National Structural Integrity Research Centre

Cultivating Industry Leaders and Advancing Additive Manufacturing

BotFactory Inc., Carlos Ospina

The National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) recently highlighted the achievements of Dr. Afnan Islam, VP of Business Development at BotFactory, underscoring the centre's pivotal role in nurturing industry leaders and propelling forward industrial research. This spotlight on Afnan offers a window into NSIRC's contributions to the field of additive manufacturing and its broader impact.

NSIRC: A Hub of Innovation and Research

Situated in Cambridge, UK, the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) is a premier postgraduate engineering facility that seamlessly integrates academic research with industrial needs. Specializing in structural integrity, materials engineering, and additive manufacturing, NSIRC collaborates with TWI (The Welding Institute) for industry-focused R&D. Additionally, NSIRC partners with over 25+ innovation centers globally, including the University of Cambridge, University of Sheffield, Bristol University, and others, enabling widespread research collaboration. This effort is bolstered by the support of major corporations, government projects, and entities like the Non-metallic Innovation Centre, sponsored by Aramco, BP, and LRF, to tackle global challenges.

Global Impact and Contributions of NSIRC

NSIRC extends its influence far beyond the UK, impacting the EU and other international regions with its cutting-edge research and innovative solutions. By helping clients and partners address complex engineering challenges, NSIRC is a key player in fostering global innovation and technological advancement.

Alumni like Afnan Islam exemplify NSIRC's success in preparing individuals for influential roles in various sectors. Their journey from academic research to significant industry positions demonstrates the practical application and value of NSIRC's education. Afnan's move to BotFactory highlights how NSIRC alumni contribute to critical fields like additive manufacturing and additive manufacturing of electronics.

Exploring the Future of Manufacturing: NSIRC's Pioneering Research

NSIRC is at the forefront of transformative research in the realms of additive manufacturing and microjoining, showcasing groundbreaking work that is shaping the future of manufacturing. One of NSIRC's notable achievements includes the work of Dr. Afnan Islam, who pioneered an advanced magnetic sensor for long-term monitoring of ferromagnetic structures. This project, crucial for industries like oil and gas, additive manufacturing, and nuclear sectors, was supported by Lloyd's Register Foundation and conducted in collaboration with NSIRC and London South Bank University. Afnan's work involved an optimized sensor utilizing a variant of the Magnetic Flux Leakage technique, designed for cost-effective, remote monitoring and precise defect analysis. This innovation exemplifies NSIRC's commitment to developing real-world solutions and advancing industrial research (read more here)​​.

Innovations in Additive Manufacturing: A Case Study on EBAM at NSIRC

NSIRC's work in Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) stands out as a prime example of their innovative contributions, though it's just one aspect of their extensive research. This includes both powder-bed and wire-fed EBAM processes. In powder-bed EBAM, NSIRC is adept at crafting complex geometries, a critical capability for the precision-focused medical sector and the aerospace industry, which thrives on innovative design. On the other hand, their advancements in wire-fed EBAM are revolutionizing the rapid material deposition necessary for efficiently producing large-scale components in the aerospace and defense industries, significantly enhancing efficiency while reducing waste.

Sample made by EBAM (Courtesy of TWI)

Advancements in Microjoining Technology

Alongside additive manufacturing, NSIRC is making significant strides in microjoining. This technology is crucial for the development and reliability of miniaturized electronic connections, which are integral to a wide range of applications. NSIRC's research in this area covers the assembly and functionality of critical components, from motors and batteries to sensors. The centre is also delving into the complex world of electronics packaging, focusing on chip attachment, encapsulation, and hermetic sealing. These efforts are key to enhancing the durability and performance of electronic devices, especially in harsh environmental conditions. 

Image: A wire-bonded silicon chip (Courtesy of TWI).

A Hub for Industry and Innovation

NSIRC's research in these areas is not just about technological advancement; it's also about setting new benchmarks and guiding the future direction of manufacturing and engineering. By pushing the boundaries in additive manufacturing and microjoining, NSIRC is not only contributing to the present needs of various industries but also paving the way for future innovations.

These examples are just a glimpse into the vast expanse of NSIRC's research capabilities and their commitment to shaping a more efficient, innovative, and sustainable future in manufacturing and engineering.

Image: TWI headquarters in Great Abington, Cambridge, UK (Courtesy of TWI)

Quote from James Brookman, Senior Marketing Leader at NSIRC

NSIRC, since its inception in 2012, has rapidly evolved from a UK-centric research hub to an international organization addressing diverse global innovation needs. This growth is reflected in their expansive network of students and research projects that extend beyond the UK to countries like Greece and Thailand. James Brookman, Senior Marketing Leader at NSIRC, encapsulates the essence of the centre's mission and growth trajectory with his statement:

“At NSIRC, we harness postgraduate research to address urgent needs for industrial research. By working tirelessly with our industrial and academic partners, we are able to create important PhD topics, access suitable funding, and deliver high-quality research across a range of technology readiness levels. From our beginnings in 2012 serving UK industries, we have grown into an international organization addressing global innovation needs, with students studying not only in the UK but also in Greece and Thailand.”


The successful projects and innovations at NSIRC, exemplified by Dr. Afnan Islam's groundbreaking work, underscore the centre's dedication to fostering industry leadership and pushing the boundaries of research. As NSIRC continues to extend its reach globally, its contributions, particularly in the realms of additive manufacturing and sensor technology, are set to play a pivotal role in the evolution and advancement of various industries. This commitment to innovative research and development positions NSIRC as a key architect in shaping a technologically advanced and sustainable future.

A Call to Action.

Explore the cutting-edge research and educational offerings at NSIRC, shaping the future leaders and innovators of the industry. For additional details, reach out to NSIRC here.

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