Grant funding worth over £2 million has been awarded so far to Midlands-based aerospace SMEs, or companies seeking to diversify into the sector, as part of the Aerospace Unlocking Potential (UP) programme which has been working at pace to support the upturn of aerospace in the region.
Aerospace UP is a £20m three-year programme (2020 to 2022) being delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). More than 100 companies have received support so far from the programme to help them regrow, not only in the form of grants, but also academic expertise, student placements and specialist workshops covering future requirements and opportunities in the sector.
With 2022 set to be the year that aerospace markets take off again, now is the perfect opportunity for companies to get support for developing a new product or process, enhancing capabilities or increasing productivity to achieve success.
With a third of grants already awarded, and more in the advanced stages of agreement, the Aerospace UP programme team is encouraging Midlands-based SMEs that are already in aerospace, or interested in getting into the sector, to apply at www.aerospaceup.com. There is no fixed deadline but companies should apply as soon as they can in 2022 to have the greatest opportunity of success. They will receive a quick response from a dedicated team.
Grant helps Boneham & Turner win new business
Boneham & Turner, which produces jig & fixture components for sectors including aerospace, received a grant to support the creation of a new, state-of-the-art laboratory to enhance inspection capabilities, allowing the company to offer complex parts that they were not able to produce previously.
“In just a few months since the installation of the inspection lab, we have secured new business totalling over £50k and are now in a position to bring more work back to the UK thanks to these enhanced capabilities, reducing lead times and costs for customers,” said Stacy Denton-Beaumont, operations manager, Boneham & Turner. “As a result of strategic investments like this, we’re expecting significant growth not only in aerospace but into new markets, making the future of Boneham & Turner very exciting.”
Experts help P.A.K Engineering create opportunities
P.A.K Engineering had an innovation that had potential in aerospace following its successful use in another sector. The company had the additive manufacturing capabilities required to rapidly develop a prototype and, with the support of academic experts at the University of Nottingham, redesigned the solution for aerospace.
“Being able to access specialist skills at the university has saved us a lot of time and money while developing the optimum solution,” said Dave Tetlow, R&D project manager, P.A.K Engineering. “Together, we’ve also come up with further ideas that we wouldn’t have considered and may not have even thought possible. This has created additional opportunities for us to succeed in aerospace.”
Placement students help SCITEK develop a successful product
SCITEK, an engineering consultancy that predominantly specialises in designing and manufacturing test rigs for aerospace, welcomed both a university student for the summer and a graduate for a year’s placement to help develop a new product that will be distributed worldwide.
“With the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, receiving support for two placement students was a great way to ensure we could progress product development that would not have happened otherwise,” said Zoe Christodoulou, responsible for marketing and business development at SCITEK. “Rapidly developing a successful solution in just 12 weeks impressed our customer and has helped us get ahead of the market.”