Pioneering project in Neath granted £1.5million of Welsh Gov innovation funding

A PIONEERING project in Neath Port Talbot to help manufacturers boost productivity and sustainability has been granted £1.5m of Welsh Government innovation funding.

High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult Baglan, a joint venture by the UK HVM Catapult and the Welsh Government, will include an office space and digital factory hub. It will showcase support, tools, techniques and advice to manufacturing companies to improve their capabilities.

The £1.5m from the Welsh Government will provide AMRC Cymru, part of the HVM Catapult network, with technology and equipment to showcase the latest research, development and innovation to local manufacturing industries in Neath Port Talbot and surrounding areas as well as providing a space for wider engagement and joint work with stakeholders.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“Investing for growth is a national priority in our economic mission and this is exciting opportunity is a further example of the backing we are providing to Welsh manufacturing businesses in a new economy. By helping them to harness the power of research and innovation we can build on the strengths of the high value manufacturing sector in Wales which supports so many good jobs.

“This project directly aligns with the Welsh Government’s innovation strategy, Wales Innovates, and will give a welcome boost to the Baglan Bay Technology Centre and the future development of Baglan Bay Development site.”

Established and supported by Innovate UK, HVM Catapult is a network of research and innovation centres working to transform UK manufacturing.

They help businesses to optimise products, processes and workforces by giving manufacturers access to otherwise out-of-reach world-class research, development facilities.

HVM Catapult CEO Katherine Bennett CBE said:

“This announcement, bringing the entire capability of HVM Catapult to South Wales, is a fantastic way to kickstart 2024.

“The success of our first site in North Wales, AMRC Cymru, has proven how close collaboration between government, industry and academia can boost productivity and sustainability across Wales’ supply chains. This additional presence will enable those benefits for many more Welsh manufacturers as they tap into expertise from AMRC Cymru and the HVM Catapult network, in areas such as decarbonisation, digitalisation and skills development.”

It is estimated that manufacturing accounts for 18.4% of Wales’ economic output, equivalent to £11.3bn per year, supporting 147,000 jobs. The project is a step toward the Welsh Government establishing its own National Manufacturing Institute Wales (NMIW) which is currently in discussion with Innovate UK.

The operating space will be managed by HVM Catapult and the digital factory hub will be run by AMRC Cymru, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. Operational delivery will start by end of this financial year.

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