitious plans going forward.

Highlights include:

Cool applications for quantum technologies

Professor Kai Bongs, Chair of Cold Atoms at the University of Birmingham

Branded the “9th Great Technology” by science minister David Willetts MP, quantum technologies are the subject of a £270M government initiative. In contrast to the longer-term goal of quantum computing, laboratory prototypes of quantum sensors already surpass the best classical devices for precision measurements of gravity, magnetic fields, rotation and time. A live demonstration of some of the coldest matter in the Universe will show how additive manufacturing (3D printing) can translate the world-beating sensitivities of cold atom quantum sensors into real-world applications. These include archaeological prospection, oil and mineral exploration, roadworks, navigation, non-destructive testing and mapping of brain functions.

Recreating Nature

Dr Ross Friel, Additive Manufacturing Research Group (AMRG), Loughborough University

The AMRG will demonstrate key additive manufacturing research topics ranging from complex surgery simulation to aerospace smart structures:

  • Complex Surgery Simulation – realistic sinus models that enable an increase in the quality and time available for surgeon training in the vulnerable sinus area
  • Ultrasonic Consolidation –a cutting edge solid state metal additive manufacturing process used to create smart metal structures
  • Maxillofacial Devices – manufactured using new methods to ensure patient specific reproduction for maxillofacial devices
  • Richard III Project – work with Leicester University to digitise and manufacture an exact replica of King Richard the Third’s skeletal remains.

Building with composites – manufacturing for the future

Professor Andy Long, Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites, University of Nottingham

The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites undertakes early-stage research to enhance the competitiveness of the UK composites industry. It aims to strengthen capability by researching next-generation composites manufacturing processes based on low cost, reduced cycle times, efficiency and sustainability. Projects include:

  • multi-scale modelling to predict defect formation during resin infusion
  • structural joints using novel embedded inserts
  • novel approaches to the manufacture of complex geometrics from broad goods
  • innovative multi-material and multi-architecture preforms
  • compression moulding of multi-architecture composite
  • defect generation mechanisms in thick and variable thickness composite parts

Welding at the forefront of technology

Rachel Sanderson, TWI Validation Centre

Advanced welding techniques enable the design, modelling, manufacture and assembly of highly innovative equipment:

  • Electron beam welding - welding and material processing, as well as the development of novel in-situ quality assurance tools for electron beam operations.
  • Laser additive manufacture - laser processing, welding, and 3D printing (via both powder bed and blown powder systems) for primary manufacture, local performance enhancement and repair operations.
  • Friction stir welding - friction stir welding and novel processing opportunities in a range of work piece materials including high strength aluminium alloys and high performance steels.

MTC Director Professor Richard Williams OBE FREng FTSE says:

“Ideas like these are driving new product creation and opportunities for remanufacturing in complex supply chains; they provide an insight into how engineering ingenuity can bring about long-term, sustainable growth in the UK.”

Notes for Editors

  1. Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.
  2. The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) represents one of the largest public sector investments in manufacturing for many years and is housed in a 12,000 square metre purpose built facility at Ansty Park, Coventry. The centre opened in 2011 and was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd, its industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

For more information contact:

Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering 
Tel: 020 7766 0636
Email: Jane Sutton