Yorkshire Forward continues to support CenFRA


Europe’s leading centre of robotic and automation excellence, CenFRA Ltd, has announced that it has secured firm funding from Yorkshire Forward until at least March 2011.

As a result, the Doncaster-based organisation is now in a position to implement its ambitious new business plan, which has been formulated to help it achieve self-sufficiency as early as autumn next year.

Regional development agencies across the UK have been faced with difficult decisions, which have placed organisations, including CenFRA, under funding pressure. Many MPs from within and outside the Yorkshire area had also expressed their concern over CenFRA’s future. However, Yorkshire Forward has now recognised the benefits it is bringing to the vital food and drink industry and has agreed to continue its financial support for the company.

CenFRA’s managing director, Steve Blazye, said he was “thrilled” by Yorkshire Forward’s decision to continue investing in the enterprise, and added: “We have been overwhelmed by the support received from both Yorkshire Forward and Members of Parliament, who have expressed their belief in the CenFRA initiative and the vital role it plays in helping ensure the long term sustainability of the UK food and drink manufacturing sector.

“We are confident that we will not only meet our chief business objectives but also strengthen our relationships with customers, suppliers and academic links.”

Yorkshire is the UK's largest food and drink manufacturing sector with over 15,000 companies in the region, including well-known brands such as Nestle, Heinz and Coca-Cola.

To support this crucial sector, Yorkshire Forward established CenFRA in 2007 to help producers attain a sustainable cost base by providing a fully independent resource to help the UK’s food and drink manufacturers identify cost effective automated systems.

Since its formation, CenFRA has built a reputation within the industry for providing quality advice and guidance on the latest available technologies which can assist in improving production and factory efficiencies. Its bespoke simulation capabilities and modelling design have proved invaluable to numerous businesses, which have been able to save hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Jim Farmery, Assistant Director of Business at Yorkshire Forward said: “Yorkshire Forward is committed to supporting innovation and strongly believes that the manufacturing sector is the foundation to a strong economy. Yorkshire Forward is delighted that it has been able to continue to support CenFRA in its vital role in helping food manufacturing companies remain competitive and successful.”

Notes to Editors

CenFRA Ltd (Centre for Food Robotics and Automation) mission is “To support the future sustainability of food and drink manufacturing in the UK by providing leadership, guidance and assistance in the development and application of automation”.

Funded principally by Yorkshire Forward the Centre is in partnership with a consortium of the country’s leading independent robotic and automation facilities.

Driven by food industry professionals CenFRA is working towards becoming the beacon organisation for all robotic and automation activities related to the UK food and beverage manufacturing industry including education, consultancy and research and development.

CenFRA has established itself as Europe’s leading centre of excellence, providing valued knowledge and services to the food and drink industry.

The CenFRA organisation is Europe’s first Centre for Food Robotics and Automation and is located in Crompton Business Park at Doncaster. It is supported by a dedicated team of professional engineers, researchers and technologists drawn from a wide variety of academic and specialist engineering centres. All are highly experienced in the field of mechanised food assembly and automation technology.

For further information please contact:

Philip Allott or Becky Ray
(For colour separations or photographs contact Helen Wright at helen@allottandassociates.co.uk)
Allott & Associates Ltd,
Claro Chambers
42 High Street,
North Yorkshire, HG5 0EQ
Telephone: 01423 867264 or Fax: 01423 869140
 Email: becky@allottandassociates.co.uk