£1.5m for digital factory hub to aid manufacturing in Wales

High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult Baglan in Neath Port Talbot will share advice, support, techniques and tools with local manufacturing companies. 

HVM Catapult is a network of research and innovation centres that aims to transform UK manufacturing. By providing access to world-class research and development facilities, they help businesses to optimise their products, processes and workforces. The initiative was established and is supported by Innovate UK. 

Baglan Bay Power Station

Baglan Bay Power Station, photo by Reading Tom

The Baglan site is expecting to be in operation by the end of this financial year. HVM Catapult will manage office space, while the digital factory hub will be run by AMRC Cymru, which is part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. The Welsh government has awarded £1.5m to AMRC Cymru for tech and equipment on the site. This will be used to showcase the latest research, development and innovation to manufacturing industries in Neath Port Talbot itself and surrounding areas. The initiative will also provide space for wider engagement and joint work with stakeholders. 

The Welsh government sees this initiative as a key step forward in establishing the National Manufacturing Institute Wales (NMIW) – an ambition it is currently discussing with Innovate UK. Manufacturing accounts for some 18.4% of Wales’ economic output, equivalent to £11.3bn per year and supporting 147,000 jobs.  

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething says: ‘Investing for growth is a national priority in our economic mission and this is exciting opportunity is a further example of the backing we are providing to Welsh manufacturing businesses in a new economy. By helping them to harness the power of research and innovation we can build on the strengths of the high value manufacturing sector in Wales which supports so many good jobs. 

‘This project directly aligns with the Welsh Government’s innovation strategy, Wales Innovates, and will give a welcome boost to the Baglan Bay Technology Centre and the future development of Baglan Bay Development site.’ 

Katherine Bennett CBE, CEO of HVM Catapult, adds: ‘This announcement, bringing the entire capability of HVM Catapult to South Wales, is a fantastic way to kickstart 2024. 

‘The success of our first site in North Wales, AMRC Cymru, has proven how close collaboration between government, industry and academia can boost productivity and sustainability across Wales’ supply chains. This additional presence will enable those benefits for many more Welsh manufacturers as they tap into expertise from AMRC Cymru and the HVM Catapult network, in areas such as decarbonisation, digitalisation and skills development.’ 

In related news:

£8.9m for Torry heat network in Aberdeen 

BT converts 60,000 street cabinets into EV chargepoints 

Brent Council’s e-commerce skills booster 


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