A research and development facility in North Wales has been granted £2 million in funding to develop a hub for the development of sustainable food packaging.
The £20 million University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Cymru secured the BITES (Business, Innovation and Tourism Escalator Scheme) funding to develop an emerging technology demonstrator specifically for the Welsh food and drink sector that will accelerate the adoption of waste-reducing and environmentally-friendly innovations in the packaging industry.
The funding will also be used for prototyping production processes and equipment infrastructure that supports the progress of new designs, materials and processes.
The hub will exhibit the AMRC Cymru’s capabilities in advanced automation, collaborative robotics, additive manufacturing and visualisation and there will also be prototyping and functional test equipment for new packaging solutions and ideas.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs said: “We want to see the food, drink and packaging industry reducing its reliance on manual labour and increasing skill levels within the sector and are extremely interested in exploring innovation in processes. This will drive forward the industry into a new era of green growth in the Welsh economy and it is vital the sector responds to these high potential opportunities.
“This can only be achieved by urgently developing new processes and incorporating the new technologies to tackle single-use plastic and recycling.”
The food and drinks supply chain in Wales employs around 229,500 people and has an annual turnover of £22.1 billion.