Lightweight materials hub to drive Scottish innovation

A new £8.9m Lightweight Manufacturing Centre is to be established to help Scotland’s manufacturers compete in future international markets.

lightweight materials - First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (centre) hopes that the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will deliver cutting-edge research and development projects with and for companies in Scotland – image courtesy of AFRC.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (centre) hopes that the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will deliver cutting-edge research and development projects with and for companies in Scotland – image courtesy of AFRC.

The specialist centre will develop new manufacturing processes for lightweight materials, such as titanium and carbon fibre, and will reportedly represent the first step towards creating a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.

The centre will support highly-skilled jobs and aims to help place Scotland at the forefront of lightweight manufacturing.

Overseen by the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), the facility will be housed in the former Doosan Babcock facility in Westway (Inchinnan).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon commented: “The Lightweight Manufacturing Centre will help Scottish businesses take advantage of the fact that sectors such as aerospace and the automotive industry are making more and more use of lightweight materials. It will deliver cutting-edge research and development projects with and for companies in Scotland.”

The Manufacturer recently sat down with the AFRC chief technology officer, Dr Michael Ward, to discuss innovation, collaboration and investment.

You can read the resulting feature here.

The National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland aims to equip manufacturers to compete in future international markets and support the transformation of Scotland’s manufacturing industry in terms of innovation and digital opportunities, creating sustainable, high-value and highly skilled jobs.

Executive chairman of the AFRC, professor Keith Ridgway CBE explained: “Since opening in 2009, the AFRC has developed a track-record for world-class research and innovation in manufacturing and materials science, working with companies from across the manufacturing sector.

“We are very much at the heart of the manufacturing research and development in Scotland and look forward to helping more companies, big and small, boost their competitiveness and strengthen their businesses through the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre.”

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