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SME manufacturers are to pioneer an innovative, high impact programme designed to upskill their workforces to accelerate the adoption and application of additive manufacturing (AM).

They are part of the Fast Track Additive Manufacturing - Upskilling the Workforce programme, run in collaboration with the Made Smarter North West adoption pilot, which connects the region’s manufacturers to digital tools, leadership and skills to drive growth, Manchester Metropolitan University’s PrintCity, and Fabricon Design Ltd, a business specialising in advanced manufacturing methods.

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This pioneering programme is designed to provide businesses with the skills required to understand what AM technology they should invest in, why they should invest, how they design products for AM and operate the machines, and what benefits they can expect once they have successfully adopted AM. Businesses will provide real-world examples as training material so that the course will address their specific skills gaps.

Ruth Hailwood, Made Smarter Organisational and Workforce Development Specialist
More on the Fast Track Additive Manufacturing programme
  • Flexible, modular training

    The flexible, modular training will run from November to February 2021 and is designed to fit around work schedules.

    The blended learning approach will include online workshops and in-person site visits to Fabricon Design’s facility in Ashton-under-Lyne and STFC Daresbury.  There are also onsite sessions at PrintCity, a 3D additive and digital manufacturing hub at Manchester Metropolitan University.

  • What areas do the workshops cover?

    Workshops include: rapid prototyping, parametric modelling, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), AM polymer and part consolidation, generative design. There will be software tutorials in CAD CAM, Fusion 360, Eiger, Cura and PreForm, and an exploration of career opportunities and the future of AM.

  • Benefits of the programme

    Companies participating in the programme have upskilling needs, either due to having installed AM recently in their organisation or to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits before making an investment decision. They include: Fabricon Design (Ashton-under-Lyne), Rotite Technologies (Old Trafford), Visual Architects (Hyde), MSM aerospace fabricators (Middleton), Arden Dies (Stockport), RPS precision engineering (Whitworth), Electro-Mechanical Installations (Stockport), Embossing Rollers (Heywood), M&I Materials (Stretford), Rawwater Engineering Company (Manchester), Bounce Cycles (Chorley) and BEP Surface Technologies (Radcliffe).

    MSM aerospace fabricators is an advanced engineering company based in Middleton which develops and manufactures complex parts and assemblies for Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

    Michael Pedley, Managing Director, said: "MSM has been purchasing additive manufacturing services for a number of years and sees Fast Track as an opportunity to bring that expertise in-house.

    "We have identified a need to use AM technology for production templates, laser tooling and checking gauges for inspecting components, and plan to invest in a 3D printer.

    "This will be a great opportunity to develop the design and engineering skills associated with additive manufacturing, which can be shared across the company."

    The programme supports the need for relevant and easily digestible training for upskilling and reskilling SMEs, one of the key recommendations of the Made Smarter Review, the independent review of industrial digitalisation.

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