Wednesday, May 3, 2017

News: Magna ensures plans for British Glass Innovation Centre are seen through

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The Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham is set to be the new location for a £20m global centre of excellence in glass.

In 2014, £5m funding was secured via the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership's Growth Deal with the Government to support the creation of a new British Glass Innovation Centre and new training facilities, including a brand new British Glass Academy.

The centre was planned to be built on the Phase 2 site of Sheffield Business Park, on the site of the former Sheffield Airport, but now Magna has been outlined as the location for the facility that will bring together world experts to carry out research into energy and emissions reduction, glass formulation and new high-tech products.

Set in the former Templeborough steelworks, Magna is a family attraction with more than 100 hands-on exhibits. Millions of pounds have been invested in conference facilities at the centre which is operated by a charity, the Magna Trust.

In 2015, Councillors in Rotherham endorsed the plan to restructure outstanding Council loans to the charity. The business was described as "fragile" and a new business plan was put together. Operators said at the time that they had several projects in the pipeline.

Now representatives of the organisations involved with the "Glass Futures" project will gather at Magna this week for an official launch.

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The brain-child of the British Glass Manufacturers' Confederation in Sheffield, the project is backed by a consortium including two of the world's largest glass manufacturers, as well as Siemens and Leeds University.

Work on the project is expected to start later this year and when fully operational the facility will employ around 100 people.

The furnace will be housed in a large, previously unused area at Magna known as the "dark space," with the intention of integrating it into the existing Magna visitor attraction.

Richard Katz, director of Glass Futures, a not for profit company, said: "We are very excited to be working with the team at Magna, which is the perfect venue for this project being at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Investment District and part of science education."

Dave Dalton, chief executive of British Glass, one of the partners, said: “The glass industry has amazing potential for growth and, by bringing academics, manufacturers and technology companies together we can grasp that potential and bring real benefits to the UK economy.

"I look forward to seeing the technical leaps and competitive improvement this facility will enable and I am excited to see it coming to fruition so close to the heartland of glass manufacturing, here in Yorkshire."

Partners already involved in Glass Futures are Goole-based flat glass manufacturer Guardian Industries; the world’s leading glass bottle manufacturer Owens Illinois; the University of Leeds; Siemens; glass manufacturer Swarovski; the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London; the British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation, and Glass Technology Services.

John Silker, chief executive of Magna, said: "This is an incredibly exciting project to be part of. As a former steelworks we are very much at the heart of industry in South Yorkshire and so we are thrilled to host this centre of international importance."

Magna website
British Glass website

Images: Magna


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