FAST responds to Industry needs with launch of Innovation Hub

Advanced manufacturing specialist, FAST Technologies is expanding its digital transformation capabilities in response to growing demand for its smart manufacturing solutions. This includes plans to invest in excess of £5million in the business over the next five years.

Headquartered in Derry, FAST’s (Factory Automation & Systems Technologies) initial focus is the opening of an Automation Accelerator Hub, based in the city’s Catalyst ‘Innovation’ Centre. The investment also supports the creation of 20 new jobs at FAST.

FAST designs and develops advanced technical solutions – automation, software and robotics – which are integrated into a business’s manufacturing processes to increase productivity, reduce risk and drive cost efficiencies.

The Automation Accelerator Hub – known as A2 – enables FAST to showcase its range of automation solutions to its growing client base, 40% of which are outside the UK and Ireland. It provides a space to engage with manufacturing businesses, assess their digital readiness, map out potential solutions and de-risk any investment.

The A2 Hub will also create a collaborative zone for companies, educators and specialists to test drive the latest innovations and ‘factory of the future’ technologies, as well as providing training which will collectively support NI’s ambitious 10X vision for growth.

While furthering its development work for global customers such as DuPont, Unilever, Caterpillar and Seagate, the Hub will also enable FAST to leverage and extend support to local SMEs, accelerating their automation and digital transformation journey.

Mark Higgins who has almost 30 years’ high-volume manufacturing experience, including eight at FAST Technologies, has been appointed Director of the A2 Hub.

Commenting on the significance of the new facility and its potential to help businesses garner the benefits of advanced automation, Mark Higgins said:

“The opening of our A2 Hub is an important milestone for FAST, and our vision of accelerating companies on their automation journey. It presents unrivalled opportunities to showcase our capabilities in an environment which is renowned for fostering and supporting innovation.

“Our focus throughout is to create solutions to the everyday and often unidentified problems which may be hindering businesses on their journey to excellence.

“Through our robust engineering skills, we can identify and deliver the system improvements and processes which create the production efficiencies, time and cost savings business need to thrive.

“We are excited to launch our A2 Hub and further utilise our extensive portfolio of solutions.  Marrying this with our collective knowledge and experience, we look forward to supporting customers – both local and global – on their sustainable growth journey.”