New buyer sees rebirth of Bristol Cars at Filton

April 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Bristol Cars

Kamkorp Autokraft, part of the Frazer-Nash group, has acquired the assets and goodwill of Bristol Cars, the luxury car manufacturer, from its administrators. This acquisition will re-establish the connection between Bristol Cars and Frazer-Nash which dates back to Frazer-Nash’s close involvement in the foundation of Bristol Cars 65 years ago.

“Bristol Cars is a British institution and an important part of our national motoring heritage,” said William Chia, the group’s Director of Operations. “Over the next few months we will start to reveal the details of our plans to combine Bristol Cars’ tradition and iconic marque with Frazer-Nash’s pioneering technology to showcase our cutting-edge electric and range-extended powertrains. British engineers are globally recognised for their inventions and the quality of their innovation – and these attributes are inherent in all our systems and products.  Mindful of Bristol Cars’ rich heritage and our responsibility as custodians of the brand, we are certain that our technology will blend seamlessly and successfully with the Bristol Cars tradition of engineering integrity.”

Bristol Cars, which has its factory at Filton, is the only luxury car manufacturer that remains in private British hands, which the company says gives absolute independence of thought and action that is essential. Despite the small production volume it offers four distinct models covering a wide range of styles and functions. The Fighter and Blenheim remain the primary offerings, while the Speedster and its new cousin the Roadster, which offers a folding top and two plus two seating, continue – in very small numbers and to special order.

The Series 6 range is not strictly new as it is based on an older classic donor car but combines a restoration with extensive modifications that incorporate modern electrics and powertrain. Interestingly, although the Series 6 option (using the same technology and running gear as the Blenheim 3) was originally offered only for the 411, the company is producing both 410 and 603 Series 6 variants and expects to build a 412 Series 6.

In order to serve the demand for ‘as new’ versions of classic cars it is currently starting the build of a 405 drop-head with an uprated 6 cylinder engine and with a steel body frame instead of the original wood. This will not only ensure its longevity but ensure that it cannot be confused with a 1950s production version.

The company’s roots are from the end of World War II when the Bristol Aeroplane Company was faced with the problem of how to use its excess capacity and keep its many employees busy.

In 1960 it was persuaded to join with others to form the British Aircraft Corporation (later British Aerospace). At that time the car division (Bristol Cars Ltd) passed into private hands but the staff are still deliberately drawn from an aviation background at Filton.

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Bristol wins £2m centre for 3D printing

April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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R&D collaboration for aircraft and cars


Aircraft maker EADS and GKN Aerospace are launching a £2m research centre to examine industrialising the next generation of manufacturing process known as Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), which is essentially ‘printing’ objects in 3D.

The collaboration will be supported by a £1.96m investment provided through a Government Regional Growth Fund grant for the use of ALM in aerospace but also for making parts and accessories for cars.

The project will be based in a new shared facility at Filton in Bristol and is expected to create up to 30 new sustainable engineering jobs and develop a new supply chain of companies in the region.

“Promoting innovation is vital if we are to drive growth in our local communities,” said Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk. “We have received a large number of ambitious and highly competitive bids to the first round of the Regional Growth Fund, which will help a number of businesses across the country, and I am delighted to announce funding for this collaboration between EADS and GKN Aerospace. Aerospace is one of Britain’s international successes and one that we should be proud of. We are number one in Europe and number two in the world with a 17 per cent global market share. I look forward to seeing the collaboration build further on this success, creating more jobs here in Bristol and providing an invaluable boost to the local economy.”

The ALM process grows solid 3D shapes from powdered raw material. The shape is created as a digital model which is split into horizontal slices. A laser or electron beam then traces the shape slice by slice onto a bed of powdered material, heating the material, melting it and bonding it to the layer below.  It then quickly cools to form a solid. The process is repeated slice by slice by sweeping a fresh layer of powder over the top each time.

This technology has the potential to advance the design and manufacture of parts in ways that cannot be achieved today, delivering lighter, purpose made parts which use less material, generate less waste and produce lower emissions.  Early results indicate that manufacturing waste could be reduced by up to 90% – particularly significant in industries where high-cost materials are used, such as the aerospace sector.

“This collaboration takes a significant step towards bringing this unique technology into industrial reality. As a more efficient, sustainable process, ALM has the potential to revolutionise industrial manufacturing and secure the UK’s position at the forefront of high tech innovation,” said Ian Risk, Head of EADS Innovation Works UK.

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Paignton company leads asbestos detection consortium

April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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A Paignton company is leading a €1.8m consortium to develop a system for detecting asbestos in the air.

The Alert Rapid Asbestos Detection Tool is being developed by a consortium of 16 partners across Europe as part of the Framework 7 funding scheme. Select Group, based in Paignton, is the project’s lead for global exploitation, production and distribution.

No real method of detecting air borne fibres of asbestos currently exists, and air borne particles are analysed in a laboratory, a process that can take days and wastes valuable time. The Alert project seeks to provide a solution to this problem by providing the first real-time monitor for air borne asbestos.
“Currently in the USA and Europe asbestos exposure is blamed for over 200,000 deaths and future asbestos related insurance claims in the UK alone are estimated to be €12billion and for Europe €100billion,” said Alan Archer, managing director at Select Group. “Through the development of this instrument we aim to achieve a major step-change in the way the world addresses the dangers of asbestos, with the ultimate goal of saving lives.”

The design and development of the Alert system is currently being undertaken by the University of Hertfordshire, with input from other consortium members. “The funding we have received through FP7 has been an integral part of this development programme, and we would urge other firms to apply,” said Archer. “It is a fantastic platform for SMEs to gain access to cutting edge R&D and world leading experts and build business networks. However, it is a complicated process and it is vital to seek the help of experts such as those at Enterprise Europe Network who can help guide you through the process.”

The Alert Consortium members include The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (project co-ordinator), UK- ISRIA, part of the Pera Innovation Network  (microelectronics experts), the University of Hertfordshire (who carried out the underpinning research for the Alert technology) and the University of Valencia in Spain (experts in occupation safety).

For more information about Asbestos Alert visit

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German acquisition brings together SW groups

April 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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Assystem Aerospace Germany has merged with Atena Engineering,  bringing together two aerospace design groups in the SouthWest. Assystem has a group in Emerson’s Green while the Silver Atena group is based in Malmesbury.
Assystem employs around 1,400 people (including subcontractor resources) in the United Kingdom, where it delivers key capabilities in a wide array of industries, from Aerospace and Energy (including nuclear power) to Defence and Transport. The engineering partner of such global industry leaders as Airbus, EDF, Rolls Royce and Spirit Aerosystems, Assystem also supports UK authorities in their nuclear infrastructure maintenance and dismantling projects. Silver Atena offers design and implementation services for critical systems and on-board electronics.

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