MEPC has confirmed that a state-of-the-art digital factory – believed to be one of the most technically advanced available in Europe and serving sectors for example aerospace, automotive, defence and marine – is going to be created inside one of 13 new industrial properties nearing completion at Silverstone Park.
The Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) may be the brainchild of high-performance engineering specialist KW Special Projects (KWSP) and can total 17,842 sq ft of producing and office space.
Its HQ-style building is among seven stand-alone properties currently being constructed included in a 258,000 sq ft development by MEPC in the Enterprise Zone at Silverstone Park which also includes a further six terraced industrial units.
The DMC project has received significant funding from the East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP). KWSP and DMC founder and CEO Kieron Salter has also highlighted Enterprise Zone status one of the key reasons for choosing Silverstone Park as a location.
“It’s very attractive in terms of de-risking the project in the current climate – it enables us to manage cash flow better in these initial phases and ramp up more effectively,” he commented. “We like how MEPC is developing Silverstone Park as a hot spot for advanced technologies and attracting tech companies as a result.
“As members of the Silverstone Technology Cluster (STC), you want to promote that by engaging with a future workforce – particularly young adults in local schools, universites and colleges. This is an opportunity to show a younger audience that this is a cool technology that’s being applied in cool sectors like aerospace, motorsport and space.”
He added: “Addititionally there is the connectivity at Silverstone Park – the M1, M40, rail networks, Milton Keynes, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. It makes it a great place.”
The DMC will become the third specialist high tech facility at Silverstone Park since MEPC took over development of the business estate in 2021.
Others include the UK’s only dedicated sub-contract inspection metrology facility (a collaboration between MEPC and Hexagon Manufacturing’s Intelligence division) and also the Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub (SSEH) which opened in autumn 2021.
KWSP becomes the second company to be named by MEPC to have agreed terms on one the 13 new industrial properties – the very first, Swiss-based international lifestyle drinks brand EIGHTY-ONE, was announced in July.
MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director at Silverstone Park and STC Chair, said: “We are delighted to announce KWSP and the Digital Manufacturing Centre as a new occupier in one of our latest HQ-style buildings on-site which form part of ‘Phase 2’ development plans at Silverstone Park.
“The size and magnitude of the Digital Manufacturing Centre will be applauded – as is its clear need to showcase engineering to local schoolchildren and students. This aligns perfectly with this own Inspiration for Innovation programme with local schools, in response to concerns from local employers concerning the skills gap.”
In approving public investment for that Centre, KWSP and SEMLEP identify that the DMC will help develop new and high-value engineering opportunities for more than 100 SMEs, and is forecast to contribute £9m GVA (gross value added) over three years for the region.
SEMLEP Leader Hilary Chipping said: “Working with innovative businesses like KWSP to make their ideas become reality is exactly what makes the South East Midlands LEP area the successful place it is today.
“This is ever more important as innovation will be at the forefront of our national response to returning to business post lockdown and in a new trade era. SEMLEP’s investment, through the Local Growth Fund, will help local businesses to remain at the leading edge of technology and create long-term occupations.”