Major funding boost for engineering joint venture

Richard Gould

MetLase, a South Yorkshire company providing engineering solutions to complex industrial problems, has secured £400,000 through the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority’s Local Growth Fund.

The funding will be combined with £565,000 of investment from MetLase, a joint venture between Unipart and Rolls-Royce, to provide an ambitious series of standardised Industry 4.0 digital products that can be taken to market and applied in many areas of manufacturing, both in the UK and globally.

MetLase, which is based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park near Sheffield, expects to create up to four new high value engineering careers in the first seven months of the project, whilst also safeguarding a further 10 jobs at the company.

Phase two of the project will see MetLase applying its core digital architecture to develop and commercialise a suite of other digital products over a two-year period, including Smart Bench, Smart Cell, Smart Shield, Smart Fixtures and Smart Machining.

This will widen its digital offering and enable significant business scale-up and global export opportunities.

During phase two, Metlase is planning to create additional jobs in the Sheffield City Region over a two-year period.

James Muir, chairman of the Board of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “We are delighted that MetLase will be able to take advantage of this funding, which was introduced as part of our efforts to deliver an economy that works for everyone.

“The Government devolved powers directly from Whitehall to local people who know their areas best.

“Opportunities for growth are best identified by those with detailed local knowledge and the Local Growth Fund enables the Sheffield City Region to tailor transformational interventions to local circumstances.”

Richard Gould, business development manager for MetLase, added: “We’re delighted to receive this investment which will enable us to develop our standardised digital products to manufacturers.

“We’re really excited about what it means in terms of expanding our offer to the marketplace and ultimately being able to create even more high value advanced manufacturing jobs in our region.”

The company will develop a suite of digital technologies including control automation, industrial robotics, artificial intelligence, software programming, sensing, 3D printing, machine learning and augmented/virtual reality systems, which it then intends to sell into key markets such as automotive and aerospace.

In phase one of the project the business will apply these technologies to develop one new digital product, Smart Measurement. This innovation will enable manufacturers to digitally measure their components in a fraction of the time taken using conventional methods.

Gould said: “We see significant export potential for our Smart Measurement product in the next few years.

“We have also identified major market opportunities for this and the other digital products we are developing in Australia and the USA.”

Rotherham Council cabinet member for jobs and the local economy, Councillor Denise Lelliott, said: “It’s fantastic news that MetLase has successfully secured the funding and, as a result, will be investing even more in creating jobs and opportunities in the region.”

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