The new North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC) will serve as a hub for supporting SMEs to develop and implement robotics and automation into their business.
The £16 million centre is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for designing, testing and validating innovation in the rapidly growing area of robotics, offering specialist equipment and innovation support to businesses.
Focus areas for the facility include robotics for intelligent infrastructure, digital automation and supply chain improvement, working across a range of sectors including robotics and automation, net zero, healthcare technologies, vehicle automation and smart cities.
SMEs will be able to access 12 hours of fully funded, flexible one-to-one consultancy and up to 50 additional hours of R&D support, as well as access to specialist labs equipped with the latest automation technologies.
Construction is now complete and the services are expected to launch in 2023. Prof Joe Sweeny, Dean of the University of Salford’s School of Science, Engineering and Environment, said:
“We’re delighted and excited that NERIC will soon be active, providing an industry-facing platform for the University of Salford’s world-leading research in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.”
Local manufacturers that have already benefited from NERIC include Oldham-based Ripple Group, which received support to identify robots that could be deployed to help automate repetitive tasks and the moving around of equipment.
Daniel Wolfenden, Design and Marketing Director at Ripple Group, said:
“[NERIC] has given us a fantastic understanding of the world of robotics, demystifying any previous and often unwarranted concerns surrounding the subject. It’s been a great process working with the team and we can’t wait to continue the journey with them.”
Further details of NERIC’s support programme for SMEs can be found on the centre’s website.
SME manufacturers in Greater Manchester can also access fully funded advice and guidance to capitalise on opportunities for automation and digitalisation through our specialist Manufacturing Service