The Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC), a new advanced engineering and production facility based within the Silverstone Technology Cluster in the South East Midlands, UK, is now officially open and operational. The launch was attended by three UK government MPs – Rt. Hon. Dame Andrea Leadsom DBE MP, Andrew Lewer MBE MP and Greg Smith MP – alongside representatives from SEMLEP, BTVLEP, Silverstone Technology Cluster and Silverstone UTC.
The 2000 m2 facility utilises Additive Manufacturing processes, connectivity and engineering to enable companies to operate at the forefront of their sectors. With many sectors said to be navigating significant shifts in technology, product development, increased competition and rising demand for advanced, low-carbon solutions, the DMC believes it is set to play a key role in enabling innovators across the space, aerospace, motorsport, automotive, medical, industrial, oil & gas and marine industries.
The DMC’s in-house engineering capabilities are focused on solving customer challenges with designs that maximise the advantages of the advanced processes at their disposal. As an end-to-end solutions provider, the facility brings together metal, polymer and silicone AM processes with complementary machining, finishing and inspection services for a fully connected process chain.
The DMC will leverage actionable data from across the facility and its machines to deliver a step-change in AM capability and capacity. Embracing Industry 4.0 practices and principles, in line with the Industrial Strategy, the DMC’s data-driven approach will allow its engineers to further refine part design and processes by effectively implementing capabilities including predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).
As an engineering, technology and manufacturing business within the Oxfordshire-Cambridgeshire Arc, the DMC states that it is helping to develop sought-after STEM skills in frontier applications. Not only is this providing new employment opportunities, but it is also offering valuable support to local education, with the DMC team already working closely with Silverstone University Technical College (UTC) and other schools and colleges.
Collaboration has reportedly been a vital aspect of the DMC’s creation, with the business working alongside a number of significant industry and technology partners including Produmax, Renishaw, Beckhoff, Spectroplast, DyeMansion, DMG Mori, Enable Manufacturing and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).
“This is a significant moment for us, the realisation of a vision,” stated Kieron Salter, CEO of the Digital Manufacturing Centre. “Undertaking construction and fit-out in the middle of a global pandemic has not been without its challenges, but thanks to the support of our partners and SEMLEP, the DMC team’s efforts speak for themselves. While we have been operating at a limited capacity on a select few customer projects, we are now opening the doors and offering these unprecedented capabilities to wider industry.”
“When we first looked around at the existing AM market, there was a clear lack of engineering collaboration, focus and support. Parts were being made, but suppliers had little practical engineering input or capability. We set out to bridge that gap by focussing on engineering for application and the production of end-use ready parts. Now, we offer a truly end-to-end solution that will enable innovators in the UK and abroad to really push the boundary, whether that be launching satellites or beating lap records.”
“Not only are we bringing together the most innovative processes and equipment from across the industry,” Salter continued, “but we are doing so with a focus on connectivity and the end goal of integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into our process chain, realising Industry 4.0 and aligning with the Government’s Industrial Strategy. This will provide a step-change in efficiency and part quality, distinguishing us from other suppliers and helping to ‘level up’ UK manufacturing and the national supply chain.”
Judith Barker, Director of Programmes and Governance at SEMLEP, commented, “KWSP’s determination to deliver the vision of the scheme and problem solve throughout the pandemic has been a beacon for fellow businesses and projects. It’s fantastic to come together to celebrate the launch of this innovative facility, set to add over £9 million of market value to the area, create new jobs, apprenticeship opportunities and assist businesses. Another fantastic facility added to Silverstone Park at the centre of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.”
To learn more about the DMC, read the ‘Pedal to the metal at the Digital Manufacturing Centre: Redefining what’s possible for AM in hypercars and beyond’ article in the Summer 2021 issue of Metal AM magazine.