Technical Challenges – Innovative Solutions
New materials are currently developed in an iterative process based on time-consuming, and hence costly, empirical research. This is a barrier to innovation.
What is needed is the ability to:
- Design ceramics and their manufacturing processes at pace in order to deliver the enhanced performance properties required
- Rapidly develop both new ceramic materials, such as multi-material systems, needed for next generation technologies, and new manufacturing processes, such as additive manufacturing and digital fabrication
- Guarantee enhanced energy efficiency and lower production costs.
Development of such ceramic products and processes includes both pilot and factory scale-up. This will ensure that they quickly become standard manufacturing routes to deliver the performance requirements of the different industry sectors in the shortest possible implementation time.
The work of the MICG will be uniquely supported by process modelling and digital twin development to enable the scale-up demonstration of new manufacturing processes and new material formulations. The development of such new agile manufacturing processes, aligned with high value manufacturing principles, will give the Midlands ceramic sector a strong competitive advantage.
Size of the potential
The advanced ceramics sector is a £2bn UK market and a £24bn global market. This step change in advanced ceramics innovation in the UK will drive up product performance across a wide range of advanced manufacturing industries.
These sectors generate a combined £223bn in turnover annually. Advanced ceramics can play a role in improving the performance of each sector and the returns on investment will be extensive.
Below are the key industries where advanced ceramics are already a critical enabling technology and where their use is expected to grow.