Nine companies based in the North West are the first in the UK to benefit from a government Industry 4.0 programme.
The businesses are part of the £20 million Made Smarter Programme, which will help them to grow by adopting new digital technologies.
Based in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region, the nine companies are set to introduce 12 advanced manufacturing methods including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 3D-printing and robotics.
The investment is expected to bring benefits including improved productivity and revenues, increased export sales, job creation, upskilling existing workforces, digital integration with supply chains, improved safety practices and reduced environmental impact.
For these nine businesses alone, the Made Smarter business support programme could deliver an additional £5.5 million for the North West economy.
“I am delighted that the Made Smarter pilot has now supported the first successful SME applications,” said Donna Edwards, director of the Made Smarter North West pilot.
“Working with business we have found that they are enthusiastic about the benefits of adopting new digital technology.
“Often, they need funding support, but also the specialist advice and insight to help them select the right approach for their business.”
They are the first group of firms to grasp the opportunity offered by the pilot scheme, which aims to engage with over 3,000 manufacturing SMEs in the North West.