A KITCHENS specialist in Bury has become the latest outfit to secure support from a Greater Manchester initiative designed to boost productivity and growth using digital tools.

Multiwood Products, a distributor and producer of kitchen doors and components, has taken the plunge with the Made Smarter Adoption programme.

And with the Roach Bank Road firm signing up, this makes 200 technology projects which have been aided by the government funded and industry-led programme.

Now more than two years old, the Made Smarter Adoption programme across the north west has to date supported 161 businesses with £3.9m matched funding for 201 projects, leveraging £10.5m of private sector investment.

And this includes 38 businesses in Greater Manchester, said to have secured grants worth £969,000 for 52 technology projects, with the value pegged at nearly £3.3m after private investment is factored in.

Supporters of the sceme say that some manufacturers are developing projects using emerging technologies which enable them to integrate systems, capture and analyse data, and even create simulations of their plants and processes.

Still others are using 3D-printing, automation, and robotics to solve business challenges and meet increased demand. Regular workshops are staged for those interested in expanding their horizons.

Donna Edwards, the programme's director, said: “Surpassing the milestone of 200 funded technology projects is a significant achievement for the Made Smarter adoption programme in the North West - and there is much more to come.

“Industry 4.0 is the future of manufacturing. Through it, the entire sector can reap endless rewards that will ultimately lead to considerable – and sustainable – growth. But upgrading to new technologies can seem like a complex and daunting task, and SMEs can miss out on significant improvements to their operations.

In Greater Manchester alone it is estimated 222 new jobs will be created, 480 existing roles upskilled, and an additional £36.9m in gross value added (GVA) for the region’s economy.