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Innovation Takes Centre Stage at Recent International Summit

Fri, 19 November, 2021

With around 150 delegates in attendance, this year’s TWI Innovation Network Summit 2021, on 16 November, once again provided an annual occasion for innovation-orientated companies and organisations to come together to focus on advancing engineering technology development.

The Summit was opened by Chair Dr Cem Selcuk, Head of Business Development for TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN), who also gave a short presentation on the Network’s programmes, services and Subscription options that are accessible to companies and organisations of all sizes, including SMEs, as well as European universities and RTOs.

Cem then introduced Dr Panos Chatzakos, Regional Manager for TWI Hellas, TWI’s office in Athens, Greece. Panos looked at the value of introducing new technologies from the perspectives of end users and developer businesses, and explored this further by drilling down into some of the innovations under development in a selection of publicly funded projects his teams are working on with different partner consortiums. Projects highlighted included SLEEKSHIP: spectral image-powered biofouling detection and cleaning for ship hulls, AUTOPSY: unmanned aerial vehicles for infrastructure inspection and human activity monitoring, and KYKLOS 4.0: digital tool chain towards rapidly configurable and personalised manufacturing.

Next to speak on the agenda was Emma Freckingham, Head of Company Certification, TWI Certification Ltd (TWI CL), who gave an overview of how TWI CL can assist UK and European companies with certification to international standards. Emma explained that compliance with standards demonstrates a company has processes in place which provide effective control of the quality of manufactured products, with some of the benefits of achieving certification including the enhancement of innovation and operational activities, and adding to project deliverables as a means of defining the application and/or customer benefit, for the exploitation of technologies and processes.

The mid-morning break was followed by a presentation from Huseyin Gonulkirmaz, R&D Manager at Kaplam which produces circa 40 million parts each year for the automotive industry, specialising in plastics, processing and manufacturing as well the design and engineering of products associated with polymers. Huseyin gave an overview of Kaplam’s research and development (R&D) areas, including collaborating with OEMs and raw materials manufacturers on design and production for vehicle light-weighting and sustainable automotive solutions, and closed by mentioning the public funding proposals Kamplam has worked on with TWIIN, the most recent being the Made-Circular project for Horizon Europe in September 2021.

The final speaker of the Summit was Uwe Lieske, Group Manager, Condition Monitoring Hardware and Software at Fraunhofer IKTS, which has recently become a Subscriber organisation to TWIIN. Uwe talked through the various innovation stages Fraunhofer IKTS and research partners go through to realise R&D projects, such as prototype manufacturing and materials development, as well as provided examples of current research projects in areas including various aspects of ceramics, high-frequency ultrasonic transducers and materials for surface technology.

The event concluded with an online networking lounge in the ‘Wonder’ platform where speakers and delegates could meet each other online and carry on discussions around the topics covered earlier in the day. In addition, TWIIN Subscribers and Gold corporate sponsors of the Summit were able to attend pre-booked, 1-2-1 Innovation Clinics with members of TWI’s Technology Innovation Management team in the afternoon to receive tailored support on how to accelerate their R&D projects.

Dr Cem Selcuk, Head of Business Development for TWIIN said “I hope this year’s Summit has shown that everyone whose work is involved in innovation will find a place in the TWI Innovation Network for their company or organisation. TWIIN has a truly international representation across industry and academia, and this enables our partners to gain exposure to associates in the UK, Europe and countries beyond, including TWI Industrial Member companies, as well as greater access to prospects for R&D and business enhancement through the Network’s targeted services, programmes and Subscription scheme.”

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