The aerospace hub at Prestwick in South Ayrshire is one of the largest aerospace clusters in Europe. Having secured an £80 million investment from the Ayrshire Growth Deal, it’s set to secure its status as a leading centre for aerospace and space activity in the UK, with a horizontal spaceport and Aerospace and Space Innovation Centre part of the expansion. However, while business opportunities in aerospace offer high value contracts, entering the market can be a challenge. To help SMEs identify the right opportunities for them and exploit these through applying the latest technologies, two projects have been established: Supply Chain AeroSpace and the Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite. This follows a £2 million investment from the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and South Ayrshire Council. The services of both projects are provided free of charge to SMEs across the west of Scotland.

Supply Chain AeroSpace (SCA)

The SCA project supports SMEs to improve their productivity and competitiveness through the introduction of innovative manufacturing technologies via the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS). It also works with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier One suppliers to identify supply chain opportunities for SMEs to join the aerospace and space sectors or grow their contribution.

The wide range of support on offer includes:

Matching an SME’s capabilities and capacity to real opportunities, by supporting procurement and supply chain assessments.

Supporting introductions to potential funding environments.

Helping SMEs engage with procurement and supply chain teams within Scotland and the Prestwick Aerospace cluster.

Identifying opportunities to apply innovation in operations by using gap analysis, to help create cost competitive solutions.

Assisting with the adoption of new process and manufacturing technologies.

Supporting Quality Accreditation assistance for aerospace and space, and ISO 9001 vs ISO 9100 gap analysis.

Introducing SMEs to business improvement services, including SCI, Sharing in Growth (SiG) and SC21 Supply Chain for the 21st Century.

Introducing digital technologies through its sister project, the Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite.

Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite (ADVS)

Located at the Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre at Ayrshire College, the ADVS project helps SMEs to innovate, develop skills and improve productivity through access to the very latest in Extended Reality (XR) technologies. In conjunction with academic partners, including the University of Strathclyde and NMIS, the ADVS team works closely with companies to identify XR solutions to everyday challenges, supporting them in achieving time and costs savings on live testing, development and training.

Services include:

Visualisation – through VR (Virtual Reality) simulations and AR (Augmented Reality) programmes, companies can quickly visualise any aspect of their business, allowing them to identify and address any problems/challenges quickly and cost effectively.

Digital Asset Creation – by scanning real-world objects, converting existing CAD data or 3D modelling from designs, assets needed to simulate existing or proposed objects can be created, ranging in scale from handheld items to full size buildings.

Digital Factory Transformation and Design – by planning the transformation process using VR technology, restructuring the layout of factories to achieve the best solution can be carried out before the first physical piece of equipment is moved and without any disruption to operations.

Together the SCA and ADVS projects will play a key role in strengthening Scotland’s manufacturing industry. With South Ayrshire Council the Lead Organisation for both projects, the Steering Group is supported by NMIS, with colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Strathclyde; Ayrshire College; Ayrshire Engineering Alliance; Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service and Scottish Enterprise.

For more information on the ADVS and SCA, including details on how to get involved with either project, please visit or email the projects directly: or