The Welsh Government has announced plans to invest £20m in a new Advanced Manufacturing & Research Institute in Deeside, North Wales.
The Institute will focus on research into and development of advanced manufacturing techniques and production processes for advanced manufacturing sectors including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food. It will also address training and skills needs across industry.
Announcing the investment, during a visit to the Airbus plant at Broughton, North Wales, Welsh economy secretary Ken Skates said: “The Institute will deliver game-changing support to key manufacturing companies as well as multi-sector supply chain companies and the broader SMEs economy.
“It is geared to increase productivity, commercialisation, innovation and skills development to ensure a thriving competitive industry base that will be a catalyst for growth and jobs across the supply chain in Deeside, North Wales, the Northern Powerhouse and further afield.”
Today’s announcement has been welcomed by Colin Sirett, chief executive officer of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), which is partnering with the new facility in Wales.
The AMRC has worked with Deeside Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, Swansea University, and Coleg Cambria to develop the new Institute in conjunction with SMEs and large companies.
Airbus will be the anchor tenant for the new Institute, which will incorporate a research and development facility at the European aircraft manufacturer’s Broughton plant, where it is working with the AMRC to develop new wing production technology as part of the Wing of the Future programme.
Sirett said: “The £20m investment by the Welsh Government, combined with the £10m from the project partners, will give an important boost to the competitiveness of the advanced manufacturing supply chain in Wales.
“The new institute’s impact will go far beyond aerospace, supporting both the automotive and nuclear industries in Wales.
“It also encompasses sectors which have not traditionally been thought of as part of advanced manufacturing, which can, nevertheless, reap major benefits from the new techniques and technologies we will be developing.”
The Institute will operate as a single entity, split between a proposed 4,500 sq m hub R&D facility in Broughton and a 1000 – 1,500 sq m networking, training, business development and advice facility in close proximity to the Deeside Industrial Park.