Pioneering St Neots engineering firm Cambridge Precision Ltd has been named as one of the nation's top innovators for a digital manufacturing hub which includes the first UK multi-axis machining centre.

CPL, which is in the process of expanding, was chosen from hundreds of international entries as winner of the Manufacturing 4.0 category in the Institution of Engineering and Technology's E&T magazine 2021 Innovation Awards.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson presented the award to Andrew Barnard, chief engineer, at the firm's St Neots centre.

He said: "CPL epitomises everything which makes Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s economy one of the most dynamic and exciting in the UK and the world. I’m proud that a local company at the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation has been able to compete and win on the global stage.

“This is a company with an exciting present and future, with plans to expand and create more high-skilled, high-value jobs in the region."

Dr Johnson said: “The Combined Authority and Business Board have a strategy to support our region’s advanced manufacturing sector and it was great to see first-hand why CPL is at the very forefront of innovation in its field. It was a real privilege and a delight to be able to hand over a much-deserved trophy to Andrew and the CPL team.”

Nick Raven, CPL operations manager, said: “We have been delighted with the results of this project, which is revolutionising the way we operate. Our prototype cobot was soon joined by a second and we are now looking at significant investment and the development of an entire unit, to house what is being recognised as a market-leading manufacturing innovation.

"Our new unit will be opening in St Neots in 2022, to support increasing demand for complex precision engineered components. We want to grow our workforce by more than twenty staff, skilled engineers, trainees and apprentices, and we believe that this award illustrates the quality, innovation and national significance of our business."

CPL won the Manufacturing 4.0 award in recognition of its progressive digital manufacturing hub, which is capable of making complex shapes in a single set up, and ongoing programme of development, which has seen the implementation of the first UK multi-axis machining centre with automated cobotic loading.