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Eco-friendly plastic firm targets job creation after adopting robotics

Eco-friendly plastic firm targets job creation after adopting robotics

by Henry James (September 2021)

A BURSCOUGH manufacturer is targeting new job creation after adopting robotics with the support of Made Smarter.

Bloom-In-Box, an innovative eco-friendly plastics manufacturer, adopted state-of-the art robotics and process control technology with the help of the North West Adoption Programme, a collaboration between UK government and industry designed to support the increased use of digital technologies.

The programme has supported 12 businesses in Lancashire with technology projects focused on robotics and automation machinery since its launch in 2019.

The £471k investment, which combines £198k of grant funding and leverages £273k of private finance, is forecast to create 47 new jobs, upskill 51 workers, and boost the county’s GVA by £42.7M.

David Reardon, director of Bloom-In-Box, said the investment in robotics increased productivity by at least 25%.

“We believe that investing in the next generation of moulding machines will develop a more digitalised manufacturing environment aimed at improving efficiency, expanding production capacity, and generating more revenue,” he said.

“This will allow us to expand and invest in new ideas, create jobs and develop more environmental products.

“Made Smarter has accelerated our ambitions by years. Its support has really driven forward our plans to design and manufacture plastic products with more than just one life.”

Across the North West, Made Smarter has supported 41 businesses with 45 technology projects focused on robotics and automation machinery, valued at £2M and forecast to create 183 new jobs, upskill 234 existing workers, and increase the region’s GVA by £137.4M in the next three years.

Alain Dilworth, North West Adoption Programme manager at Made Smarter, said: “These figures are further evidence that robots, cobots, and process control automation technologies are creating more jobs than they displace, as well as a host of other benefits.

“Manufacturers who have adopted these digital technologies are experiencing increased productivity and efficiency, more consistent and improved part production and quality, lower operating costs, reduced lead times, the ability to be more competitive, and improved worker safety.

“The Made Smarter North West Adoption Programme has proven the value that digital technology can bring to the manufacturing sector.

“By providing businesses with specialist, impartial technology advice, grant funding for projects, digital transformation workshops, a leadership programme, digital technology internships, and skills development, Made Smarter is helping them select the right approach and the appropriate level of investment and tools for their business.

“Ultimately, at the heart of any change are the people, who are fundamental to understanding the need for change, driving that change and adopting that change.”

While the adoption of robotics in the UK is on the rise, it is well behind global competition.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the UK’s ‘robot density’ or the number of robots per 10,000 workers is 71, below the global average of 74, and significantly lower than Germany (309) and South Korea (631).

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