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Editor’s choice “Our alloy wheels often go to third-party


fitters, but we were finding two major issues; damage to the back rim of the wheel as some types of packaging can lead to scuff marks while in transit and damage from removing the wheel from its packaging. Alloy wheels typically weigh 8-9 kilos so they can be easily dropped by fitters, previously Rimstock would be held responsible for this type of damage, but with WorkfloPlus we can challenge these issues with complete confidence.” By December 2020, Rimstock was able to


get its returns rate to a low 9,000 parts per million, so the impact of digitising is easily measured. WorkfloPlus had proved itself in terms of financial ROI, compliance and operational efficiencies thanks to improved quality controls and real-time data reporting. But most importantly, it helped the manufacturer improve relationships with the world’s leading OEMs it supports.


The fuTure


Wise says: “Rimstock has recently appointed a quality manager so we’re starting to do control plan audits, which means getting into the fine detail of how the paint facility runs and questioning everything and creating a Gap Analysis of what we need to do. The way we fill the ‘gaps’ is by using WorkfloPlus to share key data on how jobs are completed. “The next stage is to map out exactly what


we need to do in the future, our workflows need to integrated with our existing ERP system to unlock further operational efficiencies beyond the paint facility to include the entire manufacturing plant – that’s the aim for the next two years.”


Intoware Rimstock


www.intoware.com www.rimstock.com


pioneering space technology gets government cash boost


F


ive UK organisations have been awarded a total of £300,000 from the UK Space Agency to speed up the development of


innovative space technology. Recipients include the University of Leeds,


which will develop 3D printing methods and liquid-crystal technology, similar to that in our television screens at home, to develop far- infrared sensors for studying climate change and star formation. Another project, led by Rocket Engineering in London, will create a compact propulsion system the size of a house brick for use in nano and small satellites. The engines use electromagnets to enable the satellites to move for in-orbit spacecraft servicing or space debris mitigation. LENA Space, a small company based near


Salisbury, is developing a rocket engine for launch vehicles. Called the Modular Propulsion Engine (MPE), the overall development plan is for an off-the-shelf, flight qualified propulsion system to support small launch vehicle programmes. The Pathfinder project will involve detailed design work on the MPE, particularly integrating several previously developed LENA subsystems - including pintle injector, electric drive cryogenic pumps and AM manufactured nozzles - into a single engine. The funding comes from the UK Space


Agency’s National Space Technology Programme (NSTP), which supports development of space technologies, encourages collaboration between industry and academia, and encourages new entrants to the space sector. Science Minister Amanda Solloway says:


“This investment will help UK space businesses fast-track innovative technologies with real scientific and commercial potential, supporting our aim for the UK to secure 10 per cent of the global space market by 2030. “From observing climate change from


Instrumentation Monthly March 2021


space to protecting our satellites from hazardous space debris, these technologies could expand our reach in space and improve life here on Earth.” Since launching in 2011, NSTP has


supported 300 projects. Previous successful applicants include Belstead Research, who improved drag sail methods for removing space debris, and a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to track and analyse volcanic ash clouds, which can damage jet engines.


Charles McCausland, head of Major


Projects and Technology Development, UK Space Agency, comments: “The UK Space Agency has a strong track record of backing early-stage technologies with future potential, and these five projects promise to pave the way for further space innovation. “As the UK extends its ambitions for the


space sector, early support of this kind could prove decisive in helping us get ahead in an increasingly competitive global environment.” The UK has a thriving space industry that


generates an income of £14.8 billion each year. The UK Space Agency works closely with industry and academia to fund new technologies, boost skills, promote growth and inspire careers in the space sector. www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk -space-agency


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