June 24, 2019

UK start-up meets manufacturers’ need for speed in new product innovation

For chemical manufacturing companies, speed to market for developing, testing and improving product formulations is critical against a tough, highly competitive market environment.

The Hartree Centre

. Access to high performance computing can drastically speed up time-to-market, but is a complex process and can be a daunting task without an in-house specialist.

Eco-friendly cleaning products and fuels, more sustainable crop protection products and breakthrough personal care products - these are just some of the consumer and industrial goods that will benefit from this capability. Company needs can be very different, but they all have in common the need to understand the ingredients they use as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Now, UK start-up company Formeric is meeting this need for speed with a revolutionary cloud-based app that puts supercomputing into the hands of manufacturers to develop new products, with no supercomputer specialist required.

Formeric is a spin out of the world leading expertise and supercomputing technologies of the Hartree Centre, part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).  Located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, at Sci-Tech Daresbury in the Liverpool City Region, the Hartree Centre’s key mission is to transform the UK industry through high performance computing, data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies.

Formeric’s platform application, which connects to the Hartree Centre, enables manufacturers and materials scientists to use the latest high performance and cloud computing technologies to accurately predict the behaviour and structure of different concentrations of liquid compounds.  It will also show how they will interact with each other, both in the packaging, throughout shelf-life and in use.  It means that a single simulation can be requested in seconds, helping researchers to plan fewer and more focussed experiments, reducing time to market.

STFC’s Dr Rick Anderson, a founder of Formeric, said: “STFC, through its Scientific Computing Department and Hartree Centre, is well known for its expertise in modelling and simulation that can be used to benefit UK companies competing on an international scale.  Formeric has been a few years in the planning since concept, so I’m thrilled that our cloud-based app is now ready to speed up design processes and reduce manufacturing costs. The resulting advances in materials chemistry will bring significant benefits to consumers, the environment and the wider economy.”

Dr Elizabeth Kirby, Director of Innovation at STFC, said: “Manufacturing companies are seeking to embrace digital technologies more and more in their efforts to deliver increasingly efficient and profitable products in a global market.  Formeric can now provide these companies with valuable access to supercomputing capabilities, without the need for the specialist skills, in their efforts to embrace digital transformation. I’m excited that we have harnessed the commercial potential for digital transformation from our innovative research by creating this new business.”