With many businesses now moving into the Phase 3 development of Silverstone Park, we caught up with Kieron Salter, CEO of KW Special Projects(Unit 1130) to discuss the reasons behind relocating his high-performance engineering consultancy to the site. It’s not Kieron’s first time fitting out a business in Silverstone Park, he also launched the Digital Manufacturing Centre(Unit 1502) in mid-2021.
Though we started trading a little earlier, we officially launched the Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) in July 2021, opening our doors to the region’s MPs and industry representatives. Now, a little over a year later, we have successfully relocated KW Special Projects (KWSP) to Silverstone Park. The ability toco-locate these businesses will be critical to their future growth and commercial success and we are thrilled to be part of this industry-defining technology park.
For those unfamiliar, KWSP is a high-performance engineering solutions provider that specialises in fast-paced and agile development. Primarily working on niche vehicle programmes for road and track, it draws from its team’s 30 years of motorsport experience. The DMC, on the other hand, is a commercial additive manufacturing business that utilises a variety of technologies and employs a talented engineering team to produce parts for a myriad of sectors – from motorsport and aerospace to automotive, defence, medical and space.
Investment and a new beginning
We signed the lease, took the keys, and began fit-out of the DMC in 2020 – one of the most challenging periods in recent history. The combination of geopolitical and pandemic-related factors proved to be hugely disruptive not only to our build, but also to recruitment and equipment acquisition. Thankfully, we collaborated with a number of technology partners, which enabled us to find early commercial success. Importantly, this has included several local organisations, reaffirming our belief that this was the perfect place to establish the business. In addition, we have also brought a number of partners from outside Silverstone into the area, stimulating growth catalysed by the DMC
While the DMC was a completely new business, KWSP is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2022.The pandemic was difficult, but we emerged stronger than ever, with several key projects enabling us to grow and invest in the future of the business. It was getting to the point where we had outgrown our site at Bicester Heritage and saw the opportunity of relocating KWSP to Silverstone Park. It has been wonderful to celebrate our 10th year by moving to this all-new facility.
Entrepreneurial spirit & innovation
One of the primary draws for bringing these businesses to Silverstone Park was the sheer number of innovative organisations already present, from new mobility and automotive companies to motorsport teams and leading-edge suppliers. Equally, working with industry groups is extremely valuable and we have long been involved in the Silverstone Technology Cluster, benefitting from its ability to link various businesses and foster collaboration. We also have close ties with the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (BUCKSLEP), with SEMLEP providing matched funding to establish the DMC.
We also believe that the industry has a responsibility to inspire and encourage the engineers and STEM professionals of the future. To that end, we have made educational partnerships and activities a central aspect of both businesses – particularly the DMC. Between both companies, we have developed a multi-faceted approach to developing future talent, enabling young people from all sorts of backgrounds to learn more about leading-edge engineering and manufacturing.
Following Brexit and the pandemic, it’s clear that the manufacturing, engineering and innovation sectors are set to play a critical role in the UK’s future. Whether or not this collective effort is a success will depend on our ability to collaborate, transfer technology and develop world-leading solutions to emerging challenges– particularly the frontiers of mobility, aerospace, space, and sustainability. My belief and ambition are that both KWSP and DMC will play a role in this, providing engineering and manufacturing services that will create and enable these shifts.
For KWSP, we aim to become one of the world’s leading end-to-end design, development, production and testing companies for niche vehicles and motorsport projects. From high-end automotive and ‘track day specials’ to top-flight race programmes, like the World Endurance Championship. We have recently been involved in a very exciting vehicle development and production programme, which will become public knowledge at some point soon.
At DMC, we will continue to expand our capabilities as one of the world’s leading multi-technology additive manufacturing facilities. With our unique engineering-led approach to AM design and production, we are best placed to solve the challenges of industry leaders in space, aerospace, motorsport, automotive, mobility, energy, MedTech, and more.