MetLase, the South Yorkshire-based company which provides bespoke engineering solutions to complex industrial problems, is celebrating securing £400k funding through the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund.
The funding will be combined with £565k of investment from MetLase, a joint venture between Unipart and Rolls-Royce, to provide an ambitious series of standardised Industry 4.0 digital products that can be taken to market and applied in many areas of manufacturing, both in the UK and globally.
MetLase expects to create up to four new high value engineering careers in the first seven months of the project, whilst also safeguarding a further 10 jobs at the company. Phase two of the project will see MetLase applying its core digital architecture to develop and commercialise a suite of other digital products over a two-year period, including Smart Bench, Smart Cell, Smart Shield, Smart Fixtures and Smart Machining. This will considerably widen MetLase’s digital offer and enable significant business scale-up and global export opportunities. During Phase 2, Metlase is planning to create an additional 46 new jobs in the Sheffield City Region over a two-year period.
James Muir, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman said: “We are delighted that MetLase will be able to take advantage of this funding, which was introduced as part of our efforts to deliver an economy that works for everyone. The Government devolved powers directly from Whitehall to local people who know their areas best. Opportunities for growth are best identified by those with detailed local knowledge and the Local Growth Fund enables the Sheffield City Region to tailor transformational interventions to local circumstances.”
He adds: “We look forward to seeing MetLase build on its expertise to become a world-leading company offering smart solutions to manufacturing problems.”
Richard Gould, Business Development Manager for MetLase, explains: “We’re delighted to receive this investment which will enable us to develop our standardised digital products to manufacturers. We’re really excited about what it means in terms of expanding our offer to the marketplace and ultimately being able to create even more high value advanced manufacturing jobs in our region.”
MetLase’s ambitious plan will see the company developing a suite of digital technologies including control automation, industrial robotics, artificial intelligence, software programming, sensing, 3D printing, machine learning and augmented/virtual reality systems, which it then intends to sell into key markets such as automotive and aerospace. In Phase 1 of the project Metlase will apply these technologies to develop one new digital product, Smart Measurement. This innovation will enable manufacturers to digitally measure their components in a fraction of the time taken using conventional methods.
Richard Gould continues: “We have ambitious plans for the future and see significant export potential for our Smart Measurement product in the next few years. We have also identified major market opportunities for this and the other digital products we are developing in Australia and the USA.”
Rotherham Council Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Councillor Denise Lelliott, said: “It is fantastic news that MetLase has successfully secured the funding and, as a result, will be investing even more in creating jobs and opportunities in this region. We’re an area that is becoming renowned globally for expertise in advanced manufacturing and technology and Metlase is an important part of this.”
For MetLase, Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund will contribute towards:
- The purchase of capital hardware and equipment for R&D, including printed circuit boards, laser profile scanners, oscilloscope, signal analysers, and robotics and measurement equipment.
- The costs of consumables required for the development of the core technologies and application to the first digital product, including power and prototype testing materials.
- The personnel costs associated with new/safeguarded jobs employed to deliver R&D activity, including high quality digital/engineering jobs.
MetLase is a joint-venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart, which provides bespoke engineering solutions to complex problems, where precision and speed of deployment are critical.
Its roots can be traced back many years within Rolls-Royce, when it was based in Hucknall and was involved in rapidly solving engineering problems by combining laser-cutting, CNC press-brake, and ingenuity. In 2007, the business moved to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Sheffield so it could have more autonomy to innovate.
In 2014, Unipart and Rolls-Royce decided to collaborate in a joint venture, recognising the huge potential for this technology in wider manufacturing sectors, with MetLase incorporated in September 2015.
MetLase draws on the heritage of both its parent companies in the Aerospace and Automotive sectors and continues to expand in the UK and across the world.
For more information about MetLase, visit www.metlase.com.
The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of this Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the North and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK. The government has awarded £3.4bn in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.
For more information about why Sheffield City Region is a great place to live, work and invest visit www.scrinvest.com.