Lancaster University’s Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory (LCEI) is a business support program, which gives small businesses free access to cutting-edge academic expertise and cutting-edge resources through research projects and funded development, ranging from one month to 12 months.
Among the 22 SMEs it has helped is Blackpool-based Autentica Parts, a platform that allows engineers to share designs for parts and components that can be 3D printed by customers anywhere in the world.
It’s the brainchild of Irma Gilbert whose research and development was accelerated through a fully-funded internship.
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Together they helped create a prototype for the platform which now has customers in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America in various industries including automotive, electronics, consumer goods consumption, medical services, heavy machinery and energy.
The platform decarbonizes the manufacturing supply chain, reduces transport and logistics costs by 70%, lead times from three months to 24 hours, and CO2 emissions by up to 40%.
She now has a team of four and forecasts a turnover of £6million by 2025.
She said: “I saw a transformational opportunity to create a marketplace where engineers could share their designs for parts and components, which could then be uploaded to a platform, licensed, and downloaded by customers all over the world. world for additive manufacturing.
“We are truly indebted to the support offered by LCEI and the expertise of Lancaster University which boosted my ideas to create a platform transforming supply chains, reducing carbon emissions and building a sustainable future.”
LCEi is delivered by the Center for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University, led by Jess Davies, Professor of Sustainability.
She said: “One of the main challenges for women starting out in engineering is seeing it as a profession for them – having great female role models is hugely important.
“As a program, we want to encourage SMEs to play a leading role in addressing climate and environmental emergencies. But it’s also important that we champion the diversity of these innovators to help overcome barriers and change traditional culture and norms.
“We can help drive change by diversifying networks. We need diverse perspectives and lived experiences to better understand the many dimensions of the problem and we are going to need all the creativity that comes with diversity to help us find good solutions to the major environmental problems of our time.
The LCEI is a business R&D consortium, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and led by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) alongside its partners Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool.
For more information visit www.lancaster.ac.uk/global-eco-innovation/business/lcei/ or contact Philippa Chapman by email [email protected]