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Greater Manchester 3D printing initiative to aid recovery

Local businesses are to benefit from a new £3.2 million initiative that will help them understand and utilise 3D printing technology to develop innovative products and services.

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Manchester Metropolitan University’s PrintCity Network, which launched in February, focuses on supporting SMEs with 3D printing and helping them to adopt an ‘innovation-led culture’ that will encourage productivity and growth.

Many Greater Manchester businesses have already benefitted from PrintCity’s support in the past. However, the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has continued to cause manufacturers issues with their supply chains, making manufacturing products more difficult.

PrintCity Network will give companies new opportunities to use 3D scanning as a stop-gap in the supply chain, allowing a business to remain operational when the chain is disrupted.

SMEs will also be able to diversify their product ranges and bring new products to the market quickly, using the latest 3D printing and digital manufacturing techniques. The support includes in-depth innovation guidance to develop ideas and prototypes.

Prof Craig Banks, Academic Lead for PrintCity, said:

“More and more businesses have been looking to adopt digital manufacturing techniques, particularly during the pandemic. With many traditional supply chains being disrupted, SMEs have turned to PrintCity to use new methods of design and manufacturing during this difficult time, with many needing our support to adopt these new approaches.  

“PrintCity has been supporting SMEs since its inception in 2018, utilising existing business support programmes such as the GC Business Growth Hub and Made Smarter North West Pilot Programme. But now, with this new, fully-funded service available to Greater Manchester SMEs, PrintCity Network will help support more businesses to innovate, boosting productivity, growth and jobs within the region.”

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