THE ORGANISATION which brings together Nottinghamshire’s manufacturing strength will move into a new home which looks set to give it a higher profile and forge closer links with industrial research.
The Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network represents more than 30 companies which collectively turn over more than £250m a year and operate in industries which range from engineering to electronics and brewing to making cricket bats.
Now in its third year, the Network has signed a deal which will see it move into the landmark Advanced Manufacturing Building, which is currently being constructed by the University of Nottingham.
The University has regularly hosted meetings for the Network but has now agreed to provide it with a permanent home which puts it alongside some of the most high-profile manufacturing research projects in the country.
Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network is chaired by Mark Goldby, one of the founders of SMS Electronics, and he says that the move will encourage expansion of an organisation whose current membership already employs close to 2,000 people.
He said: “Not everybody realises it, but manufacturing remains a thriving and important part of the Nottinghamshire economy. Alongside the major names which the East Midlands is famous for, we have an large array of very smart supply chain businesses who do everything from traditional engineering work to high tech manufacture and real craftsmanship.
“We launched the Network three years ago to raise the sector’s profile and share best practice, and the University has supported us from the start by hosting meetings and encouraging collaboration. Moving into the Advanced Manufacturing Building will lift our organisation on to another level at a time when the industry is becoming critically important to our economic future.”
The University of Nottingham already has a high profile in manufacturing, carrying out large-scale research projects which support its relationships with some of the most famous names in global industry, among them Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, Airbus, Boeing, General Electric and AVIC, the Chinese aerospace giant.
Steve Upcraft, Lead on SME Engagement at the University, said: “Manufacturing isn’t just a prominent part of Nottinghamshire’s industrial heritage – it is critical to its present and future, and it’s been a central feature of the University’s engagement with business for years, all the way from large corporates to SMEs in their supply chains.
“It made sense for us to support the Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network by facilitating their meetings but we are now going to take that one step further by giving them a permanent home in one of the most exciting technological landmarks in the region, the Advanced Manufacturing Building.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Building forms part of a 10-year, £100m investment in manufacturing research by the University. It is being built on Derby Road, Nottingham, next to the University of Nottingham Innovation Park, part of the Jubilee Campus.
Professor Andy Long, Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham, said: “The Advanced Manufacturing Building will be a facility which reflects our status as a centre of excellence for research into the manufacturing technologies of the future.
“We have well-established partnerships with a number of major names, helping them to develop new materials and new processes around automation, precision manufacturing, 3D printing and lightweight composites.
“We will be delighted to welcome the Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network into the building as collaboration with SME and supply chain businesses is a critical part of understanding how new technologies and processes can be applied.”
The move has also coincided with Government encouraging a higher profile for the UK’s manufacturing strength under the umbrella of the Midlands Engine initiative, which seeks to raise the region’s economic profile and support business growth.
Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine, commented: “The Midlands is the beating heart of UK advanced manufacturing, where we have global strengths in the aerospace, automotive and transport industries.
“Our region is home to some of the most famous names in the industry, supported by an army of high-tech supply chain companies, all of whom make a significant contribution to the UK economy.
“I’m delighted to see the Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Network come together with the University of Nottingham to support the industry’s future growth, and collaboration between business and academic research has an important role to play in that.”