Chief Executive Officer, CPI
The UK process and manufacturing industries face substantial challenges and opportunities as they look to develop innovative new products, technologies and services to meet the needs of the 21st Century.
The global population is rising, mirrored by increased growth in demand and consumption of manufactured goods and services. Pitched against this growth in consumption is an increasing pressure on the earth’s finite supply of natural resources. These two conflicting drivers will continue to converge until the conventional processes and methods of supply can no longer meet the rising demand. As such, in this environment there is an overwhelming need for global manufacturing innovators to develop efficient processes to create better products, faster.
In response, The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) was established and since its inception almost a decade ago has worked to provide commercially viable solutions to meet this growing global challenge.
We use applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state-of-the-art development facilities to enable our clients and partners to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes. Working with our experienced team, companies can significantly de-risk the development process and can bring products to market faster while reducing the environmental impact and costs throughout the manufacturing cycle.
During the last decade we have worked with over 2,000 companies and organisations including SMEs, universities and large corporate clients globally. We have successfully completed over 350 public and private projects with a total value in excess of £300m. Moreover we have worked with a host of FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 companies to help them develop improved products and processes to grow their business.
By integrating our £55m worth of diverse capital equipment with the expertise of our renowned team of engineers, process developers and scientists, we have participated in almost 60 European Projects to the value of over £120m. These projects are helping manufacturers bring new technologies, products and services to market, creating value for the UK and enhancing commercial competition globally.
More recently, CPI has played a pivotal role in the successful creation and launch of the UK government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult. This cross supply chain initiative heralds a sustained investment into UK manufacturing, and CPI’s proven ability to assist companies in the development and delivery of the next generation of products and processes is vital to its success. Most importantly, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult brings together individual innovation centres in a collaborative network that creates something even greater than the sum of its parts – a single network covering high value sectors from pharmaceuticals to power generation, where knowledge gained in one area can be transferred to others.
Being part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, our challenge is to introduce our low cost, efficient manufacturing approach to build and enhance supply chains across the process and manufacturing industries to bolster economic stability.
Another significant development is the establishment of the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre. Due to open in 2015, the new centre will enable the development and commercialisation of biopharmaceutical platforms and process technologies.
CPI continues to make great progress toward its vision of becoming a world-class centre of innovation, stimulating a more sustainable and competitive sector by reducing the risks associated with innovation and allowing businesses to benefit from growing international demand.
Improved product design, quality and performance with increased functionality and embedded intelligence, ideally at no extra cost of raw material or feed to product.
Higher process yields, reduced manufacturing time and faster conversion of raw material or feed to product with shorter time to market.
Reduced capital cost, manufacturing design and process cost. How? By moving batch processes to continuous processes, increasing digital prototyping and automation in manufacture, reduced manufacturing and lower capital requirements.
Increased use of natural materials, materials based on waste, reuse or recycling with lower carbon footprint products and processes. Reduced manufacturing time, reduced waste, near net shape production. Preferably with design for reuse and recycling addressed.
All the above reduce the carbon footprint, but there is also a need to capture and store remaining carbon dioxide and other emissions.
All manufacturing suppliers need to understand and act upon safety imperatives and the associated culture to create safe products and processes.
The Centre for Process Innovation is a UK-based technology innovation centre and part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. We use applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state-of-the-art facilities to enable our clients to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes.
Our open innovation model enables clients to develop products and prove processes with minimal risk. We provide assets and expertise so our customers can demonstrate the process and prove it is feasible before investing substantial amounts of money in capital equipment and training. New products and processes can be proven;on paper, in the lab and in the plant before being manufactured at an industrial scale.
By utilising our proven assets and expertise companies can take their products and processes to market faster. There is no down time in production as all of the process development is completed off-line and our technology transfer teams can help to transfer the product or process into full scale production.
We work in five core technology areas. These are:
We help our clients to produce better products with increased quality and performance. We can create processes with higher yields and reduced manufacturing time with faster conversion of raw materials or feedstock to the finished product.
We enable companies to decrease capital and manufacturing costs by facilitating the transition from batch to continuous processes, increased automation and reduced manufacturing time. We help reduce and reuse waste, utilise natural materials and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
CPI confirmed in Government’s announcement as its first elite Catapult centre focused on High Value Manufacturing. Read more
OLED and OPV prototyping line installed at The National Printable Elecronics Centre. Read more
HVM Catapult open for business. Read more
PragmatIC Printing move into commercial production at CPI. Read more
Thermal Technologies Centre officially opened. Read more
Pan-European project for the cultivation of biofuels from microalgae is commissioned. Read more
AMSCI funded BioMOD project is created to facilitate lower cost, high quality and flexible production of biotech products. Read more
Announcement made for the establishment of the £38m National Biologics Manufacturing Centre at CPI. Read more
Peratech develop new ink formulations with CPI to enable printed touch sensors. Read more
CPI manufactures large area small molecule and polymer OLED lighting demonstrators. Read more
CPI develop printed NFC components as part of the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative. Read more
To date CPI have successfully completed over 350 public and private projects with a value in excess of £300m
75% of commercial turnover from SMEs
£15m turnover in 2012/13
■ Sustainable Processing
of our EU bids are successful against an industry average of 15%.
of our UK bids are successful against an industry average of 20-25%.
The Innovation Landscape
Innovation is at the heart of every business and an essential driver for market growth.
In the simplest of terms, innovation within the process industry involves the application of technology to develop and manufacture products that are useful to the consumer. In turn, the most basic driving force of demand for innovation are the consumers who want new products
that are multi-purpose, faster, lighter or smaller, and businesses who want to make the production process more sustainable, more cost effective or create a new product which consumers aren’t aware they actually need.
The process of innovation follows a simple yet effective roadmap, which begins with a period of
discovery and research before the phase of innovation. From here the novel idea is taken and its concept proven, before scaling up the manufacture and testing its efficacy in operation and then creating a demonstrator. Commercial delivery is the final stage of the journey.
PragmatIC Printing Ltd is a pioneering company in imprinted logic circuits. The technology developed by PragmatIC is able to print electronic logic at very high speeds while dramatically reducing circuit size and simplifying manufacture, thereby opening up prospects for low-cost, high-performance printed electronics across a range of applications.
After successfully trialing a number of innovative developments on a smaller scale, PragmatIC was keen to utilise the expertise and equipment at CPI to help take the project onto the next stage, with a view to moving its technology on to pilot-scale production.
Within a short space of time PragmatIC has been able to transfer its process onto the CPI pilot-lines.
PragmatIC were assisted by the experienced process engineering expertise at CPI to adapt the PragmatIC lab-scale product into a yielding baseline process onto standardised industry production equipment.
Having access to specialised facilities has enabled companies like PragmatIC to de-risk their product development and commercialisation processes. PragmatIC have utilised the facilities at CPI to scale up their manufacturing methods and provide them with a good indication of the performance of its materials and processes at commercial manufacture scale.
"We are hugely excited at taking the next steps towards full commercial deployment of our unique technology for imprinted logic. In addition to production, the pilot line serves as a reference platform for our licensees, and as a test-bed for on-going improvements in device design, process optimisation and circuit functionality."
Scott White, CEO of PragmatIC Printing Ltd
Peratech Limited was established in 1996 to exploit Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTCTM) material, which is a new class of electrically conductive material developed to advance the capability of switching and sensing systems.
QTC materials give enormous flexibility in the design, shape, thickness and style of a switch or touch sensor and can be made in a range of forms from traditional switch replacements like textile and screen-printed switches, through to innovative, pressure-sensitive QTC Touch-screens that allow for three dimensions of input.
The technology has already been applied in clothing, where controls for iPods and similar devices have been successfully integrated into jackets, which can be washed or dry cleaned, crumpled and stretched.
Peratech approached CPI with a view to broadening its ink technology into a more widely used set of printing processes. CPI brought its experience of ink formulation, print processing and testing expertise to help Peratech develop these new products.
“The next innovation in electronics is being able to print complete circuit assemblies as this dramatically reduces unit costs. Both active and passive components are being printed onto paper, textiles and plastics using flexographic printing processes. The development project with CPI is designed to create QTC ink formulations that can be used in this and similar printing processes so that QTC pressure sensors and switches can be incorporated into these next generation printed electronic circuits.”
David Lussey, CEO of Peratech
Plaxica is a spin-off company from Imperial College London and specialises in the production of bioplastics made from natural feedstocks such as sugar and cellulosic based materials, including corn starch, which are a greener, cleaner and stronger form of plastic. Plaxica’s aim is to reduce the reliance upon oil-based products by using processes that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Plaxica approached CPI's multi-disciplinary team of chemists, scientists, technicians and engineers to help develop and scale up the production process for their product. Plaxica also utilised CPI's laboratory facilities and extensive technical and analytical support. After early stage trials were successful, the company approached CPI with a view to expanding and taking their work to the next level. Larger scale trials have also been successfully conducted on site at Wilton and as a result Plaxica have now built their own pilot plant with a view to providing their technology to the wider market.
"We are extremely grateful for the high quality, professional service provided by CPI. CPI’s presence at Wilton was fundamental to our decision to locate our scale up facilities in the North East [and] the use of the open-access CPI equipment has accelerated our scale up plans significantly."
Phil Goodier, CEO of Plaxica
Sanofi Aventis is a diversified global healthcare leader, and utilised the facilities at CPI to demonstrate the potential of Corning Advanced-Flow reactors for multiphase hydrogenations in high volume manufacturing.
In the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries, most multiphase hydrogenation reactions are conducted in large batch or semi-batch reactors, in which the catalyst is suspended in liquid and continuously stirred. Batch reactors are often susceptible to lack of temperature control, which can result in hot spots on the catalyst’s surface. These hotspots lead to the formation of several by-products or intermediaries, which can result in decomposition. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the testing of micro reactors at laboratory scale for catalytic hydrogenations as, due to their small transverse dimensions, they have exceptionally high surface to volume ratios and therefore exhibit enhanced heat and mass transfer rates. Typically, the micro reactors produce 0.1 to 10 grams per hour, so are very well suited for screening or small scale production. A natural progression was to scale up this process for industrial production to several hundred tons per year, which requires production rates of at least one hundred times higher.
CPI, Sanofi-Aventis and Corning believed the implementation of slurry hydrogenation in continuous flow reactors would effectively solve this issue. The method was tested at CPI’s state-of-the-art flow reaction facility using Corning’s Advanced-Flow glass reactor, an assembly of glass fluidic modules connected together through appropriate piping. CPI successfully operated the reactor and the conversion, selectivity, impurity profile and the catalyst content were studied by the highly skilled team. After over 300 hours of operation, results concluded that over 98 percent conversion could be achieved with the continuous flow reactor for starting material concentrations from 30 wt percent to 45 wt percent. The catalyst content proved to have very little impact in a wide range of concentrations, opening the door to potential savings versus the batch reactor processing. These results successfully prove the high potential of Corning Advanced-Flow reactors for slurry-based hydrogenation at an industrial scale.
The programme is a unique initiative, bringing together the cities and regions of the North of England to work together to improve the sustainable economic development of the North. The Northern Way works with local authorities, universities, the private sector and other partners to secure a strong coalition in support of this goal.
The Northern Way’s ‘Building the Supply Chain in Printed Electronics’ programme is targeted at providing the funding and collaboration infrastructure within which participating organisations can explore and ultimately exploit opportunities within the printed electronics market.
The competition was broken down into a series of work packages to stimulate the growth of a supply chain and ultimately develop working demonstrators of what the technology could achieve. The competition involved 20 organisations across eight projects and directly resulted in at least eight patents being filed.
Work packages one and two were focused on the scale up of molecules to one kilo and beyond for repeatable batches of Organic Semiconductors (OSCs), and on the development of ink formulation for printing. The aim was to transfer this gained knowledge to the chemical companies, who, in turn would subsequently develop a range of OSCs, increased links and the understanding of the technology’s potential, workings and benefits.
Packages four and five were focused on the development process, working under the principle that simpler structures give superior performance and reduced costs. Challenges in this area were to gain knowledge of what is required when processing material to develop transistor performance great enough to drive Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) and to continually improve the quality and applications for Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED).
The final work packages centred around the Demonstrators competition, in which eight demonstrator projects were developed and working prototypes produced.
Chief Executive Officer, CPI
As a developer of key technologies in the UK, we continue to meet our targets and expand the horizons of innovation.
Our growing and experienced team is currently delivering a number of forward-thinking and economically vital projects to steer the UK’s process industries, printable electronics technologies and low carbon transition with partners from the public and private sectors. Moreover, we remain excited about the scope for even stronger collaborations as we continue to provide a valuable service that helps drive the UK’s progression into a key part of global manufacturing.
Yet the potential role a centre such as ours can play in supporting the evolution of the manufacturing industry and the many diverse sectors it shapes has not been fully explored or exploited. However, our involvement and partnership with the
High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and indeed the other six Catapults in the network, awards CPI direct involvement to influence the UK and EU research strategy and government investment in innovation, alongside substantial sustained investment to ensure our staff and facilities are at the cutting edge of product and process development.
This is our vision and we are resolutely committed to achieving and surpassing it. The possibilities in the process industry are countless, they simply need to be harnessed and focused to ensure tangible benefits are realised both by the industry and the wider world.