Shift in industry ideas of design and production explored in Ellesmere Port
A new industrial revolution underway in Ellesmere Port could transform traditional manufacturing.
That’s the view of Dr Julie Madigan, the chief executive of The Manufacturing Institute.
Dr Madigan said: “A quiet revolution involving a move towards boutique manufacturing is taking place in Ellesmere Port and points the way forward for the rest of the UK.
“Manufacturing specialists working in factories no longer have a monopoly on production.
“Technological developments are empowering people of all ages and from all walks of life to design and make things.”
She will be sharing her vision of the future of manufacturing with a distinguished audience at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) 2013 President's Lecture, in London, on Thursday, September 19.
The Manufacturing Institute has recently opened a Fab Lab (digital fabrication laboratory) on Whitby Road in Ellesmere Port, which is unlocking the ability of garden shed tinkerers to move forward and to design and develop sophisticated products.
The Fab Lab promotes grassroots innovation, providing an opportunity for almost anyone of any age to design and make almost anything.
There’s a wealth of manufacturing expertise available as well as a wide variety of digital and practical equipment – including 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters and milling machinery.
Madigan added: “By making what we need locally – with minimum or no waste – a new model of boutique manufacturing is emerging.
“It’s helped on the way by a new generation of IT literate people who aren’t afraid of having a go at making things for themselves.
“At a time when there’s broad consensus that the British economy needs to be rebalanced in favour of manufacturing, this revolution and extension of the boundaries of traditional manufacturing couldn’t be taking place at a better time.”
Members of the public have free use of the Ellesmere Port Fab Lab during open sessions, but the facility is also available to businesses and entrepreneurs for the production of product prototypes and testing out ideas.
While public users are expected to share their inventions with the global Fab Lab network, businesses can develop innovations in private and at low cost.
Fab Lab Ellesmere Port is a partnership between The Manufacturing Institute, Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Ellesmere Port Development Board , Cheshire & Warrington, Local Enterprise Partnership and Cheshire Employer and Skills Development (CESD). It is one of only seven other Fab Labs in the UK: Manchester, Belfast, Derry, Falmouth, Glasgow and Airedale.
The RSA 2013 President's Lecture, entitled Making The Future will be introduced by RSA President HRH The Princess Royal. It will be live streamed at 6pm.