A groundbreaking ceremony marking the construction phase of the £24m Advanced Manufacturing Centre facility took place at Unilever research and development site in Port Sunlight, Wirral on Monday.
Due for completion in 2017 the 70,000 sq ft centre is to house a pilot plant enabling scientists and engineers to test new ideas during personal care and home care product development on a factory scale.
Cameron Jones, Unilever Port Sunlight site leader, said: “Today heralds a new phase on our journey of research and development at our historic Port Sunlight home. In building the centre we are renewing our commitment to R&D in the UK and the North West. From here we will have the capacity to innovate products with increased speed and efficiency, which we will turn into winning products to be enjoyed by tens of millions both here and around the world.
“The centre will complement existing and new facilities such as the Materials Innovation Factory currently under construction at the University of Liverpool due to open in early 2017, where new materials will be explored by our scientists that could then be further developed here at the Unilever Advanced Manufacturing Centre.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Centre is designed by DLA Architects and BAM Construction was named preferred contractor for both the enabling works and two-stage design and build contract.
The centre is partly funded by the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund, and be configured to allow close working with industrial and academic partners.