The National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL) CEO, Dr Peter Thompson, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin and the leader of Rochdale Council, Neil Emmott, led an event at Hopwood Hall College and University Centre in Rochdale to discuss the region’s ambitions.
At the event, hosted by the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute, the Mayors shared their shared vision for a thriving advanced manufacturing industry spanning the M62 corridor and explored the role of advanced machinery in driving this success.
The North of England has an active and high concentration of industrial expertise in the design, development and manufacture of complex machinery. This machinery is used in a wide range of industries to manufacture products such as pharmaceuticals, food and drink, and automotive components.
The ambitions of the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI), with its national remit, is to build on the strengths of the region. NPL is currently leading AMPI’s first innovation programme, the 5-year UKRI funded Strength in Places Fund initiative, which is proactively supporting advanced machinery innovators across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. AMPI will grow the UK’s advanced manufacturing machinery market to £2bn over 10 years, support machinery developers in their R&D and upskill staff. The support provided to local SMEs, through the Institute’s Innovation for Machinery (I4M) programme, enables innovation and increases the adoption of new machinery and robotics through UK equipment manufacturers.
NPL has a long history of utilising its expertise in metrology to find solutions to some of the challenges facing society today. At the event Dr Peter Thompson announced further NPL funding to enable UK industry to innovate, under a new programme, Measurement for Business.
There was also a panel discussion which included Julia Heap, CE and Principal at Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, Paul Simkiss, MD Simkiss Controls, Mandy Ridyard, Produmax, Gareth Edwards, AMPI, where they talked about their ambitions for the region.
Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, said: “We have a thriving manufacturing sector in West Yorkshire, which is only going to be made stronger by working with partners within the industry. It has been fantastic to discuss our shared visions as we continue our work levelling up across the North, leading the way in manufacturing and providing opportunities for businesses. I am excited to see projects go from strength to strength in the coming years for the benefit of machinery manufacturers across our regions.”
Dr Peter Thompson FREng, CEO, NPL, said: “We are delighted to use our position as a national laboratory to lead initiatives and programmes, which are proactively supporting advanced machinery innovators across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. I hope that NPL’s metrology expertise can once again provide the footing for those innovating to do so with success.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “If you go back a century this area was the powerhouse of the world - the first home of advanced manufacturing and machinery. We led the world and I see no reason why we can’t do exactly the same again. This is the best opportunity we will get to reindustrialise the North of England, but in a good way, a clean way that brings prosperity in the future. If we’re going to rise to that challenge, it will require us to innovate, to bring forward new materials and ways of making things.
“I see Atom Valley as being right at the heart of that vision. If we go first, we will bring forward the new technologies and develop our skills base. It will be built by a network of organisations and institutions like AMPI that are ready to go faster - that’s how the North of England rises again.”
Councillor Neil Emmott, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said “In our borough, cooperation is what we do best. By bringing together the very best of the manufacturing community and educational partners, both local, regional and national, the AMPI will create hundreds of highly skilled, highly paid jobs on our doorstep.
“This is an unrivalled opportunity for our residents to be part of and I’m really proud of what’s been achieved so far. The importance of this incredible project cannot be overestimated. By bringing major organisations together in this way to pool the best skills, talent and resources from across the country, we have the power to create cutting edge technology, which will transform the manufacturing industry in a way that will have an impact far beyond our borough’s borders.”
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13 Feb 2023