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Free technical support comes to Welsh valleys

Connect, no. 131, July/August 2004, p.8

All sectors of industry involved in products made with engineering materials will benefit from the Joining Forces Wales technology transfer programme
All sectors of industry involved in products made with engineering materials will benefit from the Joining Forces Wales technology transfer programme

Small and medium-sized manufacturing companies (SMEs) in the Objective 1 regions of Wales are set to benefit from 'Joining Forces Wales', a major new technology transfer programme supported by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA).

The organisation behind Joining Forces, materials joining specialist TWI, has technical facilities in Port Talbot, within the recently created Engineering Centre for Manufacturing and Materials.

The objective of the three-year programme is to help engineering manufacturing firms achieve sustainable growth by becoming more profitable and competitive. Free, expert help will be provided so that companies can readily exploit innovation and best practice to improve product design and manufacturing methods.

Materials joining - which includes welding, brazing, soldering, adhesive bonding and mechanical fastening - is a key enabling technology in all sectors of industry involved in products made with engineering materials; from heavy structures and power plant, to microelectronics and medical devices.

Robert Walker, Director of the WDA's Engineering Centre for Manufacturing & Materials, said: 'Manufacturing in Wales as elsewhere in the UK has seen some tough times recently, but it's by keeping up to date with the latest technologies such as those covered in Joining Forces Wales that the best stay ahead of the pack.'

Free services provided by Joining Forces Wales will comprise;

  • Helpdesk: one-to-one access to experts for advice and technical information
  • Technical knowledge: comprehensive on-line technical support through TWI's award-winning website
  • Technology demonstrators: hands-on assessment of new processes and equipment
  • Product and process reviews: in-company troubleshooting or evaluation of manufacturing opportunities (two days)
  • Feasibility studies: trials to obtain data to underpin decision-making (five days)
  • Near-market R&D: development work to facilitate innovation in products and manufacturing processes (10 days)

Further information on the activities and benefits of the Joining Forces Wales programme is available from Richard Smith or Martin Bourton. E-mail: richard.smith@twi.co.uk or martin.bourton@twi.co.uk

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk