ADVANCING MANUFACTURING PROJECTS TO OFFER INNOVATION AND OPPORTUNITY TO SMEs
Two advancing manufacturing aerospace projects to support small to medium-enterprises (SMEs) in the west of Scotland have officially launched, following investment from the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF).
The Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite (ADVS) and Supply Chain Aerospace (SCA) aim to create transformational change in the aerospace and space sectors through opportunity and innovation. Both projects have been established following a successful bid to the AMCF by South Ayrshire Council (SAC), together with its partners Ayrshire College, the University of Strathclyde and Ayrshire Engineering Alliance, securing £2 million investment in ERDF and match funding from SAC.
The ADVS is based at the Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre at Ayrshire College’s Ayr Campus. It offers SMEs access to innovative Extended Reality (XR) technology, helping them enter or expand their presence in the aerospace sector. Using cutting edge XR – incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) – and digital visualisation, the ADVS helps companies to innovate, develop skills and improve productivity. The services of the ADVS are available to eligible SMEs at no charge.
The SCA project supports SMEs to improve their productivity and competitiveness through the introduction of innovative manufacturing technologies via the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS). It also works with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier One suppliers to identify supply chain opportunities for SMEs to join the aerospace and space sectors, or grow their contribution. Like its sister project ADVS, the services of SCA are available to eligible SMEs at no charge.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the launch of both projects took place virtually in early February 2021, under the banner of Advancing Manufacturing AeroSpace. Hosted by the Centre for Engineering Education & Development (CeeD), the online event was well attended by industry experts and representatives from academia, as well as local government and SMEs.
Councillor Siobhian Brown, South Ayrshire Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture, said: “We are delighted the Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite and Supply Chain AeroSpace projects are now operational, offering a superb resource to help companies innovate, develop skills and improve productivity. Together these projects will play a key role in strengthening Scotland’s manufacturing industry, while making a significant contribution to Prestwick’s aerospace sector and complementing the Ayrshire Growth Deal.”
Gavin Murray, Director of Curriculum at Ayrshire College said: “Ayrshire College is thrilled to be hosting, albeit virtually for the time being, the Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite (ADVS) within our Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre on our Ayr Campus. There has already been a significant level of interest and engagement with the facility, which bodes well for the future. The ADVS is very much up and running and providing vital support to the Aerospace sector. I would encourage all SMEs to engage with the team to maximise opportunities for their businesses.”
South Ayrshire Council is the Lead Organisation for both projects. The Steering Group is supported by NMIS, with colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Strathclyde; Ayrshire College; Ayrshire Engineering Alliance; Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service and Scottish Enterprise.