Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing


Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Project awards a total of £800,000 in grants to 33 North East SME's

Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project is a £5M European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and University of Sunderland collaborative project, offering practical, research and financial support to eligible SME’s within the manufacturing industry. As the end of 2019 approaches, the project looks back at what has been an extremely busy year, supporting over 200 North East manufacturers.

As well as the practical and research projects undertaken by the SAM delivery team the project has been instrumental in helping 33 SMEs realise their ambitions, with £800,000 in match funded grant awards. The grants have been awarded to SMEs with innovative new products or processes requiring the introduction of new and advanced technology to support their ambitious growth plans, create employment and ensure success and sustainability of their business in a competitive and uncertain market.

Feedback from the 36 businesses that have already received grants has been excellent: Tom Todd, The Wheel Company, said: “Our experience with SAM has been invaluable to our business, working with a team of technical professionals with superb understanding of the industry.

The grant application was made to feel straight forward as we were fully supported throughout the process by the compliance team. This is a very ethical project and an asset to the region“.

Richy Almond, Novocastrian Ltd, commented: “The SAM grant funding has been immensely helpful in enabling us to take a huge step forward as a small company. We have invested in a range of equipment which has allowed us to bring in house expensive and unreliable sub-contract work, and significantly expand our own product offering. This has in turn secured existing jobs and will generate new ones moving forward.”

Niall Ash, Ashgarth Engineering Ltd, added: “As our business is very capital intensive growth plans are restricted by our ability to fund the acquisition of new machines and equipment due to limited cash flow. Securing grant funding through the SAM project has enabled Ashgarth Engineering invest in the purchase of a new 4-Axis CNC machine to support our current customers with additional work through increased capability, grow our customer base into new markets and create skilled jobs. The new machine has helped Ashgarth Engineering to win new work that wasn’t previously possible. This new work is key to growing the business and creating more jobs. Without the support that we have received from the SAM project this wouldn’t have been possible.”

The SAM project’s primary objective is to drive the advancement of the manufacturing sector across the North East LEP. This work will continue throughout 2020 by offering fully funded support through an extensive range of activities focusing on innovation and product/process development, implementation of technology as well as research projects that will look to resolve problems and also identify solutions that could positively impact on Manufacturing SMEs and the market.

SAM has also procured several additions to its capital equipment investment in recent months, extending the capability within its factory facilities, which are based in the Industry Centre, Sunderland. The facilities allow Manufacturing SMEs (or those intending to manufacture) to work with the team to develop/design their products, create prototypes, resolve production issues and also understand how advanced technology can grow their business before they make any investment.

SAM will be releasing additional grant funding in early 2020 as well as scheduling knowledge exchange events throughout the year, all fully funded. Updates on the grant funding release and events will be advertised on the website and

If you are an SME within the manufacturing industry across all sectors and would like to register your business, receive more information or to make an appointment to visit the facilities contact the SAM team by emailing or call on 0191 515 3111.

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