George Osborne's cash boost for 3D printing at Ansty Park

Money will be spent on creating a national centre for 3D printing

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Chancellor George Osborne has announced £30 million of funding to develop 3D printing and aerospace technology in Coventry.

The money will be spent on creating a national centre for 3D printing at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Ansty Park.

Mr Osborne promised to "unashamedly" back British manufacturing success.

The investment is expected to be match funded by industry to take the total to £60m.

It will include training for 1,000 engineering apprenticeships.

'Most advanced manufacturing'

The chancellor said the investment was part of the government's £2bn aerospace strategy.

"Coventry is at the centre of the British manufacturing industry and I want to make sure it is at the centre of British technology," he said.

"This investment will mean some of the world's most advanced manufacturing is happening right here."

Some £15m of taxpayers' money will fund a new aerospace technology centre at the MTC and £15.3m will help create a new national centre for additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing,

Clive Hickman, the centre's chief executive, said: "It's been bubbling for the last five or so years. Now it's become important for the industry and for the future.

A Star Wars character printed on a 3D printer Some £15m will help create a national centre for additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing,

"This investment is going to help us maintain our lead and will translate into jobs."

Dick Elsy from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the group which oversees the project, said the expanded site would be a "tremendous new resource" at "a very exciting time for manufacturing in the UK".

Researchers and manufacturers on site will develop new materials for use in planes, jet engines and civil helicopters.

The centre for additive manufacturing will develop new products for aero-engines and aircraft landing gears, as well as automotive and medical devices.

3D printing

  • The 3D printing technique involves turning a computer-designed item into a real-world object.
  • A high-powered laser beam is controlled to melt and fuse thin layers of metal or plastic powders into the designed shape.
  • The process can dramatically speed up design and manufacture processes.
  • The government says the UK is number one for the aerospace industry in Europe, second only to the US globally.

Mr Hickman said: "It's quite a slow process at the moment but we're working with some very powerful lasers here... it's game-changing for the industry."

In the US, the technology has already been used by NASA to test 3D-printed rocket parts.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the news was "exciting" for the area.

"Once again, it underlines this region is at the heart of high-tech manufacturing and technology," she said.

"The site at Ansty was earmarked for these sort of ground-breaking, sophisticated industries and it would have been easy, through the tough economic climate, to relax the criteria there.

"But this announcement shows why it was so important to hold out for the right kind of use for the site."

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the funding would attract further investment and create "high-skilled, long-term jobs".

The centre, close to junction 2 of the M6, opened in 2011 with the announcement it would employ up to 250 people by 2014.

About 700 jobs were lost when electronics firm Ericsson left the site in 2009.

In November, Mr Cable announced government funding of £18m to create an "elite" technology training centre on the same site.

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