To make an excellent meal you need the right ingredients, and you need to know how to combine them such that they make more than the sum of their parts. Developing new composite materials is no different. Through combining ingredients, or materials, with cutting edge development, composite technologies can make vast improvements in efficiency and cost. Using composite material technologies can give grand results – whether creating a zero emissions ferry or manufacturing aircraft that are lighter, stronger and more fuel efficient. There are obvious incentives for research and development (R&D) into new composite technologies.
The advent of composite materials has revolutionised aerospace design and innovation. By creating materials that have exceptional strength to weight ratios, lighter components have enabled greater efficiency both in manufacturing and the performance of planes. R&D is constantly being executed to maximise these efficiencies which have benefits for manufacturers and airlines, as well as the environment. Making planes lighter saves fuel and reduces the emissions produced in flight.
Advanced innovation in composite materials through extensive R&D also has clear utility in the production of electric vehicles. It is anticipated electric vehicles will experience rapid growth in the next few years, with estimated sales projections jumping from 1.7 million in 2020 to 54 million by 2040. The quest to find materials that enable electric cars to run better and more efficiently is on, as finding innovative materials that allow light weight and strong designs for external and engine components, will be critical to ensuring the sustainability and cost effectiveness of this rapidly growing industry. Current technologies such as carbon fibre are too costly and time consuming to be sustainable. One solution is sheet moulding compound, but innovation through R&D is required to eliminate challenges this technique entails.
The advancement of R&D has opened the door to innovating in thermoplastics, which refers to a plastic polymer material that becomes pliable at certain temperatures. Through research into how new materials operate at high temperatures, more nuanced and technical solutions can be found to problems in manufacturing. An important innovation in this area is the use of automation. This minimises costs and makes the production of thermoplastic composites more efficient and cost effective. R&D of automation procedures can benefit your company and create a more efficient manufacturing process.
Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP)
When combining glass fibres and plastic, the finished product, GRP, becomes an enhanced material, surpassing alternatives such as stainless steel and aluminium in some aspects. It can also result in cost savings. Because of this and the relative ease GRP can be formed into moulds, this composite material is great for making designs which require a more pliable ingredient. GRP can be shaped as needed, and is thus used for bespoke designs on products from surfboards to anti-slip walkways.
How Your Composite Business Can Benefit From R&D Tax Credits
If your business is involved in any of these activities, you may qualify for R&D tax credits. These are generous incentives that can give rise to significant tax benefits.
Currently, for every £1 of qualifying R&D expenditure, a small to medium sized company (SME) in the UK can save 24.7p of corporation tax. Alternatively, If it does not have a corporation tax liability, it can cash losses in and receive a cash payment from HMRC at a rate of 14.5%.
Large companies in the UK and companies registered in Ireland can also claim R&D tax credits.
You can also potentially benefit from corporation tax savings if you have a patented invention, under Patent Box legislation in the UK and Knowledge Development Box legislation in Ireland.
The benefits are generous but the rules relating to them are complex and require specialist advice – which we can help you with. We work with a number of composite technology companies.
To find out more, please visit www.ianfarley.com or call us on 07752 386484 to arrange a no-obligation discussion.