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Work starts on Ulster’s £100m Factory of the Future

14 June, 2024

Construction has started on the £100m Factory of the Future project in Northern Ireland, which is expected to create up to 1,500 jobs in the region, contribute £1bn to the economy, and train 300 apprentices by 2025. The 10,500m² Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) is being built at the Global Point Business Park in Newtownabbey, and is due to open in 2026. 

The open-access manufacturing and engineering innovation centre, with a capacity for 150 staff, will provide a specialised environment for advanced manufacturing, materials and engineering sectors to access the latest digital, automation and robotics technologies, supported by experienced engineers. The aim is to reinvigorate local industry, and to address the technology and skills challenges faced by the region’s manufacturers.

Following a recent recruitment drive, AMIC already has a team of over 50 engineers and support staff working to deliver digitalisation and innovation projects for manufacturers in a variety of sectors in Northern Ireland.

The Factory of the Future project is being led by Queen’s University Belfast, which is delivering it in partnership with industry, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, and Ulster University, as part of a wider £230m programme of innovation supported by the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive through Belfast Region City Deal. Almost £80m of AMIC’s funding is coming from the City Deal.

Speaking at the recent sod-cutting ceremony, AMIC CEO Sam Turner said: “AMIC is already live and supporting economic growth and prosperity for Northern Ireland by creating high quality jobs and increasing inward investment through high-value manufacturing innovation clusters. With core capabilities in digitalising manufacturing, smart design, sustainable polymers and composites, and smart nanotech, we are working with local businesses across the region to address technology and skills challenges.

Dignitaries at the recent sod-cutting ceremony at the site of the future Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre

“It’s fantastic to see construction start on the Factory of the Future which will enable us to further drive industrial transformation, paving the way for future technologies and competing globally with a more sustainable focus.”

Queen’s vice-chancellor, Professor Sir Ian Greer, added: “It’s wonderful to mark this major milestone for AMIC starting construction at the state-of-the-art Factory of the Future. This is a tangible mark of progress which leads the way to an exciting future for manufacturing in Northern Ireland.

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