New Irvine technology centre to open this year as grand plans for i3 site move forward -

New Irvine technology centre to open this year as grand plans for i3 site move forward

A new technology centre is set to open in Irvine this year as part of plans to future-proof North Ayrshire’s manufacturing industries.

The digital process manufacturing centre (DMPC) will be based at the i3 business park in the town.

It will aim to help businesses embrace emerging technologies in the drive towards a Net Zero future by offering training opportunities, cutting-edge digital demonstrators and access to expert support on research and development.

The DMPC will be based in an existing manufacturing facility at the i3 site following a £500,000 refurbishment.

Initially supported by a team of six engineers and researchers, the centre will provide hands-on experience of new technologies across the pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, food and drink, chemicals, water, and fast-moving commercial goods industries.

Last year, North Ayrshire Council, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) – operated by the University of Strathclyde – and CPI, a deep tech innovation organisation, formalised a partnership to work together on the development and help the manufacturing sector in their journey towards digital transformation.

Councillor Tony Gurney, cabinet member for economy & Climate Change at North Ayrshire Council, said: “North Ayrshire has a strong industrial heritage in manufacturing and this centre will help to transform and modernise our business base.

“Manufacturing jobs make up a higher-than-average proportion of jobs in North Ayrshire. It is therefore vital that we target resources, skills and expertise toward this sector to future proof jobs and ensure our young people have sustainable employment opportunities in the future.

“We have created strong partnerships with NMIS and CPI which will bring technical expertise and academic research and innovation right into the heart of North Ayrshire.

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Councillor Tony Gurney
Councillor Tony Gurney

“This latest announcement is hugely significant one and will allow us to offer an unparalleled level of digital and data support for businesses in Ayrshire that will help to accelerate their future growth.”

The DPMC will be funded by the Ayrshire Growth Deal, Scottish Enterprise, University of Strathclyde and CPI, and will be supported by ongoing membership income.

It will be the first time the Scottish Government backed NMIS Group has opened a centre outside of Renfrewshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.

The news comes as Ayrshire undergoes a rapid industrial transformation, benefitting from a funding injection of up to £21 million from the Ayrshire Growth Deal to create the i3 Digital Innovation Campus and Low Carbon Business Park.

A new ‘Centre of Excellence’ is also being developed in Kilmarnock as part of the Ayrshire manufacturing investment corridor project that will provide on-site support and start-up units to create and grow local food and drink businesses, and complement support offered by the DPMC.

UK Government minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, said: The DPMC will keep Scotland at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing. This will attract further business investment, ensure our industries remain competitive and efficient, and create high-value and skilled jobs.

“The UK Government is investing £5m in the i3 Advanced Manufacturing Space as part of its £103m support for the Ayrshire Growth Deal and across Scotland we are investing £2 billion into regional projects to level up communities.”

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