Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet has signed off a multi-million pound investment which will bring a revolutionary metals project to Redcar.
The £4.6m investment will allow Liberty Powder Metals, owned by Liberty House, to develop and manufacture speciality alloy metal powders for uses like 3D printing car parts.
The overall cost of the scheme is £9.83m, with almost £4m coming from Liberty and the CASCADE project, a Research and Development initiative funded by the UK Government and led by Liberty.
The project will be based at the Materials Processing Institute in South Bank, enabling Liberty to access the scientific expertise available at the Institute which is a not-for-profit research and innovation centre supporting industry to develop new materials, processes and technologies.
The atomiser, a key part of the scheme, will be set up on an open access basis and will enable collaborative research programmes. There are currently only two such atomisers in the UK.
Liberty expects the market for speciality alloy metal powders to grow rapidly and aims to secure a share in the international market for it, using Tees Valley-based facilities.
Tees mayor Ben Houchen, who chairs the combined authority cabinet, said: “This investment will give Teesside the chance to compete in a potentially huge new global market.
“Staying ahead of the curve on new technologies like speciality metal powders, and the 3D printed products they’re used in, could create a whole new industrial cluster and many jobs for local workers.
“The fact that a company as big as Liberty has chosen to bring this project to the Tees Valley shows that we are a real magnet for research and development and foreign direct investment.
“It just shows that if we keep backing our job creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and risk takers, private investment will flood into our area to develop future-proof industries like this one.”
Councillor Sue Jeffrey, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council and cabinet member of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “This is great news today for Redcar and Cleveland and the Tees Valley coming as we reach the third anniversary of the closure of SSI.
“This is investment in the metals industry of the future, proving that the sector continues to have great prospects here in the Tees Valley.
“It brings with it not only the promise of high skill jobs now, but of many more to come benefiting both our ready-made highly skilled workforce and our young people currently in education and training and hoping to get jobs locally.
“Investing in the right technology today creating the jobs of tomorrow is a key part of our Strategic Economic Plan”.
Jon Bolton, chief executive of Liberty Steel UK, said: “As a group we are committed to revitalising the metals and engineering industry through innovation and we’re very proud to partner with the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Materials Processing Institute to take forward a game-changing technology that will build a bright new future for these sectors in the UK and worldwide.”