New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell Campus is to be the home of a new £900,000 centre of excellence for manufacturing innovation and robotics.
The Manufacturing Innovation Hub will support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve their manufacturing capacity.
North Lanarkshire Council, in partnership with New College Lanarkshire and the University of Strathclyde, successfully bid for £290,475 from the Scottish Government’s Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund to invest in the new centre.
The centre 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.
The University of Strathclyde will provide business engagement resource one day per week at the Hub.
The day-to-day running of the hub will be managed and delivered by staff from the College’s Faculty of Engineering working in conjunction with NCL’s External Funding Team.
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.
The project will run until 31 December 2022.
Councillor Allan Graham, Convener of the Enterprise and Growth Committee, said: “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.
“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 hub will complement the new £65m National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) 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.
North Lanarkshire currently has 585 manufacturing businesses (7% of the total business base), employing 11,200 people.
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 Manufacturing Innovation 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 Manufacturing Innovation Hub will be an asset in helping such firms rebuild capacity and identify new and better means of production.”