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3D printing workshops launch for SMEs

Greater Manchester SMEs can now access a fully-funded three-day training programme in 3D printing technology delivered by experts at Manchester Metropolitan University.


GC Business Growth Hub’s sister organisation, Skills for Growth, has teamed up with Manchester Metropolitan’s PrintCity Network to offer the training. The Network launched at the start of 2021 to help SMEs use 3D printing to fill gaps in their supply chain, diversify their product ranges, create prototypes and bring new products to market quickly.

A number of SME manufacturers have already benefitted from PrintCity’s support in the past, including Salford-based Animation Toolkit - a manufacturer of stop motion animation equipment that faced significant supply chain difficulties during the pandemic. 

More recently, experts at Manchester Metropolitan have successfully transformed single-use plastic waste into 3D printing filaments (pictured), which SMEs will soon be able to trial in new sustainable products.

The new training offer aims to help businesses to:

  • Unlock innovative thinking: Build the creative confidence to shape ideas and create new ones to overcome problems and drive business forward
  • Adopt 3D printing: Overcome the challenges of using additive manufacturing (AM) and ensure participants are capable of adopting new technology, including upskilling their employees
  • Enhance competitiveness in the marketplace: Increase efficiency and boost business by auditing current systems to identify opportunities for growth
  • Network: Gain insight into the industry through networking with like-minded business leaders and exploring collaboration opportunities
  • Learn from academic research: Access the specialist 3D additive and digital manufacturing centre, PrintCity, which combines best academic research with best business practice
  • Access specialist facilities: PrintCity’s technical facilities include: Ultra-Precision Complex Engineering; Mould Tool Design; Rapid Prototyping; Precision Engineering; Toolmaking - Mould & Press; and CNC Programming
  • Build resilience: Gain ‘skills of the future' to adapt to change, accelerate ideas and remain competitive.

The programme will take place over two phases:

  • Phase 1 - Knowledge Workshops: Over three days, participants will attend knowledge workshops on additive manufacturing innovation, develop their own Business Model Canvas (BMC) and receive one-to-one support to build an action plan
  • Phase 2 - Technical Assistance: Some businesses may then be eligible to receive further technical support from one of the University’s academic teams over approximately four months to drive forward a new 3D-printed product.

The training programme typically runs every 8 to 12 weeks. For more information, please email jeff.bowcock@growthco.uk

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