Cheshire-based manufacturer Autac has expanded into a new advanced manufacturing facility in Macclesfield with the help of digital transformation support service CW4.0.
The business, which supplies retractable cables to a wide range of industries worldwide, has more than tripled its manufacturing footprint with its new facility, the 12,206 sq ft Guildford House in Macclesfield, as it continues to digitally transform its operations.
The third-generation, family-owned business worked closely with CW4.0 to plan the £2.8 million investment in its new facility. Using 3D laser scanning technology, the CW4.0 team was able to create a digital simulation of the new facility, allowing Autac to plan and evaluate the most efficient and productive layout for its manufacturing processes across the two facilities prior to the move.
Configuring its new factory in virtual setting in advance also meant Autac was able to install its plant and equipment smoothly, minimising production downtime and ensuring the new facility was up and running as quickly as possible.
The new facility is expected to create over 20 new jobs in the area, and Autac is planning further investment in the site to create an innovation and testing laboratory for its research and development functions.
The £5.6m CW4.0 initiative was launched to help the region’s manufacturing SMEs to become more competitive and productive.
Craig Beck, CW4.0 Engagement Lead at the Virtual Engineering Centre, said: “Autac Products is a fantastic example of a successful home-grown manufacturer that is embracing the potential of digital technology.
“We were able to provide specialist guidance and support to help Autac prove the business case for its expansion into a larger facility and minimise the risk of any downtime. Configuring the most efficient site layout virtually not only avoided costly disruption to the business but also ensured the management team had peace of mind that it would be operating in the most efficient way from day one.
“CW4.0 is all about forming partnerships and collaborations to make smart technologies accessible for manufacturing SMEs in Cheshire and Warrington. Next generation technologies have the capabilities to benefit local businesses economically, environmentally and socially and Autac is a prime example of how adopting new approaches can unlock its full potential.”
David Lowe, Managing Director at Autac Products Limited, said: “Working with CW4.0 opened our eyes to the potential for new technology to help us make informed decisions about the future of our business.
“The support from the team at the Virtual Engineering Centre means we understand our business processes and systems better than ever before and have the confidence that the new layout will be the most effective in helping us to meet the growing demand for our cable solutions.”
Autac has retained its existing manufacturing premises on London Road in Macclesfield where it continues to carry out orders.
CW4.0 is being delivered by a consortium of North West organisations with decades of experience in helping businesses through their digital transformation. It is led by the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Liverpool John Moore’s University, and the Northern Automotive Alliance. The initiative is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).