Heather-coloured hub puts Scotland on 'global map of advanced manufacturing innovation'

The opening of a multi-million-pound research and development hub has “put Scotland on the global map of advanced manufacturing innovation” with the potential for large-scale investment and jobs.

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), operated by the University of Strathclyde, said its new flagship facility, which is housed in a distinctive heather-coloured building at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland in Renfrewshire, aimed to be a major stimulus for the country’s economy and skills development. Acting as a magnet for advanced manufacturing in Scotland and further afield, the new campus next to Glasgow Airport will support manufacturing, engineering and associated technology businesses of all sizes. It is hoped that by accessing the R&D, they will become more productive, tap into emerging markets and embrace new technologies.

Scotland’s manufacturing sector, encompassing areas as diverse as food and drink, metal fabrication and satellite development, employs in excess of 179,000 people and is responsible for more than 50 per cent of the country’s international exports and 47 per cent of business expenditure on R&D, according to Scottish Government figures. The new facility will be home to the NMIS Manufacturing Skills Academy, a fully connected “digital factory” and publicly accessible collaboration hub. The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre (LMC), which is also part of the NMIS group, will relocate from its current base in Renfrewshire, splitting its operations between the new building and NMIS’s founding centre, the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).

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Featuring a variety of technology zones dedicated to growth areas, the digital factory will include a food and drink “cyber-physical demonstrator”, industrial internet-of-things shop floor, a factory command centre, and a hub dedicated to helping manufacturers embrace the circular economy and extend the life of their products and systems. The facility was built by Morrison Construction, part of the Galliford Try Group, and designed by Glasgow-based HLM Architects.

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Adrian Gillespie said: “NMIS is a truly world-class facility that puts Scotland on the global map of advanced manufacturing innovation and investment. This ground-breaking institution is already attracting interest and investment from international companies, as well as developing partnerships with companies across Scotland. Working closely with NMIS, Scottish Enterprise will help Scotland’s manufacturers make full use of the institute’s outstanding facilities and expertise to drive innovation in their processes and product development, and to take their products to markets across the world.”

NMIS chief executive Chris Courtney added: “A facility of this scale and ambition doesn't happen by chance. It's been a truly collaborative effort - from creating a shared vision of NMIS to delivering our world-class new building. We now move into a phase of delivering on those ambitions through intense collaboration with industry and providing innovative solutions to their most challenging problems.

“Scotland has a strong manufacturing sector - supporting world-renowned capabilities in the maritime industry, renewable energies, food and drink, the satellites and space industry and many others. We also benefit from world-leading universities and a growing number of ambitious technology entrepreneurs,” he added.



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