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Innovation loans boost for manufacturers

Winners of recent innovation loans from Innovate UK include Lancashire-based software company Valuechain, which is embedding artificial intelligence into additive manufacturing control software.

Valuechain was one of 17 businesses undertaking R&D in manufacturing and materials that were offered loans in the most recent round of the £50 million pilot Innovation Loans scheme, run by Innovate UK.

Other winning projects included the development of a new feminine care product, portable printed room partitions, and smaller and more efficient electric motors.

Valuechain, which offers several software solutions for advanced manufacturers such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and data visualisation tools, received £960,000 to improve its additive manufacturing (AM) software, DNAam. The software was developed in collaboration with Airbus UK to standardise aerospace additive manufacturing production processes and enable scalability in the aerospace sector.

Tom Dawes, Chief Executive of Valuechain, said:

“Through our collaboration with Airbus UK we have developed DNAam into the global market-leading production control solution for aerospace AM. With this project, we are looking to be able to model big data captured from multiple sources such as ERP systems; AM plant, equipment and sensors; and material analysis software to understand correlations between powder properties, plant / sensor parameters, part complexity and production builds [to] generate AM optimisation insights.”

The final round of innovation loans - with up to £10 million up for grabs - closes on 14 November. For more information on open innovation competitions, visit the Innovate UK website.

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