The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) and the world’s largest aerospace company Boeing have officially opened a new research and development (R&D) facility in Westway Park in Renfrew within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.
Key figures, including Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee, attended the event on Tuesday, marking a significant development within the region and Scotland’s growing advanced manufacturing industry.
At over sixty thousand square feet, the new NMIS facility incorporates the Metallics Research Centre with Boeing, which will see the delivery of Boeing’s £11.8 million R&D programme in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the NMIS Group.
Aiming to reduce materials waste and identify opportunities to improve safety, productivity, and the environmental impact of its aircraft, technical teams from Boeing and NMIS are exploring novel manufacturing technologies for metallic components, building on over a decade’s worth of R&D with the University of Strathclyde and the AFRC, where Boeing is a founding partner.
Part funded by Scottish Enterprise, the programme is the first initiative within the Boeing Scotland Alliance, which is exploring opportunities to work together in Scotland, with the aim of doubling Boeing’s supply chain and creating 200 new quality jobs in the next five years.
The new R&D facility will also house cutting edge manufacturing equipment for use across NMIS projects with other innovative manufacturing businesses across the country, bolstering the support already provided through its specialist technology centres the AFRC and its Lightweight Manufacturing Centre (LMC).
In the adjacent manufacturing district site, construction is continuing on the new NMIS headquarters set to open later next year, which will include a skills academy, collaboration hub and digital factory.
Trade Minister Ivan McKee said: “As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic it is vital government and industry innovate together to build a stronger, fairer and more sustainable economy. This project shows our £75 million investment in NMIS is already delivering on that ambition.
“Aviation and aerospace have a crucial role to play in fighting climate change. We are committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and, critically, ensuring we do that in a way that is just and fair for everyone.”
Keith Ridgway, NMIS Executive Chair said: “This a huge development for Scotland, cementing our dedication to advanced manufacturing innovation on a global scale and the benefits that this can bring to our economy. We’re excited about what the future holds for this new facility, the ground-breaking R&D taking place there, and how we can build on our manufacturing expertise to support Boeing on its journey towards net-zero.”
Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing in the UK and Ireland said: “This opening is significant because it’s a sign of the commitment Boeing and Scottish Enterprise made when we announced the Boeing Scotland Alliance and this R&D programme.
“The NMIS and Boeing teams have worked tremendously hard through a global pandemic to bring us to this point, and we all know that so much more is still to come from this agreement for the future of manufacturing and aerospace.”
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde said: “The opening of this new R&D facility is a hugely significant step for the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector in Scotland and for our long-standing relationship with Boeing.
“I am delighted to see the facility open its doors and look forward to Strathclyde, the AFRC and NMIS working in partnership with Boeing to foster innovation, create jobs and boost manufacturing growth while contributing to a more environmentally-sustainable aviation sector.”
Linda Hanna, Managing Director, Scottish Enterprise said: “The opening of this facility is fantastic news for Scotland and signals a major milestone for the Boeing Scotland Alliance. Scottish Enterprise is very proud of its strategic partnership with Boeing and we look forward to continuing this momentum into exciting new opportunities for Scottish SMEs to work with the world’s largest aerospace company.”
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We’re delighted Boeing has chosen Renfrewshire and Scotland’s home for manufacturing innovation AMIDS to establish this major research and development facility and look forward to its hugely important work bringing significant economic and environmental benefits.
“Boeing and NMIS working together is another sign of the great progress being made on AMIDS, which will act as a magnet for advanced manufacturing companies to locate and invest here, providing a major boost to Scotland’s manufacturing sector and creating skilled new jobs and opportunities locally.”
Main photo: (Left to Right) Keith Ridgway, NMIS Executive Chair; Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee; Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing in the UK and Ireland at the launch event