Harald Egner

Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC),


Overview of technologies at MTC for use in Energy sector


The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is focusing on industrial upscaling of new processes enabling new product designs and functionalities as well as improving overall productivity in manufacturing and gaining further competitive advantage for our clients through higher resource efficiency. The setting up of MTC was supported by aerospace industry but technologies apply very much to the energy sector as well.

Resource efficiency in “Connected Factories of the Future”

Resource efficiency is a bit challenge for factories in the future. This relates to more efficient use of materials and resources and particularly energy use. Moving into connected factory environments using Digital Manufacturing / “Industrie 4.0” technologies will offer to manage particularly the overall use of energy in a much more efficient way. Using its own industrial scale environment MTC has demonstrated in projects run under the MTC Core Research Programme how an Energy monitoring SCADA system can work and the benefits that can be achieved. The demonstration included the comparison of process simulation data and actual energy consumption based on the example of a high power welding machine (RFW). It clearly showed how you can make effective predictions about energy consumption at the process simulation and planning stage.

Additive Manufacturing technology to support

  • Industrial implementation of hybrid manufacturing technology to support MRO in Power Generation

MTC has a strong background in additive manufacturing and is hosting the National Centre for NetShape and Additive Manufacturing”. Based on Hybrid manufacturing technology MTC has demonstrated the support for MRO in Power Generation on industrial scale. Hybrid manufacturing is understood as a combination of subtractive (drilling, milling etc.) and additive manufacturing (laser deposition etc.) technologies. Based on nationally funded projects (RECLAIM) MTC has developed in collaboration with a machine tool manufacturer and a large turbine manufacturer a first industrial scale application for the overhaul of turbine blades for the power generation sector. The first machine was shown on the EMO show in Hannover September 2013 and received there the show’s “Innovation award” in the multi-function machine category.

  • AM technologies to benefit the energy sector

Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies will certainly play an increasing role in the energy sector. MTC areas of activity include:

  • Hybrid manufacturing for MRO in power generation; MTC leading the “OpenHybrid” project under “Factories of the Future” (H2020) which includes overhaul of large structures.
  • Optimisation of SLM based manufacturing processes to increase productivity and reduce material and energy waste; MTC leading the “ENCOMPASS” project under “Factories of the Future” (H2020) which takes a holistic approach to the product and process design in AM; considering particularly post-processes already at the design stage and reduction of support structures leading to less waste (time, material, energy) in the building of components.
  • Use of AM to build more efficient heat-exchangers by utilising new design options which are not available with conventional manufacturing technologies.
  • High performance parts for wind energy; using hybrid manufacturing technology to add high value functionalities (e.g. surface properties) and features to “simple” base materials.
  • MRO of parts in wind energy; particularly parts from the drive chain.
  • Enhanced and specifically designed components manufactured by AM processes to significantly improve performance and efficiency of e.g. “”Rankine engines” and therefore enabling more commercial viable waste heat recovery.
  • Specifically designed and AM manufactured parts to significantly enhance “superheated steam” systems for distributed and more efficient energy use; ongoing projects on national level.

T-ERA (Thermal Energy Research Accelerator)

At the forefront of energy transformation, the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) will tackle some of the biggest energy challenges facing the UK. As part of the Midlands Innovation group of higher education institutions, ERA aims to foster research and develop new technologies to shape the UK’s energy landscape over the next 40 years. It is a cross-disciplinary hub of technology research and energy talent which brings the region’s combined research expertise together with the surrounding industrial base to deliver a step change in energy innovation.

The Thermal Energy Accelerator (T-ERA) is leading the development and integration of hot and cold energy technologies, delivering domestic and grid-scale applications and innovative solutions to heat homes and buildings.

T-ERA will deliver:

  • Establish an Advanced Thermal Manufacturing Centre (ATMC): To develop enhanced research and design capacity in thermal energy technologies.
  • A scaled up Dearman piston engine: Driven by liquid nitrogen to produce clean cold power for transport applications.
  • Thermal energy storage research: To study the costs and performance of low-carbon heating technologies.
  • Research into reducing thermal load in buildings: To develop low cost technologies that are easy to apply and retrofit.
  • Research into Hydrogen from Biomass: To develop an alternative means of producing green hydrogen at higher efficiency than produced by current technology.

In this context the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is involved to help transform small and medium-sized UK manufacturing companies into some of the most efficient digital factories in the world, and leading players in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The MTC will bring in the use of principles like cyber physical production systems and intelligent technology that harness big data, to increase manufacturing productivity, where the UK lags behind many of its European neighbours including Germany.

Backed by £10m funding from the Thermal Energy Research Accelerator (T-ERA), the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) together with the universities of Birmingham and Loughborough develops the ‘Factory in a Box’ concept that deploys custom-designed mini-factories into established manufacturing operations across the world. The mobile factories – which can be shipped in a container – will use next generation Industry 4.0 technology, such as smart sensors, super-fast broadband and big data to measure and control production processes remotely.

T-ERA and the MTC believe this will reduce the significant expense of setting up stand-alone production facilities, while also giving UK companies the opportunity to establish manufacturing footprints in new markets relatively quickly.

About Harald Egner:

Professional experience

After graduating at the University of Stuttgart with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering Harald joint Fraunhofer. His work at Fraunhofer in Stuttgart took him from the early stages of automation in the early 80s to design for automation and into product development. His focus in the 90s was very much on customer driven product development and relevant methodologies such as QFD. All through his professional career he was working very much on the application and implementation of technology, particularly for SME.

To gain new experience Harald moved with his family to the UK in 2002 with a focus to build new European business partnerships and networks with a particular focus on European Framework Programmes. From the time Harald came to the UK he was involved in the UK innovation infrastructure as a board member with Faradays and KTNs. Further on this included involvement in the “Hauser Review” and developments following on from there which led to the set-up of the Catapult infrastructure.


Current role

After moving from Fraunhofer IPA in March 2013 the current role now is with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), a technology and innovation centre in the UK and part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC). As the EU & Research Partnerships Manager Harald is responsible for the creation of synergistic schemes between the MTC (TRL 4-7) and its research partners (TRL 1-3/4) as well as growing MTC engagement in European collaborative research programmes.

With his arrival at the MTC he brought along the ideas and developments of “Industrie 4.0” in Germany which have been adapted in the MTC. He also is an active member of various EC work groups in Digital Manufacturing and an strategic initiative to great a national stakeholder platform in the UK..


Main publications and/or achievements

  • 1997: Winner of the “Fraunhofer Award” for project management and delivery of industrial project: Design and implementation of crack detection „pipeline pig“ (total project value approx DM 4.5 Mio)”
  • 1999 – 2001: Elected member of the Fraunhofer „Hauptkommission“ (HK), Fraunhofer internal Advisory Board of the Fraunhofer President and directors
  • 1998 – 2007: Deputy head of Fraunhofer TEG – structures and processes for strategic development and for the qualification and orientation of employees, Certification under DIN EN ISO 9001, Balanced Scorecard, Personnel development strategy etc

Experience with EC

  • 2002 – 2008: Member of the High Level Expert Group at SME unit, DG Research, Brussels
  • participation in Framework projects from FP 5 to FP 7, successful in various H2020 projects
  • coordinator role in FP7 and H2020 projects
  • active member of various EC work groups in Digital Manufacturing

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