New energy innovation campus in UK set to transform large-scale manufacturing
Posted 06/05/2022 14:03
A global center of excellence aiming to transform large-scale manufacturing for energy transition-related sectors through innovation and skills development has been launched in the south-east of Scotland.
Based at Babcock International’s Rosyth facility, the Arrol Gibb Innovation Campus (AGIC) will serve a range of small to medium-sized enterprises in the marine, nuclear and energy transition sectors, offering access to the latest industrial techniques and technology, industrial and office space, innovation advice and skills development.
AGIC is a collaboration between Babcock International, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde, Fife College, Fife Council, Scottish Enterprise, and Skills Development Scotland.
The partners are developing leading expertise in five core capabilities on one site: large-scale advanced manufacturing, composites, robotics, nuclear manufacturing and digital shipbuilding.
These five are supported by cross-campus skills development and an Innovation Incubator for start-up businesses and existing businesses looking to engage in innovative product and process improvements.
A key element of AGIC’s offering is skills development, for clients, as a standalone service for businesses, and for apprentices and students in schools, colleges and universities.
AGIC will offer access to real-life datasets and state-of-the-art equipment, including the latest digital and data tools, plus world-leading academic research and the latest shop-floor developments.
Sean Donaldson, managing director for Babcock’s Rosyth Facility, said: “By collaboratively working together with our partners, the campus will create something unique in Scotland that will drive and energize advanced manufacturing.
“With an open cooperative approach, the campus will enable users to conceive, test, implement and learn – creating knowledge, IP and digital skills for economic growth. Supporting flexible large-scale advanced manufacturing for energy, shipbuilding and infrastructure sectors, the campus will provide a rewarding future for generations to come.”
World’s first dedicated fatigue test facility for tidal blades
The campus’ first facility to open for business is FastBlade, the world’s first test facility that uses regenerative hydraulic technology to offer high-quality, low-cost fatigue testing of lightweight composite structures for research and product development.
Based in Rosyth Dockyard in Fife, the FastBlade facility will help the industry in testing and certifying turbine blades.
Funded initially by a £1.8 million EPSRC grant, and with added £2.8 million funding from the University of Edinburgh, FastBlade is the first dedicated fatigue testing facility for tidal turbine blades in the world.
Led by University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, FastBlade welcomed its first customers to test composite blades for tidal energy turbines in late April 2022.
The facility will be officially opened on May 13, 2022, according to the University of Edinburgh.
The innovative structural composites research facility has been developed specifically for cost effective, accelerated testing of stiff and slender composite and metal structures, such as tidal turbine blades, composite bridge sections and carbon fiber aircraft wing boxes.
It will enable full lifetime accelerated fatigue loading of tidal turbine blades to be carried out in a matter of months, thereby verifying the design methodologies and greatly reducing the risk of blade failures during the lifetime of the turbines.
FastBlade will help secure Scotland’s lead in marine energy as the world’s first dedicated fatigue test facility for tidal blades, the developers hope.
The facility is also expected to deliver new jobs and attract businesses to Scotland for composites products and tidal blade development.
The FastBlade team said it is already scoping new training programs and apprenticeships focused on data collection in an industrial setting for an authentic experience.