STFC launches technology hub with 3D printing capabilities to aid UK businesses

The UK's Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC) has opened an advanced engineering technology centre at its Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire.

The centre will provide UK businesses of all sizes, including small start-ups, with affordable access to more than £2 million of advanced engineering technology, including advanced 3D printing and rapid prototype assistance. The centre has already been used to develop a framing system that will aid with shelter building in refugee camps.

‘The new Campus Technology Hub (CTH) has one purpose -  to provide companies with affordable access to the best skills and facilities in engineering R&D so that they can solve their technology challenges to better compete on a national and international level,’ said Professor Susan Smith, head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory. ‘We can help entrepreneurs, small and medium companies, and more established businesses turn their brilliant ideas into reality.’

Start-up company Taylor Garfit is one of the first companies to use the centre. It is developing new technology for use in the provision of humanitarian shelters for refugee scenarios and international disasters where rapid deployment is critical. ‘Durability, weight and cost are all key to the success of our framing technology and, thanks to the CTH, we have been through 16 variants of our prototype in very quick succession,’ Garfit said. 'Over a six-month period, we have been able to move from concept stage to a position where we are now ready to start field trials, a timescale we certainly could not have achieved without the assistance of CTH.’

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