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North West technology adoption pilot marks two-year milestone

A Trafford manufacturer has secured support from Made Smarter, the movement helping SMEs join the Industry 4.0 revolution.

Rotite Technologies, a designer of bespoke fastening solutions based in Stretford, is taking its first steps with the technology adoption pilot aimed at introducing digital tools and technologies to boost productivity and growth, and navigate the impact of Covid-19.

Connor Whyley, Design Manager at Rotite Technologies, said: “With the support of Made Smarter we are using additive manufacturing to revolutionise the way we work by offering a product range looking to make life easier through simple and intuitive connections. AM is ideal as it allows us to continually develop our range as we grow, whilst offering bespoke features like mass customisation. 

“Made Smarter has been paramount to us being able to adopt AM and we are excited about what further opportunities this affords us.”

Since it was launched two years ago, the Made Smarter North West technology adoption pilot has engaged with 350 businesses in the Greater Manchester region to help them. 

148 manufacturers have received intensive support including expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help manufacturers take their first steps to transform their business, a leadership programme, and funded digital technology internships.

34 businesses have secured £841,000 matched funding for 44 projects which are worth £3M after private sector investment.

The technology adoption projects are forecast to deliver an additional £32M in gross value added (GVA) for the Greater Manchester economy over the next three years, create 191 new jobs, and upskill 455 existing roles.

Some manufacturers are developing projects using technologies which enable them to integrate

systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes. Others

are using 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased

demand.

Over 80% of SMEs working with Made Smarter to adopt cutting-edge technologies have seen a boost in productivity, and more than 25% reduced their carbon emissions. Businesses will also benefit from increased revenue, profits and exports, and lower energy bills.

Donna Edwards, North West Pilot Programme Director at Made Smarter, said: “Over the last two years the pilot has proven the value technology can bring to the manufacturing sector. 

“We have helped hundreds of North West makers start their digital journey by providing them with specialist advice to help them select the right approach, level of investment and tools for their business.

“We have seen huge success with Made Smarter-supported businesses reporting growth, productivity and efficiency gains, job creation and high-value jobs. We’re also playing a crucial role in helping the UK reach its ambitious aim of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

“Reaching 155 funded projects which will support 126 businesses to create over 750 new jobs and upskill almost 1,600 existing roles is a tremendous achievement.

“We are determined to continue reaching out to the region’s SME manufacturers to connect them to the tools that will make an everyday difference to their businesses. I would encourage manufacturers to contact Made Smarter to ensure they don’t miss out.”

Across the North West, the technology adoption pilot has engaged with 1,131 businesses, giving 540 intensive support, and supporting 126 businesses with £3.2M matched funding for 155 projects. This investment is forecast to deliver an additional £118M in gross value added (GVA) for the region’s economy over the next three years, create over 750 new jobs and upskill almost 1,600 existing roles.

As well as technology, Made Smarter has supported manufacturers to develop digital strategies and new skills. 

Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshops are a rapid and bespoke process designed to accelerate manufacturing growth by identifying digital tools and technologies that can maximise operational processes and enhance business growth.

The region’s business leaders are now equipped with the vision and the skills to pursue smarter manufacturing through the Made Smarter Leadership programme, in partnership with Lancaster University and now also delivered by the University of Liverpool and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Manufacturers have also benefited from Made Smarter’s digital technology internships which offer students and graduates paid placements to work on live technology projects. Some have even secured jobs following their placement.

Juergen Maier CBE, Chair of Made Smarter, said: “I am delighted to see the positive impact that Made Smarter’s adoption pilot is having on individuals, businesses, the environment, and the UK economy.

“In the tumultuous times we face, it can be tempting to simply cut costs rather than invest. Yet, in the long term, this approach runs the risk of businesses getting left behind. For the UK manufacturing sector to thrive and become a world leader, we need to find ways to encourage innovation and the adoption of digital technologies.” 

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