Published on 06/12/2023
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Metal Assemblies (machining)
  • Project enabled Metal Assemblies’ machines to talk to each other and shop floor staff in ‘real time’
  • Programme’s efficiency savings resulted in 15% business growth without any extra staff or new machines
  • Innovate UK, the United Kingdom's innovation agency, has rated it ‘outstanding’.

Innovate UK, the United Kingdom's innovation agency which provides funding and support to organisations to make new products and services, has rated an Aston University knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) as ‘outstanding’.

A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified researcher, known as a KTP associate.

The Midlands automotive supply company experienced a 15 per cent growth in turnover achieved without an increase in the operation cost base of the business.

Metal Assemblies, which supplies stamping assembly parts for car giants such as Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover, entered into the two year KTP with Aston Business School in 2021 and it is the first business-related one to be completed at the University.

The £200,000 project, which was part-funded by Innovate UK, resulted in efficiencies that meant the business growth has been achieved without the need to employ any extra staff or invest in new machinery.

The researcher placed with the company was taken on as a full-time employee, and it is estimated the project could soon result in a further 15 per cent growth.

Mark Smith, Executive Director of Business Engagement at Aston University, said:

“This recognition reaffirms our commitment to fostering impactful collaborations. 

“Through this successful KTP with Metal Assemblies, we've demonstrated that true innovation arises from the synergy of academia, industry and dedicated researchers. 

“As we celebrate this milestone as the first completed business-related KTP at Aston University, we anticipate that the ripple effects of this project, supported by Innovate UK, will continue to fuel growth, inspire new avenues of progress and drive us towards a future of sustainable success.”

The project’s Knowledge Transfer adviser, Mark Matchett, representing the funding body Innovate UK – KTN, said:

“The project between the University and Metal Assemblies was a fantastic example of how partnering with academia can provide new ideas and inspiration for improving productivity and competitiveness to hard pressed manufacturers. 

“Many of the regions manufacturing businesses who face stiff competition have worked hard for many years to remain competitive. 

“Metal assemblies were no exception but found new inspiration in the academics at Aston and KTP associate to implement state of the art digital tools and practices resulting in a new culture within the business that’s helping them win new orders.”

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7446 910063 or email:

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