Liverpool manufacturers invest £4.3m in tech with Made Smarter

SME manufacturers across Liverpool City Region have invested £4.3m in technology, supported by Made Smarter’s trailblazing adoption programme in the North West.

Over 50 businesses in the county have now secured £1.3m matched funding from the government-funded, industry-backed initiative, adopting technologies as diverse as sensors, robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence (AI).

Backed by £3m of private investment, these manufacturers are forecasting the creation of 384 jobs and 376  upskilled roles, boosting the city region’s economy by £52m.

Five Liverpool City Region manufacturers are among the latest wave to join Made Smarter, taking to 300 the number of businesses the programme has supported with tech investment. 

They include: 

  • Bibby Precision Engineering, a component manufacturer, based in Bromborough, Wirral
  • Liverpool Laser and Tube, a metal product manufacturer, based in Knowsley, Liverpool
  • NJC Thermal covers (UK), manufacturers of insulation covers, Kirkby, Liverpool
  • Mac Ventilation Services, a manufacturer of bespoke ventilation systems, based in Liverpool

Bibby Precision Engineering invested in software which helped increase production efficiency.

Adrian Moore, Operations Director said, “The whole team now has the ability to view the quotes, live jobs, sales by customer, margin, and hours relating to work. Another key advantage is the ability to digitalise our designs, and move away from paper-based versions.

“This investment has given our workforce new digital skills that will help the business become more efficient and help the management team develop and grow.”

Mac Ventilation Services is now investing in 3D printing to support manufacturing and its expansion into green energy solutions.

Marc Randles, CEO, said, “Having grown rapidly in the last five years providing complex ventilation systems in health, education and industrial sectors, we are now expanding into green energy products such as turbines and grow boxes.

“With the help of Made Smarter we will be able to enhance our capabilities in 3D design and prototyping which will not just support our existing manufacturing processes, but take the brakes off our research and development ambitions to develop new products.”

Since 2019, SME manufacturers across the North West have invested £22m in new technologies, forecasting the creation of almost 1,600 new jobs, over 2,850 upskilled roles, and adding £242m to the economy over the next three years.

With the Government committing to continue the North West adoption programme as part of a UK roll out, manufacturers are being urged to connect with Made Smarter to access the funded support on offer. This includes digital transformation workshops to create a digital roadmap, impartial and expert technology advice, leadership and skills training, as well as grant funding for digital internships and technology projects.

Donna Edwards, Director of the Made Smarter Adoption Programme in the North West, said,  “I am incredibly proud of what the Made Smarter team has achieved over the last five years. These milestones are simultaneously a moment to celebrate, as well as a reminder that our work is by no means done. 

“Our mission is to engage with the thousands of manufacturers out there who we are certain could benefit from our support. As such we are redoubling our efforts to reach more businesses, and to inspire and inform them about the benefits of technology adoption.

“For many this may be helping them take the first step to digitise manual and paper-based systems or using sensors to capture vital production data. But for others with a digital infrastructure in place, they may be ready for more sophisticated, boundary-pushing technologies such as analytics, machine learning and AI, which are evolving at unprecedented speed.

“Digital isn’t coming – it’s arrived. Adopting technologies at the right time and in the right way is the key to unlocking real benefits for industry, society and the planet.”

Image: Marc Randles, CEO, Mac Ventilation Services

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