The Customer Innovation Centre has been created to share the 3M story of innovation and collaboration with customers and business partners, as well as young scientists and engineers of the future.
It showcases a wide range of innovative products, conceived and created by collaborative people with curious minds and great technologies.
Solutions range from digital stethoscopes for earth bound doctors to listen to the heartbeats of astronauts on the International Space Station to concrete material so light that it floats.
There are double sided tapes capable of holding vehicles together; brightness enhancement and energy saving films for mobile devices and LCD TVs; a talking virtual mannequin; microscopic needles that deliver drugs without pain; and much, much more.
Schools and colleges will also be invited to visit the centre where 3M staff will demonstrate how technology can provide solutions to problems ranging from the day-to-day − such as air bubbles on protective films − to major societal issues, such as the earth’s depleting natural resources.
3M is a strong and active supporter of the UK government initiatives to encourage more young people to study the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths.
The opening ceremony was performed by Professor Brian Cox, the physicist and presenter of science based television and radio series.
Professor Cox is one of the UK’s most fervent advocates of the importance of fostering young interest in STEM and is credited with increasing the popularity of subjects such as physics.
Professor Cox commented, ‘It’s now widely appreciated that getting more STEM students into our universities is vital to the UK economy and there’s no doubt that industry has a very important role to play in helping to encourage them.
‘Being able to bring science to life by demonstrating how technology can change lives for the better has got to be a great inducement for young people to want to be a part of that.’
As well as the main innovation area, the centre incorporates workshops and a number of breakout areas that offer flexible meeting spaces for customer collaboration.
Managing director Paul Keel said, ‘This investment has delivered an innovation centre that is seven times larger than our previous one here in the UK.
‘It gives us a brilliant opportunity to share our story of innovation and collaboration and the opportunity to work closely with our customers to provide solutions for tomorrow.’