Posted on November 14, 2018 by staff

£20m scheme to revolutionise North West manufacturing


A new £20 million initiative designed to support the North West’s manufacturing sector with industrial digital technologies (IDTs) has been launched today.

Technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and the Internet of Things are the focus of the Made Smarter North West programme, which is backed by government and some of the world’s biggest businesses including Siemens.

The scheme will engage with 3,000 SME manufacturers in Cheshire, Warrington, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City region, giving them the chance to access match-funded support and advice regarding how IDTs could revolutionise their manufacturing processes.

By becoming a test-bed for new types of technologies and advanced processes, it is hoped that the region’s manufacturing sector could generate a 25 per cent hike in productivity, adding £115 million to the North West economy.

The initiative has been backed by the Made Smarter Commission – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the private sector.

It is co-chaired by business secretary Greg Clark and Siemens CEO Juergen Maier.

“Made Smarter has the potential to kick-start a new industrial revolution for our manufacturing sector and be a catalyst for new investment in the latest digital technologies,” said Maier.

“At its core will be helping local businesses to innovate, creating new opportunities and technologies in the process. It’s a hugely exciting time for the North West, and I believe this is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost productivity and create the high value, highly paid jobs of the future.”

Greg Clark added: “From pharmaceuticals to aerospace, the North West manufacturing sector has earned a global reputation for excellence and expertise, with manufacturing jobs accounting for one in 10 of the region’s total workforce.

“With Made Smarter North West we are giving 3,000 manufacturers across the region advice and grants to give them the tools and resources needed to transform the way they do business and pioneer technological innovation in manufacturing.”

Made Smarter will be delivered across the North West through the Growth Hubs.

Its regional roll-out will be coordinated by Donna Edwards, managing director for business support and business finance at the Manchester-based Growth Company.

The initiative was officially launched as part of Digital Manufacturing Week and the Manufacturers Leaders’ Summit, a national conference hosted at Liverpool Arena.

Maier and Edwards were joined by Liverpool’s metro mayor Steve Rotheram, together with representatives from Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region LEPs and local Growth Hubs.