A groundbreaking new centre to help companies benefit from lightweight manufacturing technology has been officially opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The £8.9 million Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, operated by the University of Strathclyde, is the first stage of establishing the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute Scotland – which aims to make the country a global leader in advanced manufacturing.
The centre will develop lighter, more efficient components for high-value industries, which include the automotive and aerospace sectors.
Announced by the Scottish Government in 2017, the Institute could help Scotland compete on a global scale and herald a new era of manufacturing innovation across the country. Technology is increasingly transforming the manufacturing industry, with advances being driven by automation and technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Speaking at the opening of the centre, which is temporarily located at the Doosan Babcock facility in Renfrew, the First Minister said: “Our ambition is to build on Scotland’s long history of innovation and to be seen as modern inventors and producers, rather than just consumers of goods.
“It is really important as technology rapidly advances, that our economy must follow suit. This world-class centre will help us do just that, as the first stage of our new National manufacturing Institute Scotland.”
The First Minister added: “Businesses across Scotland will benefit from access to the state-of-the-art equipment and opportunities for collaboration and research and development. The opportunities that stem from lightweight manufacturing will help increase their competitiveness.”
The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre is scheduled to move permanently to the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland buildings in 2021.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said the new centre will provide the “skills and services needed to place Scottish industry at the forefront of lightweight manufacturing” and help companies “of all sizes” to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.
He said: “Lightweighting technology holds huge promise for a wide range of sectors, from making aircraft and vehicles lighter and more energy efficient to improve renewable energy technology performance, and developing the next generation of materials for health care.
“Today’s launch marks an important milestone in Scotland’s innovation journey, and we look forward to working side-by-side with businesses around the country.”