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Jamie Hepburn MSP becomes one of first visitors to Smart Hub Lanarkshire

Jamie Hepburn MSP (@jamiehepburn) is one of first visitors to new Hub @NCLanarkshire.  ‘Cobots’ enjoy some action as Smart Hub Lanarkshire opens doors

Smart Hub Lanarkshire – a state-of-the-art centre that will help manufacturing SMEs to grow and prepare for the future – has opened its doors for in-person events.

Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education, Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, was one of the first to see the new facility during a visit to New College Lanarkshire on Wednesday 3rd November.

The Smart Hub, which is a partnership between North Lanarkshire Council, New College Lanarkshire and the University of Strathclyde, is home to a robotics and automation training facility and a dedicated space for SMEs to meet, learn and access business support and academic expertise.

Based at New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell Campus, the facility ‘virtually’ opened in April this year and has since hosted six webinar events, attracting almost 250 attendees from a wide range of manufacturing businesses.

Now, with Covid restrictions easing, the Hub has begun to welcome visitors for live demonstrations of collaborative robots – known as ‘cobots’ – in action. 

Mr Hepburn was treated to a demonstration showcasing the capabilities of cobots and how these can be integrated in to different manufacturing environments. 

With demonstrations set to become a regular fixture at Smart Hub Lanarkshire, SMEs who are who are considering introducing automation and want to see what cobots can do for them can now book an appointment by getting in touch with the Hub team.

As well as technical advice, the Hub can also offer SMEs insight into business support services available to them.

Barry Skea, Head of the Faculty of Engineering at New College Lanarkshire, said: “It was great to welcome Mr Hepburn to the Smart Hub as one of our first visitors and to show him what our cobots can do. Our webinars have been really successful, but there’s something special about getting to run some hands-on demonstrations after all this time. We hope to see many SMEs come through our doors as we inspire more companies to take their first steps towards a digital manufacturing process.”

Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education, Further Education, Youth Employment and Training said: “It is fantastic to see New College Lanarkshire partnering with the University of Strathclyde to take forward the Smart Hub initiative. This is the type of collaboration we need to see in our tertiary education sector. The involvement of North Lanarkshire Council in the partnership is also a great example of a college rooted in and working with its local community, which is also very welcome.

 “I look forward to seeing the Smart Hub making a great difference for Small and Medium Enterprises in Lanarkshire and for the close working between the College and local employers to continue to flourish.” 

Councillor Allan Graham, Convener of the Enterprise and Growth Committee at North Lanarkshire Council said: “The virtual events run to date by Smart Hub Lanarkshire have proved very popular with local manufacturing businesses, so being able to welcome visitors through the doors is an exciting development for the facility. 

“The hub is offering an opportunity for SMEs to learn about this innovative technology and how it can help growth and economic development in the area, and I would encourage businesses to take part in the events available.” 

Smart Hub Lanarkshire is one of 12 projects to be awarded a share of £15.8m of funding from the Scottish Government through the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund.

Smart Hub Lanarkshire has guided tours running weekly through November and December 2021.

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