Boeing and NMIS launch £11.8M R&D program to advance manufacturing in Scotland

Aerospace company Boeing, together with the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), has announced that it will be commencing an £11.8M R&D project to advance various manufacturing technologies in Scotland, including additive.

To facilitate the program, a lease has been signed with property investment firm Canmoor for a warehouse unit at Westway Park in Renfrew, which is a part of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS).

Rob Large, director of Canmoor, states: “This announcement is another significant milestone for Westway and we are delighted to be chosen as the base for this leading-edge facility. Westway has much to offer, in terms of strategic location and excellent facilities, plus our programme of on-going investment continues to make the park attractive to the Scottish manufacturing sector.”

The Westway Park facility. Photo via NMIS.
The Westway Park facility. Photo via NMIS.

The Westway Park facility

With over 60,000 square feet to play with, Boeing will refurbish the facility to accommodate all of the capital and personnel needed for the project. Included within the facility will be a dedicated area built specifically to advance the use of additive manufacturing in the country. The company also plans to house various other advanced engineering equipment for use in similar projects with other manufacturing businesses.

The core program, run by the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the NMIS, will involve the establishment of a Boeing R&D team to work with AFRC’s forming and forging technologists. The personnel, who are expected to be on-site later this year, will build on AFRC’s research to demonstrate innovative manufacturing technologies for the production of metallic parts. The program ultimately aims to reduce material wastage, improve safety and productivity, and generate environmental benefits.

The Boeing Scotland Alliance

With a sizable contribution of £3.5M from Scottish Enterprise, an investment arm of the government, the program marks one of the first actions to come from the Boeing Scotland Alliance. The two bodies launched the alliance in March to explore opportunities to work together while doubling Boeing’s supply chain in the country. This project, specifically, is expected to generate tens of millions for the Scottish economy and create around 200 new jobs over the next five years.

John Reid, CEO of the NMIS, concludes: “This facility is a significant step not only in the development of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland but also in bolstering the future of manufacturing across the country post lockdown. We are delighted to be bringing Boeing to Scotland at this time to work on such a critical project with our team and play a crucial role in developing the aerospace supply chain across the country for generations to come.”

Boeing will use the 60,000 square foot space to advance the use of additive manufacturing in Scotland, among other manufacturing technologies. Photo via NMIS.
Boeing will use the 60,000 square foot space to advance the use of additive manufacturing in Scotland, among other manufacturing technologies. Photo via NMIS.

Though it may not be synonymous with additive manufacturing, Scotland has indeed had its fair share of exposure to the technology. Just last month, Strathclyde University secured a portion of a £15.8M challenge fund to work on a collaborative project with NMIS. Together, the two organizations will train employees from SMEs to help them integrate 3D printing into their day-to-day workflows.

Elsewhere, British aerospace company Orbex announced earlier this year that its 3D printed rockets will be the first to launch from a new spaceport currently under construction in Scotland. Dubbed the ‘Sutherland Space Hub’, the launch site is set to become operational in early 2022.

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Featured image shows the Westway Park facility. Photo via NMIS.

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