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30 September, 2021 - 13:44 By Tony Quested

Cambridge and Peterborough manufacturing alliance draws closer

A new manufacturing powerhouse for Cambridge and Peterborough has taken a major step closer to launch.

The Smart Manufacturing Alliance is a brand new sector network for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough. The Alliance’s work is being guided and overseen by a steering group of local industry leaders, ensuring it delivers value for the sector. 

Members include Photocentric, Metalcraft, Le Mark Group, the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge, TWI, MAKE UK, Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, and Anglia Ruskin University. 

Established as a joint venture between economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough, and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, the Alliance has been tasked with building on the sector’s strengths in the region to develop a world-class manufacturing cluster.

A free launch event is taking place on 13 October at Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel. Speakers include Mayor Dr Nik Johnson and a selection of industry leaders including the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) and NAAME as a taste of what the Alliance will offer manufacturers. The event will open at 8.30am with the first talks starting at 9.00am. 

The half-day agenda will allow time for networking amongst the delegates ahead of the event close at 12.30pm.

The Alliance’s work is being guided and overseen by a steering group of local industry leaders, ensuring it delivers value for the sector. 

The Alliance will offer a variety of services to manufacturers across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including:-

  • Operational diagnostics to identify and address performance gaps
  • Support to access grants and finance
  • Creating more opportunities for innovation and collaboration by nurturing working relationships between manufacturers, academic institutions and research specialists
  • Facilitating pilot projects with challenge-led innovation platforms 
  • Networking through business visits, events, and workshops with local manufacturers and engineers.

Delegates will hear about plans for a £1.2 million ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funded programme specifically designed to support the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies which includes a grants programme. This will be run by Opportunity Peterborough in partnership with the Smart Manufacturing Alliance. Membership to the Alliance will also give manufacturers affiliate membership to MAKE UK.

Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said “The Smart Manufacturing Alliance marks a new era for one of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s most important sectors. 

“The team will be creating fresh opportunities for our region’s manufacturers to work together, test out new ideas and bring them to fruition, and unlock funding to boost their growth and development. 

“Industry 4.0 technologies are playing an increasing role in manufacturing and while the team will help manufacturers to get the most out of new tech, they’ll also be supporting other aspects of the business so the workforce has the right skills. We’re developing future leaders, and helping businesses make larger gains in new and emerging markets.”

• To find out more about the Alliance, visit www.sma-uk.co.uk or email: info [at] sma-uk.co.uk.

Free places at the launch event can be booked online at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/smart-manufacturing-alliance-launch-tickets-170421996780 

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