Mercia Technologies PLC, the national investment group focused on the funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high growth potential from the UK regions, is pleased to announce that its direct investment, Impression Technologies Limited (ITL), part of a leading consortium including Gestamp Washington UK Limited (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gestamp Automoción, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive components), have together successfully secured funding totalling £9.6million.
The project, which is known as RACEForm, includes £4.8million in grant funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Ltd (APC). ITL will receive a significant proportion of this grant funding to further develop and validate its HFQ® Technology, an advanced light-weighting approach for use in the global automotive industry.
Based in Coventry, one of Mercia’s core investment regions, ITL is commercialising a novel forming process initially researched at the University of Birmingham, one of Mercia’s 19 university partners. ITL will lead the 30-month project with a consortium including Gestamp, Innoval Technology Limited, Imperial College London and Brunel University London. The project is expected to commence in a matter of weeks.
The consortium will work in partnership with a major UK-based car company and an international producer of aluminium to focus on validating the patented HFQ® Technology. ITL holds the exclusive global rights for the mass production of complex, deep drawn, high strength aluminium structures for car body and chassis applications, and the project is expected to help establish the technology as a global standard for aluminium light-weighting worldwide. The technology offers original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), either directly or through suitable Tier 1 providers, significant savings in weight, cost and system complexity through its ability to produce deep drawn high strength aluminium alloys with low cycle times and no spring back.
Jonathan Watkins, ITL’s Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that APC has chosen to back our HFQ® Technology. We look forward to working with Gestamp and the other consortium members in collaboration with our OEM and aluminium partners to further develop HFQ® Technology for mass production and to establish the technology as a global industry standard.”
Matt Mead, Chief Investment Officer of Mercia Technologies PLC and board director at ITL said: “Under the leadership of Jonathan Watkins, the team at Impression Technologies has made considerable commercial progress during the last twelve months. The award of this grant funding, with a world class consortium, confirms the global opportunity for HFQ® Technology, which we are confident will deliver significant shareholder value over the medium term”.