A digital future for the process industries with new Ayrshire technology centre

2 min read

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) Group, operated by the University of Strathclyde, has announced that it will open a new technology centre in Ayrshire in partnership with North Ayrshire Council and deep tech innovation organisation, CPI, to help the country’s process manufacturing industries embrace emerging technologies and fast track a net-zero future.

Targeting process industries including Scotland’s £9bn oil and gas, £15bn food and drink and thriving pharmaceutical and chemical sciences industries, the new Digital Process Manufacturing Centre (DPMC) located at i3 in North Ayrshire will offer training opportunities, cutting-edge digital demonstrators and access to expert support on research and development (R&D).

The news follows last year’s announcement that the University of Strathclyde was set to work in partnership with North Ayrshire Council and CPI committing to future proofing the process industries through support for digitalisation and data-driven manufacturing.

Following the successful delivery of a series of specialist courses through the NMIS Manufacturing Skills Academy, the partners are now ramping up support through the new centre, which will be housed in an existing manufacturing facility after it undergoes a half million-pound refurbishment. The centre is set to open its doors later this year.

Including space for industrial engagement and a digital demonstration laboratory, the DPMC will provide hands on experience of industry 4.0 technologies across the pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, food and drink, chemicals, water, and fast-moving commercial goods industries, initially supported by a team of six NMIS engineers and researchers.

It will be the first time the Scottish Government backed NMIS Group has opened a centre outside of Renfrewshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) where it operates out of the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and Lightweight Manufacturing Centre (LMC) and will soon open its new headquarters.

NMIS leads ground-breaking manufacturing research to transform productivity levels and boost workforce skills, working with companies of all sizes from growing local firms to manufacturing giants including Boeing.

CPI, collaborates with partners in industry, academia, government, and the investment community to accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative products in healthcare and sustainability.

Marking the first time that High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centres NMIS and CPI have joined forces to open a centre, the DPMC will provide unrivalled cross-industry and academic expertise to businesses across Scotland and beyond at a critical time for manufacturers looking to become more sustainable and mitigate historically high energy costs.

The DPMC will be funded by the Ayrshire Growth Deal, Scottish Enterprise, University of Strathclyde and CPI, and will be supported by ongoing membership income.  Currently home to Booth Welsh, GSK, DSM, and Merck Group, the Ayrshire region is undergoing a rapid industrial transformation, benefitting from a funding injection of up to £21 million from the Ayrshire Growth Deal to create the i3 Digital Innovation Campus and Low Carbon Business Park in Irvine.

A new Centre of Excellence is also being developed in Kilmarnock as part of the Ayrshire Manufacturing Investment Corridor (AMIC) project that will provide onsite support and start-up units to create and grow local food and drink businesses, and complement support offered by the DPMC.

Keith Ridgway, executive chair, NMIS said: “At the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, we’re re-establishing Scotland as a manufacturing powerhouse and doing it proudly as part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult family. Working closely with our Catapult colleagues at CPI, we’re leveraging our combined experience, expertise and networks to deliver powerful solutions for industry.

“Opening our first centre outside of Renfrewshire also demonstrates that we are here to support manufacturers, wherever they are. From fish processing factories in Peterhead looking to become more resource efficient and cut costs, to Ayrshire pharmaceuticals businesses that want to explore data control and analytics to become more competitive, the Digital Process Manufacturing Centre (DPMC) can help.

“We’re delighted to be joining forces with North Ayrshire Council on this vital new offering for the process industries.”