The Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) opened its all-new advanced engineering and production facility at Silverstone Park, which had been initially announced in September 2020. Built from the ground up to solve complex engineering challenges, the DMC utilizes state-of-the-art additive manufacturing (AM) processes, connectivity and pioneering engineering to support companies operating at the forefront of their sectors.
Having overcome the challenges of building a world-class facility during the pandemic, the 2000-square meter facility is now fully operational and fully on schedule. With an engineering-led philosophy, the DMC works in partnership with customers to understand their specific requirements, designing for application as well as manufacture.
“This is a significant moment for us, the realization of a vision. Undertaking construction and fit-out in the middle of a global pandemic has not been without its challenges, but thanks to the support of our partners and SEMLEP, the DMC team’s efforts speak for themselves. While we have been operating at a limited capacity on a select few customer projects, we are now opening the doors and offering these unprecedented capabilities to wider industry,” said Kieron Salter, CEO of the Digital Manufacturing Centre.
With many sectors navigating significant shifts in technology, product development, increased competition and rising demand for advanced, low-carbon solutions, the DMC is set to play a key role in enabling innovators across the space, aerospace, motorsport, automotive, medical, industrial, oil & gas and marine industries.
The DMC’s extensive in-house engineering capabilities are focused on solving customer challenges with clever designs that maximize the advantages of the advanced processes at their disposal. As an end-to-end solutions provider, the facility brings together metal, polymer and silicone AM processes with complementary machining, finishing and inspection services for a fully connected process chain.
“When we first looked around at the existing AM market, there was a clear lack of engineering collaboration, focus and support—Salter added. Parts were being made, but suppliers had little practical engineering input or capability. We set out to bridge that gap by focussing on engineering for application and the production of end-use ready parts. Now, we offer a truly end-to-end solution that will enable innovators in the UK and abroad to really push the boundary, whether that be launching satellites or beating lap records.”
The DMC will leverage actionable data from across the facility and its machines to deliver a step-change in AM capability and capacity. Embracing Industry 4.0 practices and principles, in line with the Industrial Strategy, the DMC’s data-driven approach will allow its engineers to further refine part design and processes by effectively implementing capabilities including predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).
As a leading engineering, technology and manufacturing business within the Oxfordshire-Cambridgeshire Arc, the DMC is helping to develop sought-after STEM skills in frontier applications. Not only is this providing new employment opportunities, but it is also offering valuable support to local education, with the DMC team already working closely with Silverstone University Technical College (UTC) and other schools and colleges.
“Not only are we bringing together the most innovative processes and equipment from across the industry, but we are doing so with a focus on connectivity and the end goal of integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into our process chain, realizing Industry 4.0 and aligning with the Government’s Industrial Strategy. This will provide a step-change in efficiency and part quality, distinguishing us from other suppliers and helping to ‘level up’ UK manufacturing and the national supply chain,” Salter concluded.
Collaboration has been a vital aspect of the DMC’s creation, with the business working alongside a number of significant industry and technology partners including Renishaw, Beckhoff, Spectroplast, DyeMansion, DMG Mori, Enable Manufacturing and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).
Its close partnership with Produmax, the acclaimed aerospace and precision engineering specialist, is bridging the Midlands with Northern England. Not only will the two businesses share capability and expertise, but Produmax has set up a satellite site at the DMC to provide on-site advanced machining and metrology for DMC customers.
The DMC’s extensive partnership network also means that customers have access to multiple proprietary processes, including Spectroplast’s silicone AM technology and Enable Manufacturing’s Additive Casting.