Posted: Fri 21st Oct 2016

Putting Ideas To Work At Baglan Bay Innovation Centre /
This article is old - Published: Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

Innovation is the key to future industry and jobs and Neath Port Talbot Council has embraced this at their Baglan Bay Innovation Centre. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Established originally to drive forward renewable energy technology, the building is managed by Neath Port Talbot Council and occupied with a host of companies in the energy and technology industries, developing new ideas for the marketplace. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The building is nearly full and work has just been completed to convert a top floor area into four more units to let. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The newest addition to the Baglan Bay Innovation Centre (BBIC) is Building Services Engineering Consultancy firm, Auxilium Engineering Services Ltd. Founded in 2003, Auxilium work alongside some of the largest contractors and developers in the construction industry and has high profile clients such as John Lewis, Dyson, the NHS and Cardiff International Pool under their belts. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Rob Davies, Managing Director, says: “Our move to the BBIC this November reflects our ambitions to enhance and develop our professional engineering services. As we expand our client base, we will need to employ additional staff members and our move to the BBIC not only provides us with extra space but also an excellent working environment which will undoubtedly assist us when attracting new talent. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“One of our newest clients ‘SPECIFIC’ are also located at the BBIC, and we see our partnering relationship with them flourishing which is very exciting as we are exploring new low carbon engineering solutions within the built environment.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Auxilium are a preferred supplier to leading international engineering enterprise Laing O’Rourke and should the proposed new Specialist Critical Care Centre in Cwmbran be given governmental approval this Autumn, the company are hopeful they will secure the Building Information Modelling works for the project. This could provide job opportunities for up to eight new staff members. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We have many more projects in the pipeline”, says Mr Davies. “The future looks very positive and we are going to be proud to bring our clients to our new home in the BBIC”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the forefront of innovation at the Centre is SPECIFIC, a National Innovation Centre. Research-led and industry inspired, it is one of six set up to foster new industries by closing the gap between scientific research and its commercial exploitation. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Led by Swansea University working with strategic partners including Tata Steel and other international collaborators and SMEs, SPECIFIC’s vision is to foster a new industry which transforms buildings into ‘power stations’ through the rapid commercialisation of buildings that generate, store and release their own energy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Project has just secured an additional round of funding in excess of £30m for the next five years from EU Funds, InnovateUK and EPSRC.
Janet Bell, Commercial Engagement Director said “More than 150 people now work at SPECIFIC on a range of projects that contribute either directly or indirectly to the ‘Buildings as Power Stations’ vision. They include university researchers, senior industrial scientists, product developers and business development experts. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This unique mix makes for a vibrant base from which ideas are shared, tested and developed into new products which industry partners can take to market.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Another company taking advantage of the modern facilities and communication links is Netalogue, a listed e-commerce software company, based at the centre since 2011. The company now employs 16 people including highly talented technologists who develop B2B ecommerce web store solutions for many large and well-known European manufacturing and distribution companies. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Managing Director Richard Condon is one of three Netalogue founders, a software professional himself, born in Port Talbot. He says: “Port Talbot is hopefully always going to be a steel town but you only have to look around the region to see evidence of businesses diversifying, with a number of successful energy and technology companies setting up in particular”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“There are a lot of bright technologists created in Wales, they just have to see that it’s often possible for their professional ambitions to be realised on their doorsteps”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There are also a number of companies taking advantage of the modern facilities at the BBIC to develop a range of projects, including the development of renewable energy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

RWE Innogy UK is part of RWE International, one of Europe’s leading renewable energy developers and operators with a strong presence in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. Specialising in renewable energy sources, energy transition and energy supply, the company has built some of the longest serving wind farms in the country and enjoys many years of experience in renewables. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Its team at the Baglan Bay Innovation Centre works on the detailed planning and installation of current and new sites, helping to deliver the Welsh Government’s renewable energy aspirations. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council Cllr. Ali Thomas OBE said: “The Baglan Bay Innovation Centre is testament to our commitment to help and encourage companies to build for the future. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The success of companies based at the Centre demonstrates that if we can create the right climate and conditions for businesses, they will be able to create jobs in our communities.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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