A cutting-edge 3D weaving loom – the only one of its kind in the UK – is at the heart of a new £1.75 million textiles innovation centre at the University of Leeds.
The high-tech machine, which will develop prototypes for sectors including aerospace to healthcare, was showcased to industry leaders yesterday during the official unveiling of a major year-long upgrade of the university’s School of Design.
A total of £4.4m has been invested in the school with university bosses saying they hope it cements its place at the leading edge of technical research and creativity.
New laboratories have bene created along with exhibition areas and student spaces and the school now boasts new weaving, knitting and digital printing facilities.
Professor Chris Carr, head of the School of Design, said: “The new equipment and facilities we are unveiling are a key part of the university’s aim to invest in knowledge and opportunity – to provide the very best for our researchers and students and to enhance the excellent partnerships we have with the very best designers and industrialists across the region and indeed the world.”
The 3D Weaving Innovation Centre was part-funded through a £881,191 grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Roger Marsh, chairman of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and ESIF sub-committee, which oversaw the ERDF funding, was at the official opening yesterday. He said: “Innovation is part of the fabric of Leeds City Region and its textile industry, in particular, is central to our innovation pedigree.”
Mr Marsh, who is also an alumnus of the university and a member of its Council, added: “We’ve proven ourselves to be an unrivalled hub of pioneers and innovators throughout our history, and I’m confident the 3D Weaving Innovation Centre opening today will add even more value to our already enviable heritage.”
Also at the opening was Dominic Dormeuil, president of luxury textiles firm Dormeuil, which has a base in Dewsbury, added: “I am a firm believer that strong cooperation between universities and companies is key to the successful research of new innovative processes and products.
“Dormeuil are now looking to work with the School in developing new products and introduce innovations in to the fabrics that will be world beaters and leaders to be showcased around the world.”