The Centre for Process Innovation will play an increasingly pivotal role in strengthening the North-East’s job landscape by helping cutting-edge businesses flourish, an MP has said following a visit to the state-of-the-art facility.
Providing open access space, including incubation areas to enable closer company collaboration, the base will help deliver products in higher volumes, with potential market opportunities including packaging capable of tracking and tracing goods.
Mr Wilson, Labour MP for Sedgefield, unveiled a plaque to officially open the new centre, which is based in an entirely revamped facility on the Newton Aycliffe business park; and builds on existing facilities at NetPark, in Sedgefield, also County Durham.
Speaking at the opening event, he said the site will further strengthen the business park, which already houses major employers such as trainbuilder Hitachi Rail Europe and car chassis manufacturer Gestamp Tallent.
“We have a massive business park in Aycliffe, which is probably the biggest in the North-East with up to 500 companies and a workforce between 10,000 and 12,000,” said Mr Wilson, who last year helped break ground on CPI’s NetPark-based National Centre for Healthcare Photonics.
“However, I want to see it go from strength-to-strength and CPI’s expansion, with its National Printable Electronics Centre, will help ensure companies can continue offering the technologies of the future.
“I want as many companies and organisations that offer cutting-edge technology to use this new site as possible, because it’s a place for them to flourish.
“CPI now has its site at Aycliffe, alongside bases at NetPark, Darlington and Wilton, and it’s great to see the organisation growing and increasingly helping innovative companies.
“Being a Labour MP for the North-East, when a company talks about expansion in the area, I always ask how many jobs it will create, because jobs are key to local people.
“By creating space for the firms working on the technologies of tomorrow, CPI is helping generate such growth.”
The National Printable Electronics Centre supports 20 jobs across new and existing roles, providing open access space, including incubation areas to enable closer collaboration between companies and CPI.
It also represents a clear and significant opportunity to build on the potential of the Internet of Things.
Phil Wilson MP says the organisation’s new National Printable Electronics Centre provides a perfect platform to support companies “offering the technologies of tomorrow”.
The new site, based in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, will help firms exploit commercial opportunities offered by the Internet of Things, creating rolls of flexible inlays containing multiple electronic components that can be converted into labels or embedded into smart products and wearable goods.
Expected to be worth up to £10.8 trillion a year by 2025, the Internet of Things connects devices via the internet, allowing them to send and receive data, and is seen as an integral platform in helping electronics companies develop new business models.
CPI’s centre expansion was part-funded with £2.6m from the European Regional Development Fund. Further funding was also contributed by CPI via the Catapult programme and the SCOPE project: a collaborative project involving industry and co-funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).
Companies have the potential to gain a real competitive advantage following a significant CPI investment.
Alan Welby, Innovation Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership believes the new National Printable Electronics Centre is a “world-class” addition to the organisation’s platforms.
The site, based in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, will help firms exploit commercial opportunities offered by the Internet of Things, creating rolls of flexible inlays containing multiple electronic components that can be converted into labels or embedded into smart products and wearable goods.
Mr Welby, innovation director at the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership, said the base will be crucial in taking ideas from blueprint to market realisation.
“It is exciting and really of the time and the moment,” said Mr Welby, who toured the centre alongside Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson during its official opening.
“Printable electronics are at the cutting-edge of advanced manufacturing, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, and the facilities here are world-class.
“They will be great for CPI and great for businesses.
“Indeed, for local businesses, it will give a competitive advantage to test out ideas.
“A lot of SMEs wouldn’t be able to afford the kit that is here, so you ask where are they going to try their projects?
“That is what CPI does so well; it helps companies on their journey,” enthused Mr Welby, who was previously executive director at the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and director of strategy at the One North-East development agency.
“But it isn’t just the kit, there is the expertise here too,” he added.
“Without these, a lot of ideas would stay embryonic.
“Printable electronics are right at the cusp of transforming how machines work and how we interact.”
Providing open access space, including incubation areas to enable closer company collaboration, the Aycliffe base will help deliver products in higher volumes at lower cost, with potential market opportunities including packaging capable of tracking and tracing goods.
Such functions are already being used in the distribution of temperature-sensitive medicines.
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