15 February 2016
MEPC’s development of Silverstone Park as a global business destination for high-performance technology and motorsport (HPTM) companies is about to skyrocket with the installation of a state-of-the-art metrology facility that could revolutionise the fortunes of the region’s SMEs and start-ups operating in advanced engineering.
Asset manager MEPC has agreed with Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, a world leader in metrology solutions, to supply and run the facility when it opens inside Silverstone Park’s iconic Innovation Centre building. The facility has also received considerable support from Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership.
Metrology delivers inspection, validation and ultimately quality control of components – predominantly those made of metals, plastics or composites. Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence is recognised as one of the best metrology solutions specialists in the world – companies that HMI works with and supports include most of the Formula 1 teams based in the UK, plus automotive manufacturers including Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls Royce.
Silverstone Park’s metrology facility is scheduled to open early in 2016. The facility will provide measurement services, crucial for the HPTM sectors to achieve accuracy and high-performance. Equipment will include two Hexagon CMMs (co-ordinate measuring machines), an OPTIV multi-sensor system, a Leica tracker system for large volume measurement and a ROMER articulated scanning arm plus an assortment of other precision instruments and measuring systems.
Companies using the facility will also be able to ‘reverse-engineer’ components already manufactured or trialled back into CAD designs through the likes of contact-probing, cameras and laser-scanning.
Roz Bird, Commercial Director for Silverstone Park, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to announce this news and wish to thank Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence and NEP for the great support that they have shown throughout the concept phase of this project. A metrology facility right at the heart of a region that is so rich in HPTM activity is just what the industry needs and we want to make this facility accessible to companies whether they are based on site or in the surrounding area.
“Funded by MEPC and Hexagon, we will be running a metrology network offering reduced rates on contract inspections to new SME businesses and providing access to young people for training in order to help address the metrology engineer skills shortage in the HPTM cluster.”
John Drover, Hexagon’s Regional Sales Manager, commented: “This is a massively exciting project for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence to be involved in – MEPC has some very ambitious plans for Silverstone Park and we want to be a part of that, looking ahead. It is the perfect location for a facility of this type and we are sure it will prove extremely popular with SMEs and start-ups which don’t have the finances to invest in equipment like this.
“The degree of accuracy to which our systems measure these days is mind-boggling, I suppose – we are talking a sub-micron (ten millionth of a metre), and for any company to come away from this facility with a measurement report to say their product has passed the inspection means that they have the right credibility and peace of mind when taking their prototype to market.”
Sajeeda Rose, Chief Operating Officer, NEP added: “Northamptonshire is home to a strong industry cluster of over 1,000 high performance technology companies, employing 21,000 people and contributing £2bn to the local economy. The continued development of this cluster is a key priority for NEP and the investment in advanced and accessible R&D facilities such as the metrology centre at Silverstone Park is vital to the continued growth of the cluster. NEP looks forward to working with MEPC to promote the availability of this facility to the wider engineering community, predominantly made up of innovative, fast growth SME companies.”