UK Partner: Far UK Ltd
Far UK, based in Nottingham, bring together the combined industry expertise of engineering, manufacturing and materials to create a design team with future manufacturing capabilities and training packages for those organisations with a desire to enter the composites industry either directly or in partnership with their existing customers and suppliers.
Chinese Partner: Guangzhou Research Institute of Non-Ferreous Metals (GZRINM)
Founded in 1971, Guangzhou Research Institute of Non-ferrous Metals (GZRINM) is the largest comprehensive institute engaging in research and development of new materials in Southern China. Key areas of research and development include the comprehensive development and utilization of mineral resources, material surface engineering technology, rare scattered metal extraction metallurgy, powder metallurgy materials, new welding materials, rare earth functional materials, wear-resistant alloy material, material analysis and testing technology and cane sugar and bio energy technology. In 2010, the Guangdong provincial government approved to set up Guangdong General Research Institute of Industrial Technology on the foundation of GZRINM and maintain the name of GZRINM.
The organisations wanted to develop the manufacturing technology of ceramic-based friction materials with fibre reinforcement for the braking systems of high-performance cars, to improve braking at high speeds.
- Advanced manufacturing
- Experience of automotive industry
The two organisations are researching and developing a new design of brake materials for applications in the automotive industry. The project will feature extensive materials development as well as specialized industry testing. Several technologies are being acquired and applied to the preparation of the brake materials, which the companies have designed to work under high speeds and high load working conditions. The partners also plan to provide the products and technical services to exploit the resulting technology to the global automotive industry. The organisations plan to include component design and optimization, process optimisation, manufacturing of test samples and performance evaluation in the project.
Companies pay either £2,000, £5,000, £10,000 in staged payments over two years according to their level of commitment/nature of objectives in China, and go on either one, two, or three trips to China depending on what stages of the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme they wish to engage in.
The £5.1 million Lancaster China Catalyst Programme was created by Lancaster University and is part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council’s Catalyst Fund, the University and Lancashire County Council. Key partners in the project are the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, UK Trade and Investment, China-Britain Business Council, and the Technology Strategy Board.
The partners hope the project will result in a production ready materials together with commercial interest from global manufacturers of braking systems. Additionally Far-UK hope to development of a rolling chassis for a vehicle that can be assembled locally in distributed factories across China using mostly indigenous components and assemblies together with a Far supplied chassis. It should also include development assembly guides for the product translated into Chinese. It is estimated that each satellite plant in China could be worth £5m a year of turnover once fully up and running with a target of 10 satellite plants in China could equate to up to £50m per year of turnover and if the project reaches the expected volumes it is anticipated that it would result in the creation of 60 jobs at Far.
Benefits to the company
- Potential to create 10 satellite plants in China
- Potential future turnover increase of £50m per year
Benefits to the university
- Fostered collaboration between UK and Chinese contacts which provide experience for student
Benefits to society
- Potential creation of 60 jobs at Far UK
“Without the programme Far-UK would never have been able to confront the challenges of doing business in China. With the programme the company has been able to approach the Chinese market with confidence. We now have research and development work on-going in China and a broadening network of commercial contacts. We have already conducted some commercial work in China and we believe we will shortly sign additional contracts. The impact of the programme has been to revolutionise our opinions of, approach to and success in China.”
Lyndon Sanders, Director & General Manager, Far UK.
“The best thing I did for the business was to ensure the best possible experience for the final vehicle user, which will hopefully result in Far UK suspensions being purchased more often and the chassis they produce being more tempting for automotive manufacturers in the future.”
Joseph Lincoln, MSc International Innovation.
Far UK have secured Guangdong Provincial Department for Science and Technology (GDST) funding for a project with Guangzhou Research Institute of Non-ferrous Metals with a value of RMB 1 million (around £100,000).
Under the framework of Memorandum of Understanding signed by the GDST and Lancaster University, GDST provides match funding to companies or research institutes who are collaborating with the catalyst companies to jointly develop products, processes and services for the global market on the basis of new technologies.