When an organisation faces a specific application, technical or market issues, it is often easy to search out solution providers. This is not so easy, however, when there is no obvious solution to hand
Increasingly, organisations are bringing products to market which span traditional boundaries and challenge engineers to integrate technologies into imaginative new applications and processes. For example, clothing manufacturers are now incorporating RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags into clothing; media companies are designing sophisticated advertising campaigns integrating computer technology into formerly passive roadside poster displays and automotive companies are integrating multiple electronic sensors and controls throughout their vehicles. The emphasis is placed on processes since a product itself may be thought of as traditional (as in the lace weaving industry) but may benefit from a very advanced manufacturing process (using vision recognition and lasers to trim the textiles) to create a highly value added product.
Clothing incorporating an RFID Tag to be removed by the end user
The Integrated Products Manufacturing (IPM) KTN (which has now been in operation for over 10 years) serves a broad ranging community from many industrial and academic backgrounds, but who are united by the common goal of addressing challenges of crossing multiple technology or sectoral disciplines, such as those described above.
An interactive poster display incorporating a touch screen
Most members of this community would consider themselves to be directly adding value to the manufacturing supply chain, or indirectly adding value through supporting services. We see the role of the IPM KTN as putting companies and innovators in contact with the knowledge, expertise and funding they need to bridge these technology/sectoral gaps, and bring new products and processes to market.
Membership of the KTN is free of charge, and offers a range of benefits, including access to a wide range of Technology Watch reports commissioned by the KTN to address key issues facing companies today. It also offers the opportunity to join online meetings, gain information on funding opportunities, and to participate in government industrial consultations.
The KTN also offers practical support through a range of services, including SPARK awards, small pots of funding to stimulate new industrial-academic relationships, through to subsidised techno-economic feasibility studies.
Further details, including a wide range of
case studies demonstrating the benefit of
the support the KTN can offer, can be found
at www.integratedproductsktn.org.uk or
alternatively, to discuss a particular idea or
concept, please contact Paul Palmer on
+44 (0) 1509 227672
Added the 09 September 2008 in category Innovation UK Vol4-1