Boeing and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland have opened a new research and development facility in Westway Park in Renfrew, next to Glasgow Airport and within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.
The new Metallics Research Centre is home to an £11.8 million R&D programme in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the NMIS Group. The project is supported by £3.5 million of R&D funding from Scottish Enterprise.
“As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic it is vital government and industry innovate together to build a stronger, fairer and more sustainable economy,” said Ivan McKee, the Scottish Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, who helped opened the building at a small event for partners who are supporting the work.
“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.”
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 more than a decade’s worth of R&D from the AFRC, where Boeing is a founding partner.
The project was the first announced in early 2020 as part of the Boeing Scotland Alliance, an agreement between Boeing and Scottish Enterprise that 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.
“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,” said Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing in the UK and Ireland. “The NMIS and Boeing teams have worked tremendously hard through a global pandemic to bring us to this point. Our partnership has so much to offer for the future of advanced manufacturing and the aerospace sector in Scotland.”
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.
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.”
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.”
Linda Hanna, managing director at 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.”
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