The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), operated by the University of Strathclyde, today (21 June 2023) opened its new world-class flagship facility in the heart of the Scottish Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMIDS) in Renfrewshire, aiming to be a major stimulus to the country’s economy , skills development, and a prosperous and sustainable society.
Acting as a magnet for advanced manufacturing in Scotland and around the world, the distinctive heather-colored plant, 11,500 m high2 an operational carbon neutral campus next to Glasgow Airport will support manufacturing, engineering and related technology businesses of all sizes. Innovative R&D will help them be more productive, enter emerging markets, embrace new technologies and achieve net-zero targets.
Scotland’s manufacturing sector employs over 179,000 people and is responsible for over 50% of the country’s international exports and 47% of business spending on R&D.
The new facility will be home to the NMIS Manufacturing Skills Academy, a fully connected Digital Factory, and a publicly accessible collaboration center. The Lightweight Manufacturing Center (LMC) – which is also part of the NMIS group – will move from its current base in Renfrewshire, dividing its operations between the new building and the NMIS founding center, the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Center (AFRC).
Featuring multiple technology zones dedicated to growth areas, NMIS Digital Factory will include a food and beverage cyber-physical demonstrator, an Internet-connected for Industry (IIoT) shop floor, a factory command center, and a hub dedicated to helping manufacturers embrace a circular economy and extend the life of their products and systems. The plant demonstrates the enormous potential of digital technology in helping manufacturers improve their products and processes on the road to a net zero economy, while increasing productivity.
The building was opened by Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf at a ceremony this morning with NMIS CEO Chris Courtney; Professor Sir Jim McDonald, NMIS Board Chair and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde; Katherine Bennett, CEO of UK High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult; and Adrian Gillespie, CEO of Scottish Enterprise, together with senior delegates from industry, academia and the public sector.
The facility was built by Morrison Construction, part of the Galliford Try Group, and designed by Glasgow-based HLM Architects. It features clean and innovative low-carbon solutions to reduce its impact on the environment, including large-scale rooftop solar arrays for power generation, access to state-of-the-art low-carbon district heating networks, and rainwater harvesting systems.
The First Minister, Humza Yousaf said: “The opening of the Scottish National Institute of Manufacturing (NMIS) is an exciting moment – it will ensure that Scotland’s long history of innovation and engineering continues, while also supporting our drive towards net zero.
“Scotland is one of the most innovative countries in the world. By bringing together research, industry and the public sector, the facility will enable companies of all sizes to embrace creative manufacturing techniques and support cutting-edge research. Manufacturing is critical to our long-term economic recovery and this centre, funded by the Scottish Government for £75 million, will support that.
“Today we published the first annual progress report on our National Strategy for Economic Transformation. NMIS is a living example of the partnership it promotes, demonstrating our commitment to making business and society happen.”
Since 2019, NMIS has helped deliver more than 150 research and development projects for 142 different customers and partners. It has staffed and trained more than 1,300 people, placed more than 80 graduate apprentices in Scottish manufacturing, and supported more than 100 apprentices.
Chris Courtney, CEO of the Scottish National Manufacturing Institute (NMIS), said: “A facility of this scale and ambition did not happen by chance. Thanks to our colleagues and partners, who have worked tirelessly together over the years to make this happen. This has been a truly collaborative endeavor – from creating the shared NMIS vision to bringing our world-class new building to life.
“We are now moving into the phase of realizing this ambition through intense collaboration with industry and providing innovative solutions to their most challenging problems. Scotland has a strong manufacturing sector – supporting world-renowned capabilities in the maritime, renewable energy, food and beverage industries, satellite and space industry and many others.We also benefit from the world’s leading universities and a growing number of ambitious technology entrepreneurs.
“NMIS can play a critical role in harnessing this potential to influence what we make and how we make it more sustainable and efficient. There is a real industry demand for greener and innovative technology solutions that harness the power of digitization, along with the future-proofing skills we all share.” need to thrive. We will work with our industry partners, talented teams, and the broader ecosystem to deliver a brighter future for manufacturing.”
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, NMIS Board Chair and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde said, “NMIS will help position Scotland and the UK as globally competitive locations for research, innovation and high-quality talent for advanced manufacturing across sectors including aerospace, renewable energy, photonics and transport.
“As a unique element in Scotland’s thriving innovation ecosystem, NMIS will play a leading role in creating Industry 4.0 capabilities by supporting the industry in developing data-driven, digital and artificial intelligence solutions that will attract substantial investment to drive local and national economic value. ”
Katherine Bennett CBE, CEO of HVM Catapult, said: “This state-of-the-art facility is a real asset for manufacturers. Developing the latest digital technologies, alongside the workforce to make them happen, will enable businesses to be more productive, their supply chains more resilient and the sector more sustainable.
“NMIS’ success has been built on collaboration and by working with government, academia and industry partners – with support from Innovate UK – this new building will be at the forefront of helping HVM Catapult drive industrial transformation for the UK.”
Company Scotland Chief Executive Adrian Gillespie said: “NMIS is a world-class facility that has truly put Scotland on the global map of advanced manufacturing innovation and investment. This groundbreaking institution has attracted interest and investment from international companies, as well as developing partnerships with companies across Scotland.
“Working with NMIS, Scottish Enterprise will help Scottish manufacturers take full advantage of the institute’s outstanding facilities and expertise to drive innovation in their process and product development, and bring their products to markets around the world.
“The Ernst & Young Attractiveness Survey once again names Scotland as the top UK location for foreign direct investment outside of London. Through our international network, we will promote this extraordinary national manufacturing asset to further fuel Scotland’s future economic success.”
NMIS is operated by the University of Strathclyde and supported by the Scottish Government, Scottish Corporation, Highlands and Islands Company, South Scotland Company, Skills Development Scotland, Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Funding Council. It is also part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapults.