NEWS Queen’s University Belfast has celebrated the relaunch of the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE), which is integral to the 10x Economy Plan for Northern Ireland. NIACE is the regional Centre of Excellence for innovative composites manufacturing Research and Technology and is delivered by a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and the National Composites Centre. NIACE is supported by Invest Northern Ireland, Spirit AeroSystems, BEIS and industrial members. During the event to re-launch the Centre, an MOU was signed between Queen’s University, Ulster University and the Royal Academy of Engineering in relation to collaboration in innovation and enterprise. NIACE is entering a new phase with additional investment and new partnerships with key national organisations. Exciting new phase Professor Paul Maropoulos from Queen’s University is leading the relaunch of NIACE. He comments: “NIACE is entering a truly exciting new phase in its development, with a team of core staff recruited to give the Centre the capability to deliver innovation R&D projects tailored to the needs of our manufacturing companies. He continues: “I am especially pleased that NIACE is Queen’s University Belfast celebrates innovation in manufacturing 6 HYDRAULICS & PNEUMATICS October 2021 www.hpmag.co.uk Howden, the global provider of mission critical air and gas handling products, technologies and services, has entered into an agreement with EnPro Industries to buy Compressor Products International (‘CPI’), provider of aftermarket components and services to the global reciprocating compressor market. This will be Howden’s sixth acquisition this year and is expected to close following customary regulatory clearances and approvals. CPI, headquartered in Houston, Texas US, has a diverse, global blue-chip customer base with sales primarily in North America, Europe and Asia. It makes precision-engineered, custom aftermarket products and its product offering contributes to the longevity, efficiency and safety of reciprocating compressors. The acquisition of CPI is well-aligned with Howden’s strategy of expanding its global aftermarket presence in the compressor market. By leveraging CPI’s strategically located service centres, Howden will expand its aftermarket services and coverage across North America and Europe. CPI’s valves and aftermarket products are complementary and strategically important additions to Howden’s existing aftermarket compressor technology portfolio. As a result of this acquisition, Howden’s addressable markets will increase by $1 billion. Ross Shuster, CEO of Howden, says: “CPI’s technology, expertise and aftermarket presence, is an excellent fit within Howden, and will allow us to best serve customers looking to improve the performance and extend the life of their vital compressor assets across a wide range of industries. The synergies for both organisations and the positive impact for the combined customer base is significant. We look forward to welcoming the CPI team into Howden upon closing of the transaction.” Growth opportunities As part of Howden, CPI will be able to access growth opportunities through additional technology support from Howden and by leveraging Howden’s existing global distribution and services network in China, Asia Pacific and South Africa. With CPI’s predominantly aftermarket revenues, this acquisition will be accretive to both Howden’s aftermarket mix and overall margins. This acquisition also reinforces Howden’s role in supporting the ongoing energy transition towards renewable sources of energy. Reciprocating compression technology is critical to the energy transition, with applications in hydrogen production and infrastructure as well biofuel production. Howden will leverage CPI’s reciprocating compressor technology to support customers through the energy transition in these critical applications. Howden enters into agreement to buy CPI supported by a new partnership that includes both Northern Ireland Universities and the National Composites Centre. This gives NIACE access to the UK-wide High Value Manufacturing Catapult network. The Centre is also committed to working with the Royal Academy of Engineering to support its new Enterprise Hub in Northern Ireland.” The 10x Economy Plan highlights that manufacturing is critical to Northern Ireland’s economic future and that accelerating City and Growth Deals is central to post Covid recovery. The Belfast Regional City Deal project, Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC), will bring together partners, expertise and significant new investment. Existing facilities, including NIACE, will be central to driving innovation across manufacturing businesses within Northern Ireland and beyond.