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Technology Transfer aids West Midlands businesses
May 19th, 2006

Novel Analytical Techniques Including Thermography, Ultrasonics and Nature Inspired Computation (NATITUNIC)

Accelerate web siteAccelerate are funding E9 Limited to deliver a Technology Transfer Centre with a view to making companies in the West Midlands region aware in particular of the benefits of modern analytical methods in process improvement, asset maintenance and planning.

Both thermography and ultrasonics are non-invasive techniques that can provide information on a wide range of issues and problems. These techniques can be used successfully in energy management but further techniques are less well known. Analysis of plant, processes and products can often take place while production continues. This reduces the downtime required for Planned Preventive Maintenance and shows up issues that may not be apparent when analysed off-line.

Potential areas for analysis include:-

  • Thermal imaging of
    • electrical systems – this can identify potentially hazardous electrical components and areas of stress within the system. Companies may reduce their insurance premiums if they undertake regular thermal surveys.
    • building fabric – highlighting energy losses, water ingress and building integrity.
    • production equipment – for use in predictive maintenance on motors, bearings, furnaces etc
    • processes – real time thermal imaging can often highlight process problems in areas such as die-casting, metal pressing or any area where there is heating or cooling within the process.
  • Ultrasonic testing of
    • compressed air and water systems – identifying costly leaks
    • motors and bearings – for use in predictive maintenance

Nature Inspired Computation uses an array of computational techniques to analyse data and can be used in predictive maintenance as well as such problems as machine shop layout, tool path computation and data mining. E9 work closely with The University of Birmingham Centre for Excellence for Research in Computational Intelligence and Analysis (CERCIA) to develop analytical techniques, which can be used in industry such as predictive failure and its application to condition monitoring of plant.

Companies wishing to join the project will benefit from a survey introducing them to these analytical methods on their own site.

If you are interested in finding out more then please fill out the form below or call E9 on 08456 444 660.

Companies benefiting from the project must qualify for Accelerate assistance. If you are unsure then please check with E9 Limited or Accelerate.


Established in 1996 to promote automotive businesses in the West Midlands, Accelerate has grown into one of the most successful supply chain initiatives in the UK.

Driven by the changing face of the industry, the programme has assisted over 1000 companies in implementing best practice manufacturing systems, securing production efficiencies and cultivating workforce development.

Going forward, Accelerate has recently secured a £90m support package, which will be channelled into supporting the evolving needs of the West Midlands supply chain, as it maximises the global opportunities of the 21 st century.

Accelerate offers financial assistance towards:

  • Business Development
  • Capital Equipment
  • Collaborative Supplier Networks
  • Management and Workforce Development
  • Specialist Centres
  • Supply Chain Improvement Programmes

The programme, which is funded by Advantage West Midlands and ERDF, is managed by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and is a regional partnership of Business Links, SMMT Industry Forum, Universities and a number of vehicle manufacturers.

The European Regional Development Fund provides assistance for investment which creates or maintains jobs, for infrastructure projects, for education and training in development of local businesses, and for research and development.

Advantage West Midlands web site Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry Europa web site E9 Limited operates from bases in Coventry and Sheffield, offering a range of industrial consultancy products and services. E9 supports industrial and manufacturing companies through development and change by implementing continuous improvements to company operations through a range of management and technical products and services.
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