MetLase, the South Yorkshire-based joint venture between Unipart and Rolls Royce, has invested £565k in Sheffield City Region to create engineering jobs and take a series of digital products to UK and global manufacturing markets.
The funding will be combined with £400k from the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund.
MetLase, the provider of bespoke engineering solutions to complex industrial problems, will provide an ambitious series of standardised Industry 4.0 digital products that can be taken to market and applied in many areas of manufacturing.
MetLase expects to create up to four new high value engineering careers in the first seven months of the project, whilst also safeguarding a further 10 jobs at the company.
Phase two of the project will see MetLase applying its core digital architecture to develop and commercialise a suite of other digital products over a two-year period, including Smart Bench, Smart Cell, Smart Shield, Smart Fixtures, and Smart Machining. This will considerably widen MetLase’s digital offering and enable significant business scale-up and global export opportunities.
During Phase 2, Metlase is planning to create additional new jobs in the Sheffield City Region over a two-year period.
Richard Gould, Business Development Manager for MetLase, said: “We’re delighted to receive this investment which will enable us to develop our standardised digital products to manufacturers. We’re really excited about what it means in terms of expanding our offer to the marketplace and ultimately being able to create even more high value advanced manufacturing jobs in our region.”
James Muir, Chair of the Board of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “We are delighted that MetLase will be able to take advantage of this funding, which was introduced to support businesses in our city region to grow, become more productive and recruit new employees. MetLase has exciting plans to develop its offering, through innovation and technology, providing a cutting-edge solution to manufacturers here in the UK and across the world, whilst creating great economic advantages in our region.
“We look forward to seeing MetLase build on its expertise to become a world-leading company offering smart solutions to manufacturing problems.”
MetLase’s ambitious plan will see the company developing a suite of digital technologies including control automation, industrial robotics, artificial intelligence, software programming, sensing, 3D printing, machine learning and augmented/virtual reality systems, which it then intends to sell into key markets such as automotive and aerospace.
In Phase 1 of the project MetLase will apply these technologies to develop one new digital product, Smart Measurement. This innovation will enable manufacturers to digitally measure their components in a fraction of the time taken using conventional methods.
Richard Gould continues: “We have ambitious plans for the future and see significant export potential for our Smart Measurement product in the next few years. We have also identified major market opportunities for this and the other digital products we are developing in Australia and the USA.”
Rotherham Council Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Councillor Denise Lelliott, said: “It is fantastic news that MetLase has successfully secured the funding and, as a result, will be investing even more in creating jobs and opportunities in the region. We’re an area that is becoming renowned globally for expertise in advanced manufacturing and technology and MetLase is an important part of this.”
For MetLase, Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund will contribute towards:
- The purchase of capital hardware and equipment for R&D, including printed circuit boards, laser profile scanners, oscilloscope, signal analysers, and robotics and measurement equipment
- The costs of consumables required for the development of the core technologies and application to the first digital product, including power and prototype testing materials
- The personnel costs associated with new/safeguarded jobs employed to deliver R&D activity, including high quality digital/engineering jobs.