Lightweight structures

Take advantage of this unique opportunity

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Global demand for lightweight structures is growing exponentially.

Led by the transport sector, investment opportunities for lightweight materials is worth a potential £32.2 billion over the next four years, with the global market projected to expand to £138 billion by 2021.

Watch Seb Leaper outline the UK investment opportunities in lightweight structures.

View video transcript

In the first industrial revolution Manchester was famous for textiles and iron. Now it’s changing the world with entirely new materials. Light alloys, coatings and technical textiles of incredible ingenuity. And amazing 2D materials like the Nobel Prize winning Graphene. First isolated right here in Manchester. Hardly surprising, because these new materials are transforming industries that are also centred in the Northwest. It’s home to over 300 automotive firms and Europe’s biggest aerospace cluster. There’s a talent pool of 100,000 workers in high productivity manufacturing and 14,000 students in advanced materials disciplines. Which makes Manchester the location for a company like yours to expand. Because maybe the next breakthrough is just around the corner.

Reasons to invest in lightweight structures include:

  1. A range of materials

    The UK lightweight structures industry includes light alloys, graphene, 2D materials, technical textiles, materials for demanding environments and coatings

  2. A variety of sectors

    These materials have huge potential in sectors, such as transport, including aerospace (worth £18.6 billion by 2022), automotive (worth £13.1 billion by 2022) and rail (worth £591 million by 2021)

Unrivalled benefits

The Greater Manchester area supports commercialisation in lightweight materials through:

  • An established infrastructure
    • home to more than 300 automotive supply chain firms
    • the centre of Europe’s largest aerospace cluster
    • world-class R&D: graphene was discovered in Manchester, also home to the National Graphene Institute which partners with more than 60 companies to develop and commercialise graphene technology
  • Its ideal location
    • centrally located in the UK, with intermodal access to UK and continental markets
    • access to state-of-the-art High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres and £200 million in funding to help businesses turn ideas into commercial ventures
  • Access to skills and research
    • access to a talent pool of 14,000 students studying advanced materials disciplines and over 100,000 people working in high productivity manufacturing
    • proximity to internationally recognised research centres including the Aerospace Research Institute, Dalton Research Institute, Henry Royce Institute, Materials and Physics Research Centre, the National Composites Certification and Evaluation Facility and the Northwest Composites Centre

These opportunities are enhanced by being:

  • Cost competitive

    • competitive labour costs
    • cost of industrial property
    • utilities costs
  • Supported by government

    • visas and migration
    • skills advice
    • financial advice
  • Supported locally

    • recruitment support
    • access to funding
    • access to academic institutions

Who’s here

Join companies who are already capitalising on the region’s rare opportunity.

  • Luxfer MEL Technologies
  • Nanoco Technologies
  • Precision Technologies Group
  • Sigmatex Material Innovation

Case studies

  • Freudenberg

    The German global technology conglomerate Freudenberg is a leading player in the global innovative textiles industry. The company took advantage of Greater Manchester’s unique eco-system by setting up manufacturing and operations in Rochdale.

  • Luxfer MEL Technologies

    Luxfer MEL Technologies specialises in the design and manufacture of high-performance magnesium alloys for the automotive and aerospace industries. Working in unison with the University of Manchester, it has developed new low-flammable applications for magnesium, revolutionising lightweight materials used to meet weight reduction targets.

  • Precision Technologies Group

    Chinese-owned Precision Technologies Group manufactures special purpose, ultra-precision helical components which can be used in a wide range of demanding environments. Capitalising on the academic links in the area, in 2010 the firm opened a £20 million European innovation centre in Rochdale in partnership with the University of Manchester and Huddersfield University.