STRIVE Project to Drive a Manufacturing ‘Step Change’

Date: Sunday, May 12, 2013

STRIVE Project to Drive a Manufacturing ‘Step Change’

***Press release***

Northwest based organisations, Northwest Automotive Alliance (NAA), Bentley Motors Ltd, Virtual Engineering Centre (University of Liverpool), Optis SAS, Icona Solutions Ltd and DNA-Agile Group Ltd have been awarded funding of £1.95million from the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) to create a new ‘digital’ supply chain for the UK automotive sector.  In collaboration with Finance Birmingham, Programme Managers of the AMSCI initiative, this ground-breaking development project will lead to improvements in manufacturing productivity through the introduction of innovative new manufacturing planning processes.

The aim of the three year  “Simulation Tools for Rapid Innovation in Vehicle Engineering” (STRIVE) project, is to facilitate a ‘step change’ in UK automotive manufacturing, enhancing product design to support improvements in manufacturing productivity whilst retaining(and improving) build quality.

The R&D programme, led by independent automotive sector organisation NAA, will combine next generation technologies provided by Optis, Icona and DNA-Agile Group, along with technical integration and research expertise through the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre. Collectively, they will work with Bentley Motors’ Engineering and Product Launch teams in the development and engineering design of new models.  Collaboratively, STRIVE will develop an integrated solution of high fidelity simulation, immersive virtual prototypes and processes for evaluation and, ultimately, application for the advancement of the UK automotive industry.    The result will be significantly reduced timescales for the development of new vehicles and enhanced build quality.

Following successful completion of the project, the new processes will be available for ‘roll out’ to vehicle manufacturers tier 1 suppliers and other industries with a similar manufacturing and assembly environment. 

The total investment of the STRIVE project, including investment by the partners, is £3.3 million and it is due to create 23 new jobs and safeguard 40 positions.

Carol Holden, Northwest Automotive Alliance commented,    “This is an exciting and innovative project. It has the potential to make a significant impact in terms of product quality and the speed in which it takes to get a new model to market. The benefits will be felt not just by consortia members but, ultimately, by all UK automotive manufacturers, endorsing the UK’s position as a quality and cost competitive manufacturing base”.

 ------------------------------------ END ------------------------------------


Bentley Motors Ltd

Bentley Motors employs around 4,000 people in Crewe which is home to all its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury vehicle manufacturers such as Bentley. It is also an example of high-value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley exports over £1bn worth of goods in 2012.  The company is the third largest R&D investor in the UK's automotive sector and the 18th largest nationally.

For further information about this press release please contact:

Matthew Reed – Corporate Communications Manager

Tel       +44 1270 536 431

Mobile +44  7903 515 088

For further information on Bentley please visit:

Media site

Twitter            @BentleyMotorsPR
You Tube

The Northwest Automotive Alliance

The NAA was launched in March 2004 with support from regional government funding. From mid-2010 the funding landscape changed and the NAA became an independent company. The governance of the NAA is via a small number of directors and a large advisory board representing the local industry.

The NAA is a strong believer in partnership and collaborative working with both industry and relevant public sector organisations such as BIS, UKTI, MAS, universities, local councils and LEPs. The NAA also works with relevant trade organisations including the SMMT, Automotive Council, EEF and SEMTA.

The Northwest Automotive Alliance’s Business Excellence programme is free to automotive and related manufacturers to join, as it is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the private sector. The £2.2 million programme is the only automotive-specific funded business project of its type in the region and country. The programme aims to improve the economic position of participating companies through increased performance.  The support is flexible, accommodating the requirements of a wide range of companies in automotive and related sectors, and focuses on improving business practices, sustainability, competitiveness and profitability


The Northwest Automotive Alliance

Land Rover Visitor Centre, South Road, Halewood, Liverpool, L24 9BJ

Telephone: +44 (0) 151 486 4986

E-mail:   Website:

Press Enquiries

Paul Clarke

Telephone: 0161 980 6436

Virtual Engineering Centre, University of Liverpool

A University of Liverpool, School of Engineering led project, the VEC was catalysed by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the former Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and is located at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) laboratory at Daresbury.

Established in 2010, the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) supports the UK advanced manufacturing sector and wider industry by providing a focal point for leading and emergent virtual engineering technologies, research and expertise to improve business performance and competitiveness.   Key sectors include; Aerospace, Automotive, Nuclear, Space and Energy.

The Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) is a University of Liverpool initiative in partnership with, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council’s recently established Hartree Centre.  The VEC is supported by over 25 leading academics and scientists across the University and STFC.  Through this partnership, the VEC offers an exemplar in the industrial exploitation of science and technology infrastructure.

For more information about the Virtual Engineering Centre, please contact Lynn Dwyer on 01925 864853 or

The Virtual Engineering Centre is a University of Liverpool project catalysed by ERDF funding located at the Daresbury Laboratory of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The Virtual Engineering Centre is a strategic partner of the Hartree Centre at the Science and Technology Facilities Council


OPTIS is the world leading software editor for the scientific simulation of light and human vision within a Virtual Reality Environment. Its solutions allow designers, ergonomists and engineers to simulate and optimize lighting performance, product appearance as well as the visibility and legibility of information on Human Machine Interfaces, in a fully-immersive environment.

Since integrating its SPEOS solution in SolidWorks in 2001, CATIA V5 in 2002 and Pro/ENGINEER in 2008, OPTIS is still the only company to provide a light simulation solution fully based on a physical model inside a CAD/CAM software.

OPTIS has delivered more than 6000 licenses to 1600 customers in 36 countries worldwide. Users include most of the major automotive, aerospace, electronics, white goods and lighting manufacturers, as well as architects, universities, research laboratories and defence agencies. They use the SPEOS technology to design, simulate and visualize in a Virtual Reality environment, products as diverse as automotive lighting, mobile phone screens and keypads, dashboard and cockpit displays, LCDs, LEDs, luminaires, military detection systems and optics for industrial vision, defence and medical applications.

More information can be found at or OPTIS Press Contact: Philippe Cas Tel: +33 494086697

For details of Optis involvement in this project or to contact the UK office – please contact Chris Grieve or by telephone on+44 7824 486420

ICONA Solutions

Icona Solutions Ltd is a UK-based developer and provider of unique and innovative software solutions for helping manufacturing companies improve the perceived quality of their products.

The company’s flagship software solution, aesthetica, is 3D ‘virtualisation’ software that simulates and creates high-quality visualisations of the effects that geometric variation introduced during the manufacturing process will have on the aesthetics of the final product, from a customer’s perspective.  aesthetica enables this geometric variation to be simulated on the evolving 3D CAD model of a vehicle or of consumer durable products such as white goods and personal electronic devices, as early as the concept design and styling phase of the product design and development process. This saves time and reduces costs.

Many of the world’s leading automotive OEMs, including Nissan, GM/Opel, Porsche, Bentley Motors, Chrysler, FIAT Automobiles and Great Wall Motor Company, are users of aesthetica, along with automotive design houses and manufacturers of commercial and heavy-duty vehicles.

aesthetica can form an integral part of a manufacturing company’s overall product lifecycle management (PLM) software environment and is supplied and supported through an expanding, global network of qualified, specialist resellers and engineering services providers. Icona Solutions is a member of Dassault Systèmes’ CAA V5 Adopters, Siemens PLM Software’s JT Open and Autodesk’s Developer Network programmes. Find out more at:

More information can be found at or by contacting John Maxfield , Technical Director,

DNA-Agile Group Limited

DNA-Agile is the result of several years close collaboration, innovation, development and live testing with Universities, OEMs and subcontractors working in the advanced engineering industry. DNA-Agile soft­ware solu­tions have been sup­port­ing glob­al en­gin­eer­ing com­pan­ies im­prove busi­ness per­form­ance for more than 25 years;  serving ad­vanced en­gin­eer­ing sec­tors such as aerospace and de­fence, auto­mot­ive, nuc­le­ar, oil & gas, med­ic­al, elec­tron­ics, white & yel­low goods and com­mer­cial en­gin­eer­ing.

Written and developed by engineers for engineers, DNA work closely with advanced engineering manufacturing companies to appreciate and accommodate their production methods and support the requirements needed to support supply chain challenges.

More information can be found at or by contacting Tom Dawes, Managing Director,

Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative

  • Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) on 6 December 2011.
  • Up to £125 million was made available through the initiative to improve the global competitiveness of UK advanced manufacturing supply chains.
  • Suppliers, including small and medium sized enterprises, were encouraged to submit joint proposals with a sectoral level impact to create world-class excellence in supply chains.
  • Applications were assessed by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board, which has a strong track record in supporting credible advanced manufacturing projects which leverage significant private investment and have buy-in from the prime manufacturers at the top of supply chains.
  • Additional funding of £120m for a further 2 rounds of AMSCI was announced in the 2012 Autumn Statement.

The Competition Brief for these new rounds (AMSCI Rounds 3 and 4) is available the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) website at  Round 3 closed on 29 May, and the deadline for applications to Round 4 is noon on 16 October


University’s VEC to partner in Phase 2 of UK nuclear research programme

University's Virtual Engineering Centre awarded contract to provide the digital framework development for a ground-breaking digital nuclear research programme. READ MORE