New toolkit to help manufacturers cut time and cost from product testing

15 June 2023

AMRC experts support the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult to release new tools to accelerate the UK’s capabilities in Certification by Analysis, helping engineers and manufacturers cut development costs and time to market for products.

Certification by Analysis is the use of digital technologies and data-led processes such as simulation and modelling to reduce the amount of physical product testing required for product certification – a traditionally costly and time-consuming process. It involves new approaches to the validation and regulation of complex products, not the ‘digitisation’ of existing processes.

The toolkit is the product of a collaborative 3-month programme led by a broad team of experts from across industry, regulation, academia and the HVM Catapult and funded by a £950,000 grant from Innovate UK.  The team involves engineers from the HVM Catapult’s centres, including the National Composites Centre, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre. The toolkit includes:

  • A New Assessment Framework to Increase Virtual Testing – A new ‘proof of concept’ assessment framework designed to support reviewing existing frameworks and discussions with certification bodies to improve the certification process.  This enables industry to assess the relative ‘readiness’ levels of their own workforce, the standards they currently use and the products they produce, to assess the benefits of testing techniques.  The team is now inviting industry to test the approach and provide feedback.
  • Pressure Vessel Use Cases and Roadmap – The team successfully trialled the new assessment framework by evaluating two pressure vessels (Type I metallic and Type IV and V composite). This has informed a new roadmap to delivering Certification by Analysis for hydrogen pressure vessels which can be adapted to other pressure vessel applications – helping UK manufacturers take an early lead in certification innovation.
  • In-Process Measurement Handbook assesses the relative maturity of new measurement techniques for Certification by Analysis during manufacturing. The Handbook will remain a ‘live’ document updating manufacturers on technical developments. The team is inviting industry to collaborate on accelerating their maturity.
  • IT Infrastructure Recommendations – The team has authored a series of papers that provide a clear guide to building an agile, secure and scalable IT system suitable for Certification by Analysis and will be publishing its recommendations.
  • Skills Scoping – Based on two specific use cases, the team investigated the future skills challenges for Certification by Analysis.  For each scenario, they identified the tools, technologies, and techniques required, these were ranked in priority using the new assessment framework and mapped across educational provision data to identify current gaps in training.  This work has laid the foundation for a more formal skills foresighting exercise.

Announcing the new toolkit, Marc Funnell, Chief Engineer for Smart Design at the HVM Catapult said: “The new tools we have developed draw on the experience and knowledge of a broad team of experts and will enable manufacturers to take steps now to increase their Certification by Analysis understanding. 

“This will help them build new partnerships and develop future strategies with analysts, regulators and test houses.  

“The UK has a real chance to lead innovation in transforming certification approaches and, by doing so, get novel net zero products into the market, quicker. We have taken the first critical steps along this path.”

To access the toolkit, interested parties are asked to contact the project team at digitalengineering@nccuk.com with further information available on the HVM Catapult website.

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