Centre of excellence to be created

Focus on manufacturing innovation and robotics

Ambition we have it

A new £900,000 centre of excellence for manufacturing innovation and robotics will be created in North Lanarkshire to support small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

In partnership with New College Lanarkshire and the University of Strathclyde, we successfully bid for £290,475 from the Scottish Government's Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund to invest in the new centre.

The Manufacturing Innovation Hub, based at New College Lanarkshire's Motherwell Campus, will include: a training facility with six-axis robotic arms with adaptive grippers, controllers and polyscope software; and facilities for manufacturing companies to meet, learn, access business support and academic or partner agency expertise.

A free programme of workshops and demonstrations will showcase the capabilities of new robotics technologies and how these can be integrated in to various manufacturing environments.

"Manufacturing is a key industry sector in North Lanarkshire's economy, and this new hub will help SMEs to modernise, digitise and automate to improve efficiency, boost productivity and grow their exports," said Councillor Allan Graham, Convener of the Enterprise and Growth Committee.

"It will also provide learning opportunities for school pupils to encourage an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as potential career options."

The Lanarkshire innovation hub will complement the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), which includes a facility being built at Inchinnan in Renfrew. It will also contribute to the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF) objectives to create a national network of regionally-based initiatives to stimulate and improve the innovation performance of small and medium sized enterprises.

Funding of £484,125 has been provided by North Lanarkshire Council and New College Lanarkshire. The University of Strathclyde is collaborating in the project and will provide business engagement resource one day a week for the Hub. The project will run until 31 December 2022.

A spokesperson for New College Lanarkshire said: "New College Lanarkshire is proud to be collaborating with North Lanarkshire Council and the University of Strathclyde on a project that has the potential to bring about benefits to the region and local SMEs.

"As a college, training and knowledge transfer are at the heart of everything that we do.

"The support we have received from the Lanarkshire Further Education Foundation will help ensure that the Advanced Manufacturing Hub at our Motherwell Campus makes a concrete impact on the delivery of skills development for current and future students as well as local businesses.

"Given the challenges that will confront local manufacturers as we emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown, the Advanced Manufacturing Hub will be an asset in helping such firms rebuild capacity and identify new and better means of production."

North Lanarkshire currently has 585 manufacturing businesses (7% of the total business base) employing 11,200 people and generating £2.022 billion in the local economy.

The Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF) is a competitive challenge fund. This is being delivered in partnership with the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Programme 2014-2020, specifically, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), together with the Scottish Government, as part of the Scottish Programme for Research, Innovation & Technology Eco-System (SPRITE).

The North Lanarkshire Manufacturing Innovation Hub is one of 12 Scottish projects that has secured funding from the £15.8m Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund.

A to Z of services