By Peter Marsh
A new website to tell the world about modern UK manufacturing has been launched in the setting of a stunning 3D-printed model of London.
The project has received support from 47 organisations from business, government and public life. Behind it is the aim to use the best writing, photography and design to paint a more upbeat picture of UK industry than is often seen in most mainstream media.
A key aim of www.madeherenow.com is to use a fresh approach in an effort to tempt more young people into the sector. According to many involved with manufacturing industry, children and teenagers are often dissuaded from considering manufacturing as a career choice due to its poor image.
The launch took place at New London Architecture in London, against the backdrop of a superb 1:2000 model of London, made using modern techniques including 3D printing. The model was made by Pipers, a small design and events company based in London.
The idea of the website was conceived about a year ago. It is a collaboration mainly involving me and two digital agencies based in Manchester – INVENTID and Nine Sixty.
The response I picked up at the launch about the website was overwhelmingly positive. “It seems people think MADE HERE NOW is fresh and informative and gives new insights into the sector,” I said at the time of the launch.
“People interested in manufacturing have for years complained about its poor image. With MADE HERE NOW we may have reached a turning point. It’s a great platform to start with as we build the website into something bigger and even better.”
The first version of the website features four exemplar companies that opened up their operations to Made Here Now so we could explore the ideas and innovations that are driving their businesses.
In the official release accompanying the launch, I said: “We
improve the growth prospects of UK industry is to find new ways to tell the world about it.”
Among the groups backing the project are the JCB digger maker, the Nesta charity, aero-engine producer Rolls-Royce, Santander Bank, German engineering giant Siemens, the Royal Society science organisation, the UK Department of Business, Innovation & Skills andthe University of Cambridge.
The case studies include:
AES Engineering – celebrating the benefits of being ‘niche’, the company manufactures 400 different types of mechanical seals to customers across the globe. The photo below shows a view inside the company’s Rotherham HQ.
Bentley Motors– the luxury car maker announced record volumes in 2014, but it’s a story of combining traditional manufacturing skills with modern ideas that is behind its real success.
Plessey Semiconductors – transforming the fortune of the UK’s electronics sector by developing new ways to make light-emitting chips.
FormFormForm – the London-based company behind Sugru, a malleable putty-like substance sold to more than 500,000 customers in 160 countries.
The model of London shows in massive detail a huge area of the city covering 85 sq km and has a total perimeter of 35 metres.
It has been produced over a period of four months by a team of skilled model makers, using a range of modern manufacturing techniques including 3D printing and laser cutting. Initially it went on temporary display at a property event in France, before coming to its permanent home in London.
My comments on this in the official release were:
“I feel it is really fitting that the launch of Made Here Now is being made against the backdrop of such a superb piece of modern manufacturing, created with imagination and verve.
“The website is setting out to put British manufacturing on the map with the public in a much more vibrant way than before, illustrating new technologies, innovation and skills through a series of articles, photography and video.
“What better way to kick start all of this than with the setting of a wonderfully engineered 3D map of our capital city?”
My concluding remarks were: “I am extremely grateful to New London Architecture, in particular its chairman Peter Murray, for allowing us to use the fantastic space of the Building Centre for our event.” I am also grateful to the Building Centre, which is in overall charge of the gallery.
The launch featured contributions from political and economic commentator Will Hutton and Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF manufacturers’ association. The picture below shows from left Bryn Morgan of inventid, Terry Scuoler, Peter Marsh and Will Hutton.