The close ties between Siemens and Sheffield based trade body, the British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation, have been further strengthened with the announcement of a new technology partnership between the two organisations.
Over the next five years, Siemens will invest up to £4m as a key strategic partner to the UK glass sector, providing a range of technology, research & development and skill support services.
As British Glass embarks upon the next phase of its development to ensure the UK glass industry remains globally competitive, Siemens will work alongside the organisation in a variety of critical areas.
A central element to the strategic growth plan for the sector will be the establishment of the new British Glass Innovation Centre, Sheffield – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – which will provide a centre of excellence for glass manufacturers and support the development of an innovative culture and skills for the sector.
The Centre, planned to be built on the Phase 2 site of Sheffield Business Park, will include fully functioning glass production plants, as well as promoting leadership in important areas such as new product development and fast prototyping.
It will also be home to The Glass Academy, the training and skills development initiative set up by British Glass to train the next generation of engineers and technicians entering the sector with the relevant fit-for-purpose skills and qualifications, and to continue to upskill the industry’s current workforce, encouraging a culture of lifelong learning in the sector.
Siemens will provide a wide range of technical, product and manpower support to ensure British Glass’ plans benefit from world-class manufacturing expertise, technical excellence and global sector knowledge.
Brian Holliday, managing director, Digital Factory – Siemens UK & Ireland, said: “We are delighted to announce this substantial investment in the future of the UK glass industry.
“We are impressed by the strategic ambition of British Glass to develop an innovative culture and to make British glass-making a globally competitive leader.
“Siemens has a long established relationship with the glass industry across the UK. By developing this technology partnership we want to ensure glass manufacturing is at heart of the future of manufacturing agenda.”
“The newly proposed British Glass Innovation Centre at Sheffield is a prime example where the leaders in the sector are setting out a clear vision for the future and this must be applauded and supported.”
Dave Dalton, CEO of British Glass, said: “Siemens is the first major partner to commit to working with us on the journey to an exciting and highly competitive future.
“The breadth of Siemens’ technical expertise and support offered to us through the partnership will be vital if we are to successfully transform our industry for the 21st century.
“In addition, the concerted efforts by Siemens to help us develop the skills of people in the sector, as well as those entering it, ensures we have a powerful combination to push our industry forward over the next five years.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development at Sheffield City Council, said: “This is great news for Sheffield. The investment on its own is excellent news and is creating high quality job opportunities.
“But when linked to similar developments along the arc of the junction 33 and 34 of the M1, the city is beginning to realise its potential as one of the major clusters of high value engineering and innovation in Europe if not the world.”