The site, based on NETPark, in Sedgefield, County Durham, will guide companies through the steps needed to take their next-generation formulated products to market with reduced risk on their decisions or capital investment plans.
Formulation involves the creation of multi-component, often multi-phase products, which are abundant across markets such as healthcare, food and drink and personal care.
For companies developing formulated products, challenges such as up-scaling, advancing technical knowledge and optimising downstream processing can be difficult to overcome and slow down the innovation process.
However, CPI, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, will use its new NETPark centre to create an environment for innovation that will allow businesses and academic partners to collaborate, develop, prove and commercialise innovative products and processes in formulation science, while being more efficient in the use of resources to generate further value for the UK formulation industry.
The centre is home to world-class laboratories and accompanying expertise focusing on measurement, high-throughput formulation, process chemistry, process technology, complex particles, nanomaterials, composites, and chemistry and dispersions.
It is funded by the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership, as part of the North-East Growth Deal from the UK Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The National Formulation Centre was first announced by then Chancellor George Osborne in 2014, with ground broken in November 2016.
It was officially opened in March 2018 at a launch event featuring leading industrial specialists in the field of formulation science.
In attendance were representatives from global companies including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Procter & Gamble (P&G), Unilever, Croda, BASF and BP, alongside many other formulations-based organisations.
Emma McLeod, research principal at Mondelez International, said: “The food and drink sector is the largest remaining manufacturing sector in the UK — it is bigger than the aerospace and automotive industries combined, and contributes over £28.8bn a year to the UK economy. As 97 per cent of companies in the sector are SMEs, the biggest challenge is getting the scale of formulations we need. CPI’s National Formulation Centre is integral to enabling the cross-sector collaboration and access to facilities required help get future food and drink formulations to scale.”
Rebecca Yates, formulated products research manager for fuels and lubricants at BP, said: “The potential to participate in a cross-industry solutions for formulated products through CPI enables transformation in finding future practical solutions and ways of working. Bringing together the formulation industry and the applications of formulation products will increase the profile of the industry as a whole. It is exciting that CPI enables collaborations across sectors to drive delivery of projects which result in transferable formulation solutions.”
Nigel Perry, CPI chief executive, added: “This new national innovation centre builds on CPI’s substantial capabilities which support the UK’s processes industries and will play an important role in anchoring R&D for formulation and stimulating manufacturing-based growth. It will provide companies and academia with leading technical expertise combined with open access facilities for the development and optimise their formulated products across a wide range of applications.”
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Notes to the Editor
The Centre for Process Innovation is a UK-based technology innovation centre and part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The company uses applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state of the art development facilities to enable its clients to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes. Established to support the UK process manufacturing industry, CPI collaborates with universities, SMEs and large corporations to help overcome innovation challenges. Operating across a broad range of technologies, partners are supported at every stage; from concept to market; business support to technology development; and from scale up to supply chain intervention. CPI consists of dedicated national innovation centres that support industrial biotechnology and biorefining, printable electronics, biologics and formulation. The centres enable advancements in major markets such as healthcare, electronics, food and drink, aerospace, automotive, materials, and energy. These world leading, digitally enabled and open access facilities are available for partners to get their products and processes to market quickly with minimal risk. Utilising strong networks, CPI brings together a range of partners in the delivery of innovation projects, with a common goal of strengthening the UK’s position in High Value Manufacturing.