Lancashire firms taking up robotics thanks to support programme Made Smarter

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Lancashire small and medium sized manufacturers adopting robotics and automation, with the support of Made Smarter, are creating new and upskilled jobs.

Since 2019 the North West Adoption Programme, a collaboration between UK government and industry to support the increased use of digital technologies, has helped 12 businesses with projects focused on robotics and automation machinery.

The £471k investment, which combines £198k of grant funding and leverages £273k of private finance, is forecast to create 47 new jobs, upskill 51 workers, and boost the county’s GVA by £42.7m.

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Across the region, Made Smarter has aided 41 businesses with 45 such technology projects, worth £2M and set to create 183 new jobs, upskill 234 existing workers, and increase the region’s GVA by £137.4M over three years.

Alain Dilworth of Made SmarterAlain Dilworth of Made Smarter
Alain Dilworth of Made Smarter

Bloom-In-Box, an innovative eco-friendly plastics manufacturer, based in Burscough, adopted state-of-the art robotics and process control technology to increase productivity by at least 25 per cent.

Ammunition manufacturer Empire Cartridges, based in Preston, invested in a six-axis cobot and process control technology which increased manufacturing output of shotgun cartridge shells by at least 50 per cent.

Alain Dilworth, North West Adoption Programme manager at Made Smarter, said: “These figures are further evidence that robots, cobots, and process control automation technologies are creating more jobs than they displace, as well as a host of other benefits.

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“Manufacturers who have adopted these digital technologies are experiencing increased productivity and efficiency, more consistent and improved part production and quality, lower operating costs, reduced lead times, the ability to be more competitive, and improved worker safety.

“The Made Smarter North West Adoption Programme has proven the value that digital technology can bring to the manufacturing sector."

Mark Stepney, Director of the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA), part of the PPMA Group of Associations, said: “It is fantastic to see Made Smarter supporting SME manufacturers in the adoption of advanced technologies like robotics to address the UK’s shortfall in productivity."

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