Gateshead milling experts IIT play part in £18m project

Milling machine manufacturer IIT is taking part in an £18m project aimed at creating new processes for the powder industry

George Ord and Tom Wilkinson
George Ord and Tom Wilkinson

A milling machine manufacturer in Gateshead will play a central role in a £18m three-year collaboration devised to develop new equipment and processes for the powder production industry.

Technology company International Innovative Technologies Ltd (IIT) is part of an eight-strong consortium brought together by Procter & Gamble Technical Centres to look at new and innovative equipment and processes for the production of super fine powders.

IIT has successfully developed a patented low-energy vertical milling system suitable for the fine grinding of a range of bulk materials, powders and minerals into powders suitable for paints and other products, technology which has secured contracts around the globe for the technology.

Now the company, which employs 35 people at its Team Valley site, is set to recruit a further 20 skilled engineers through the collaboration, named Chariot, which is being supported by an £8.85m grant from the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and is being managed by Procter & Gamble’s Newcastle Innovation Centre.

The company’s involvement in the Chariot project will include further in-depth analysis of the milling of powders and particles, and research into the effects of new and different grinding equipment designs on material properties and performance.

In this role, IIT will work alongside the Teesside-based CPI Centre for Process Innovation.

Tom Wilkinson, chairman of IIT, said: “This is a highly innovative and prestigious project and we are delighted to be part of this high quality consortium. The project will combine technological innovation with a focus on developing supply chain relationships.

“The aim is to develop long term partnerships and a successful outcome in our own case could lead to considerable new market opportunities for us and the creation of new highly skilled engineering jobs.”

As well as fine grinding technology, other aspects of the Chariot programme will involve specialist work in the complex areas of powder science, including particle size, shape and structure analysis.

Michael Duncan, Procter & Gamble Global Open innovation director, said: “This project aims to bring exciting possibilities in the area of advanced particle engineering and create new opportunities to supply innovation across several industries.

“Each partner brings key areas of strength and expertise to a challenging project.

By working together, we hope to deliver a real breakthrough that will benefit each partner and our global consumers, as well as stimulate local innovation and development.”

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