KTP with Teesside Uni: UK manufacturer shows 15% growth

KTPs funded by Innovate UK have opened doors for new business opportunities and provided commercial exposure for partner companies.

By U2B Staff 

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Innovation is the lifeblood of any business. In fact, businesses that fail to innovate grow stale and lose their competitive edge. Businesses that want to innovate may not have the right skillsets within their organisations and many businesses struggle to locate the right expertise needed to move forward.

The UK government through Innovate-UK has encouraged universities and businesses to collaborate and innovate through its Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programmes.

KTP is an Innovate UK-funded that has been around for the past 40 years. The programme has helped businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology, and skills that reside within UK universities.

The types of projects undertaken via KTP are strategic and significant for the participating business: they are often central to the future growth and success and are undertaken in a fully professional way.


Why should businesses jump onto the KTP bandwagon?

As a business seeking innovation, it would be impossible for you to have all the required expertise in-house. Businesses will be paired with highly experienced Knowledge Transfer Advisers that will provide them with the strategic input required to propel the partnership forward.

KTPs can bring about a plethora of benefits to businesses. These partnerships can help businesses develop the expertise needed to generate new knowledge, expand the existing capabilities of your business and foster a culture of innovation.

KTPs are one of the most cost-effective ways businesses can build the expertise that is required in a short amount of time. This can be achieved by tapping into some of the most cutting-edge research discoveries from UK university’s world-class knowledge base and resources.

Businesses will enjoy a competitive edge that pushes it ahead of its counterparts with its accelerated innovation as well as the possibility of developing intellectual property.

As a result, businesses can enjoy an increase in revenue through access to new markets, new product development, increased productivity or simply through new and improved processes.

In a nutshell, businesses taking part in KTP projects typically make in excess of £200,000 pre-tax profits per annum, often through the sales of new products or greater operational efficiencies.


KTP between Teesside University & Peel Jones Copper Products

Teesside University and Peel Jones Copper Products’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) has led to a 15% growth in capacity per year for the company.

The Saltburn-based company, which has provided high conductivity copper castings to the global iron and steel industry for 50 years owes its increased growth to the roll-out of a fully digitsed manufacturing process developed through a KTP partnership with Teesside University.

A KTP is an Innovate UK-funded programme that helps businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that exist within universities.

The projects carried out through KTP are strategic and important for the participating business: they are often central to the future growth and success and are undertaken in a fully professional way.

The two-year KTP which completed in November 2019 was established to allow the company to seek the expertise from the university.


The knowledge transfer partnership was led by senior lecturer in Teesside University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies, Dr. David Hughes.

Through this partnership, the university worked on optimising the performance of blast furnaces through innovative 3D design and manufacture of blast furnace casting through utilising materials processing optimisation, embedded monitoring systems, and advanced manufacturing processes for the company.

Managing Director of Peel Jones Copper Products, Andrew Young said the KTP had delivered above and beyond what was anticipated at the project outset.

“We are now capable of producing tuyeres – a tube, nozzle or pipe through which air is blown into a furnace and our most complex product – alongside other products in 3D within a period of just one or two weeks,” he explained.

“We have a knowledge repository for technical information and a file management system set up for 3D models, and essentially the whole company culture has moved towards technical work involving simulation and advanced quality planning. Overall, the new processes that have been introduced here have resulted in a 100% improvement in mould assembly, in one case, and cost-savings on other product lines so far addressed, which we estimate will be in the region of £660,000 worth of capacity per annum going forward. We are absolutely delighted with what has been achieved through the partnership.”


The KTP between the company and the university was led by Dr. David Hughes, a senior lecturer in Teesside University’s School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies. Source:

Dr. Hughes added that the KTP is arguably our most successful yet in terms of what the university has delivered based on the outcomes for the company.

Dr. Hughes is particularly proud of the KTP as it has effectively transformed Peel Jones Copper Products to move from traditional 2D drawings to implement fully digitised design and manufacturing processes.

Through the project, the university team also captured the customer voice which showed there is great interest in instrumentation and improving the reliability of tuyeres.

This has also opened doors for new business opportunities and commercial exposure for the company. From its North East base, Peel Jones Copper Products serves many global plant operators.


KTPs often develop into long-lasting partnerships – up to 86% of businesses want to continue working with their university partner beyond the initial duration of the KTP.

The partnerships go beyond company and university but involve the graduates as well. It is also reported that 75% of post-graduates on the KTP scheme are offered jobs with the company after completion, displaying the valuable impact of these partnerships.