New engineering facility opens in Middlesbrough to boost net zero ambitions

Business & Invest | Published on: 23rd January 2024

A state-of the-art engineering hall has opened in Middlesbrough supporting Tees Valley’s ambition to become a global centre for green industry.

The facility at Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park (TeesAMP) will be operated by independent research and technology organisation TWI and has been supported by £1.4million of funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

Based the same site as TWI’s existing operation, it will provide local companies with facilities to develop and test new products and materials, including inspection technologies for the hydrogen economy.

The project is the latest stage in the Materials Integrity Centre ERDF project, which ties into the strategic economic plan of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership to maximise investment in the region.

With SMEs, innovation, and individuals placed at the centre of the region’s growth ambitions, the Tees Valley Social Economic Plan (SEP) seeks to create 25,000 jobs and add £2.8bn to the economy by 2026. This will be achieved by turning the area into a high-value, low-carbon, diverse and inclusive economy.

The opening of the state-of-the-art laboratory and world-leading test facility underpins applied research and technology activities, delivering specialist materials and engineering support to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Tees Valley, and helping them develop new products and processes, as well as offering access to new technology markets to grow the local economy.

Mihalis Kazilas, Business Group Manager of TWI’s Materials Performance and Integrity Group said, “The new engineering hall combines the industrial expertise of TWI in the area of non-metallics testing and evaluation with the academic excellence of Teesside University in net-zero technologies. Together, TWI and Teesside University will support local businesses and enterprises in the development of new products and services that will contribute to the growth objectives of the Tees Valley Social Economic Plan.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen saying, “This fantastic facility is further proof of how our area is leading the way in developing the greener, cleaner innovative industries of the future such as hydrogen.”

“The engineering hall will play a vital role in supporting small and medium sized businesses and supercharge our ambition to become a global centre for net zero energy and innovation. It will also support more of the high-paid well-skilled jobs and crucial investment we need to drive our local economy forward.”

As well as delivering the new facility, the Materials Integrity Centre programme has seen the creation of a dedicated research group focused on non-destructive testing (NDT) and the expansion of a modelling group who are dedicated to investigating materials’ performance and failure.

Advancing knowledge and technology transfer in the fields of NDT, modelling, and hydrogen-related materials technologies allows our experts to expand their efforts in supporting SMEs and contributing to the sustainable growth and competitiveness of the region’s materials-based sectors.

In addition to these research and modelling activities, the Materials Integrity Centre delivered direct technology transfer activities to local SMEs through the Materials Integrity Technology Transfer (MITT) programme. This provided free support to SMEs to assist in the introduction of new technologies as well as problem-solving and knowledge-sharing initiatives to enhance the quality and reliability of products.

The MITT project team completed 84 individual projects, increasing employment figures at the supported companies, while forging interaction between SMEs and research institutions, and helping bring new products to market.

By bringing together research excellence, technology transfer and world-class facilities in a collaborative effort, the Materials Integrity Centre has supported the growth of businesses in the Tees Valley region and helped to meet the aims of the Tees Valley Social Economic Plan to enhance productivity, competitiveness, and innovation among businesses in the region.

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