Mechanical Engineering

R&D in Mechanical Engineering

The UK’s mechanical engineering sector is going through a period of significant change as companies look for ways to improve efficiency and sustainability.

A need to reduce the impact on the environment is driving much of the developments in the sector, and a broad range of expertise means there are many activities eligible for research and development (R&D) tax credits.

The R&D scheme is designed to encourage innovation and provides relief on investment to overcome uncertainty. Given the high levels of uncertainty involved at the outset of many mechanical engineering projects, the opportunities to receive tax relief are plentiful.

The key is to understand how a project advances scientific or technical understanding and overcomes previous uncertainty, which means expert advice on compiling and submitting an application is vital. Some of the mechanical engineering activities likely to qualify for R&D tax credits are listed below.

Examples of eligible activities

  • Development of tools to improve efficiency
  • Designing new processes to increase capacity
  • Research into new materials
  • Research into new uses of existing materials
  • Modification of systems to improve capacity
  • Development of processes to enhance safety
  • Research and development of new tools

A mechanical engineering firm was engaged to help a supermarket resolve an overheating problem. The company began a programme of R&D to understand how the existing HVAC system could be modified, so it could avoid a costly new installation.

Its research allowed it to design a bespoke modification, integrating a newly developed heat extraction system with the existing cooling system. This design solved the overheating issue and drastically reduced energy consumption in the store.

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