AN ADVANCED production facility that is set to become a world leader in additive manufacturing has opened at Silverstone Park in Northamptonshire.
The Digital Manufacturing Centre is heralding a new era of UK manufacturing. It utilises state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, connectivity and pioneering engineering to work with companies operating at the forefront of their sectors.
The centre is part-funded by the government and will play a key role in developing STEM skills along the Oxford-Cambridge Arc growth corridor.
Northamptonshire MPs Dame Andrea Leadsom and Andrew Lewer were joined by Buckingham MP Greg Smith, whose constituency abuts Silverstone, for the official opening.
The 2,000 sq metre facility is now fully operational. Its engineering-led philosophy will work with innovators across the space, aerospace, motorsport, automotive, medical, industrial, oil & gas and marine industries. The facility brings together metal, polymer and silicone AM processes with complementary machining, finishing and inspection.
DMC chief executive Kieron Salter said: “This is a significant moment for us, the realisation of a vision. Undertaking construction and fit-out in the middle of a global pandemic has not been without its challenges but our team’s efforts speak for themselves.
“As the UK looks to ‘level up’ and ‘build back better’, the DMC will play a key role in enabling innovators in the UK and abroad, whether they are launching satellites or beating lap records.”
The centre aims to develop sought-after STEM skills in frontier applications to provide new employment opportunities and support to local education, with the DMC team already working closely with Silverstone UTC and other schools and colleges.
It is also working with industry and technology partners including Renishaw, Spectroplast, DyeMansion, DMG Mori, Enable Manufacturing and the Manufacturing Technology Centre. Aerospace specialist Produmax , based in the north of England, has opened a satellite site at the DMC.
Northamptonshire MPs Dame Andrea Leadsom and Andrew Lewer were joined by Buckingham MP Greg Smith, whose constituency abuts Silverstone Park, at the opening ceremony. Also attending were representatives from the South East Midlands and Buckiknghamshire & Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Silverstone Technology Cluster and Silverstone UTC.
Dame Andrea, MP for South Northamptonshire, said: “This facility is a shining example of British innovation and ingenuity, providing future-ready manufacturing capability and jobs to the UK.
“Investment in leading technologies and processes is at the heart of ‘levelling up’ the country and the Industrial Strategy. Not only does it add to domestic capability, but businesses like this are also an inspiration and valuable educational tool for young professionals and STEM students – a fantastic way to prepare for, and embrace, the future of skilled employment.”
Mr Lewer, who represents Northampton South, added: “Manufacturing has always been such a critical part of the UK economy and employment and to see businesses like the DMC, in the heart of Northamptonshire investing in state-of-the-art systems is fantastic.
“It is an incredibly exciting time for STEM professionals, particularly within this region, and it is great to see businesses like the DMC leading the way.”
Mr Smith said: “This region has long been a hub of innovation, the famed ‘motorsport valley’, and it is fantastic to welcome a new forward-thinking business like the DMC. Bringing together advanced manufacturing and interesting new technologies, the DMC is a testament to the region and its role as a powerhouse of UK industry and innovation.”
SEMLEP has part-funded the Digital Manufacturing Centre through its Local Growth Fund. Director of programmes and governance Judith Barker said: “It is fantastic to come together to celebrate the launch of this innovative facility, set to add over £9 million of market value to the area, create new jobs, apprenticeship opportunities and assist businesses.
“Another fantastic facility added to Silverstone Park at the centre of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.”
The DMC is also providing STEM jobs and valuable training opportunities, Mr Salter said. “We are already working on some very exciting projects and are thrilled to now open our doors to wider industry to help them address their greatest challenges.”