UK's Premier Facility is a Reality in Ayr
A state-of-the-art Extended Reality (XR) facility, regarded as the leading XR showcase in the UK, has been officially opened by Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee MSP in Ayr.
The Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite (ADVS) gives Small or Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), free access to the very latest XR and digital visualisation technologies to help them grow their business in the aerospace and space sector. The use of the ADVS technology is limitless, from offering companies the chance to walk through their new factory before it exists, to building a new product virtually, or providing employees with safe training in a sandpit environment.
Delivered by South Ayrshire Council, the ADVS facility is based within the Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre at Ayrshire College. The project has been established following a successful bid to the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF), led by South Ayrshire Council and its partners, which saw a total of almost £1.1 million being allocated from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and match funding by the Council.
Offering an unrivalled suite of technology and equipment, not collectively available anywhere else in the country, the ADVS enables engineering companies to innovate, develop skills and improve their productivity through the three main XR technologies of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR).
In conjunction with their partners, including the University of Strathclyde and National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), the ADVS team works closely with companies to identify XR solutions to everyday industry challenges, with the added bonus of saving time and money.
Since being operational, the ADVS has worked with almost 50 companies, which for some, has resulted in securing lucrative contracts. One example is Chevron Aircraft Maintenance based at Prestwick. The company had the opportunity for a new contract, provided they could fit an Airbus A330 and a Boeing 737-8 side by side in their hangar. The ADVS team carried out laser scanning and modelling of the hangar showing the prospective customer that this was possible, and Chevron won the contract.
In officially opening the ADVS, Ivan McKee MSP commented: "The Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite (ADVS) - supported through the Scottish Government's Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund - is an excellent addition to our well-established Prestwick aerospace cluster, demonstrating time and again the pioneering innovation taking place in Scotland.
"Through the ADVS, South Ayrshire will play a key role in supporting high growth Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), along with development of the sector, which are critical to achieving our National Strategy for Economic Transformation ambitions. These include stimulating entrepreneurship, opening new markets, increasing productivity, developing the skills we need for the decade ahead; and ensuring fairer and more equal economic opportunities."
Councillor Martin Dowey, Leader of South Ayrshire Councillor said: "We are delighted to celebrate the official opening of the Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite which is arguably the leading facility of its kind in Europe. South Ayrshire is home to Scotland's largest aerospace hub at Prestwick, which is receiving a great deal of interest due to the £80 million investment from the Ayrshire Growth Deal to establish new facilities and infrastructure. The ADVS makes Prestwick an even more attractive location to new investors who will have free access to its cutting-edge technology to improve their productivity and competitiveness."
Gavin Murray, Assistant Principal - Curriculum, Ayrshire College, said: "Ayrshire College is delighted to host the ADVS at our Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre in Ayr. We welcome the opportunity to support this unique initiative and its fascinating, state of the art technology. Ayrshire College has a strong heritage in providing training to our industry partners around Prestwick Aerospace and beyond, and the ADVS project demonstrates how working together we can further enhance the local offering that we collectively bring to the aerospace and space sector."
The ADVS project will run until 2023, with its legacy being secured through the new Aerospace and Space Technology Applications Centre being developed at Prestwick, as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal. It also supports the Skypath Aero Training Centre at Prestwick, offering 3D-visualisation in their course delivery, with plans already underway to establish a second ADVS facility at the Skypath site.
For more information on the ADVS, including details on how to get involved with the project, visit www.am-aerospace.co.uk/advs