Enable Manufacturing is one amongst 11 small to medium-size enterprises (SME) that have been awarded a combined total of up to £1.48 million investment, to help develop the ‘next big thing’ in zero-emission tailpipe technology for cars, buses, and heavy-duty vehicles.
The funding is provided by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, and is being made available under the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP). Under this program, each company will receive up to £135,000 to help take their concept a step closer to being used by the automotive industry and helping drive the UK towards a net-zero emissions future.
Enable uses a technology called Additive Casting for manufacturing metal parts. The process uses molds made via additive manufacturing to cast high-quality production parts from over 130 different metals, including magnesium. This novel method eliminates the need for expensive tooling and allows manufacturing businesses to re-shore productions to the UK, leading to a reduction of CO2 emissions and enabling manufacturing businesses to innovate quicker, reduce inventory and implement a digital supply chain approach for metal parts.
Additive Casting has proven to be particularly suitable for the automotive industry, as it offers new design freedom for engineers to design better, lighter, and more cost-competitive metal components – large or small – by enabling part optimization, light weighing of parts and eliminating costly and inflexible tooling.
Head of SME Programmes at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Josh Denne said: “We are delighted to be working with Enable Manufacturing as part of our Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP). The past 12 months have been difficult for the automotive sector, with COVID-19 and shortages of some key materials, it’s been challenging for all parts of the supply chain, not least those small to medium enterprises trying to turn their green automotive innovation into a commercially viable product. The technology developed by companies like Enable Manufacturing could play a crucial role in the automotive industry’s net-zero carbon future. We are excited to support them on their journey of ensuring their innovative technology becomes commercially viable.”
However, the TDAP is not just about funding technology development. APC are keen to ensure that these ideas turn into a commercial success as Josh explained: “The winners of this competition demonstrated that their technology enables the shift towards net-zero emissions vehicles, but our aim is to provide successful applicants with a systematic, phased approach to building their businesses – a 360-degree program of support to help great ideas flourish in a commercial space.
Being part of this program is a great opportunity for Enable Manufacturing and will be crucial in further developing the Additive Casting technology for the automotive sector in its quest to zero-emission manufacturing. “We are delighted that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has made this grant available to support the further development of our Additive Casting process. Having support from the APC is a great testament to the potential of Additive Casting and will help us and our customers to reduce weight, add performance and reduce costs for many critical drivetrain components”, said Phil Kilburn, Sales Director at Enable.