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Titanium research boost to enable high-value export products

This article was published on 8 March 2013

A major new investment in New Zealand’s titanium materials research is set to enable the development of a pan-industry manufacturing base for high-value export products, say participants in the programme.

Titanium Technologies New Zealand (TiTeNZ), funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), will provide a major boost to research activities with widespread national and international application across the medical, aerospace, defence, marine, energy and general engineering sectors.

The research collaboration has initial funding of $3.1M pa for two years, but is aiming to establish a long-term programme to support high-value manufacturing based on titanium alloys.

Titanium Technologies New Zealand builds on current research capability and infrastructure in titanium metallurgy, high temperature materials processing and fabrication, and advanced surface coatings at Callaghan Innovation, GNS Science, the University of Waikato, the University of Auckland and the Titanium Industry Development Association (TiDA).

“This investment will enable the development of a world-class titanium research platform in New Zealand and create a multi-company, multi-sector manufacturing base for high-value export products," says Professor Ian Brown of Callaghan Innovation, who is leading a cluster of Crown research institutes and university applied materials research teams working in partnership with New Zealand industrial manufacturers.

Oversight of the new programme will be managed by an industry advisory panel which includes chairs, former chairs and deputy chairs of NZTE, F&P Appliance, Auckland Airport, Wakefield Health and IRL, as well as managers and owners of award-winning manufacturing and engineering companies. The advisory board panel members are Jon Mayson, John Calder, Keith Turner, Barry Robinson, Michael Ludbrook and Andy Cameron. 

The chair of the advisory panel, Jon Mayson, says: “New Zealand has an amazing opportunity around the research and commercialisation of titanium materials.  We are currently at the leading edge internationally in some of our research. Our challenge is to ensure that our current position is converted to commercial opportunities for New Zealand businesses. This may involve collaborating globally in research, but the major focus must remain in ensuring economic outcomes for New Zealand through commercialisation.”