Innovation & Knowledge Exchange - Investing in future manufacturing technologies
ASTUTE 2020 recently teamed up with NatWest and Industry Wales to run a free event for companies in the manufacturing sector to raise awareness of the support available to Welsh businesses that are looking to invest in future manufacturing technologies.
The event highlighted the importance of exploiting existing and creating new opportunities to gain competitive advantages in future manufacturing technologies and the importance of adapting to change.
Speakers emphasized the need for collaboration and innovation, and the importance of a skilled workforce and future proofing for the prosperity of manufacturing in Wales.
Adrian Coles, Relationship Director – Welsh Manufacturing Lead, discussed the NatWest Future Fit initiative and its key objectives: exploring the leadership mind-set and approaches towards future-proofing, assessing the level of collaboration necessary for future success; and analysing the support mechanisms available for manufacturing:
“By bringing people together, who can help, we can all achieve much more for the Welsh economy, and we have an opportunity to facilitate collaboration and networks that are vital to help the industry prosper. Seeing businesses connect with academia with success for example is extremely rewarding for all. Many sectors are being disrupted and we are seeing that within banking but we are evolving and learning by joining forces.”
Bringing voice to the manufacturing industry, James Davies, Executive Chair, Industry Wales said:
“Manufacturing must be a priority in Wales and the capability that exists within the Welsh technology and manufacturing sectors is wide-ranging and globally competitive. Collaboration is key to address innovation, investment and skills for profitable growth in the economy.”
Paul Arnold, Tax Partner at Bevan Buckland LLP provided an insight to the benefits of R&D tax relief and explained how companies could qualify for R&D expenditure:
“Research and development can generally be thought of as work undertaken to develop new or improved, products or processes. For example, developing an automated process or one that is quicker, more efficient or creates less waste etc. may potentially qualify. The R&D tax scheme provides companies with actual cash benefits, which are directly linked to the level of qualifying expenditure incurred.”
ASTUTE 2020 Operation Director Professor Johann Sienz outlined the support available from the multi-University partnership that enables Welsh businesses to exploit the research expertise within our highly acclaimed academic institutions through European Regional Development Fund support via the Welsh Government:
“With future manufacturing technologies being highlighted as a priority for the manufacturing sector to remain competitive, this is a critical time for identifying and exploiting new and existing opportunities in areas such as robotics, automation and additive manufacturing, driving cutting-edge research and innovation for Wales’ global success.”
The benefits of industry-academia collaboration were highlighted by Matthew Price, Head of Industrial Engineering Continental Teves UK Ltd.
Mr Price provided an in-depth overview of the company’s Ebbw Vale facilities and their commitment to collaboration with academia through operations such as ASTUTE 2020, where research expertise helps identifying areas for investment in future technologies:
“Excellent performance is the result of a team not of a single player which enjoys working together towards a shared vision with passion and commitment.”
The event provided food for thought on what can be achieved through collaboration and how businesses can use the support available to help build a thriving and prosperous economy.
If you’d like to find out more about how collaborating with ASTUTE 2020 can benefit your business, please contact us on +44 (0) 1792 606378
The ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation, supporting manufacturing companies across Wales, has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the participating Higher Education Institutions.