Expert advice to consider when developing an advanced manufacturing facility

With the world of advanced manufacturing developing at a rapid pace, the sector relies on specialist buildings that are people and product-safe and technologically advanced – that is where Clegg Food Project’s expertise comes to the fore. 

With more than 40 years’ experience in the food and drink industry, our knowledge and reputation for delivering outstanding buildings stand us in good stead amid the increasing demand for advanced manufacturing facilities. 

From electronics and robotics to aerospace and defence, we understand the needs of a wide range of companies with specific building requirements to help them reach the next level – whether with a new-build factory or a refit of their current space. 

Here our business development manager Oliver Jenkins discusses how the company is leading the way during these exciting times for UK manufacturing…


What is advanced manufacturing?

Advanced manufacturing is the harnessing of innovative technology to improve products and processes. It is transforming the UK’s manufacturing industry, vastly improving productivity levels and making more efficient use of resources. 

Real-time data analytics, the Internet of Things, robotics, and artificial intelligence are just some of the advancements that experts say will help shape the nation’s future prosperity and position on the global stage. 

A coalition of the UK’s leading advanced manufacturing sectors, the Manufacturing Five (M5), which spans life sciences, chemicals, food and drink, automotive, aerospace, defence, security and space, has called for innovation to be prioritised as an essential element for manufacturing growth.


What facilities do advanced manufacturing buildings require? 

The sector includes a huge range of industries, all with different requirements, such as robotic assembly lines, electronics, laboratories and premises to house heavy technology. 

But those requirements can also have underlying similarities. There is a need for safe, clean, fire-rated and well-ventilated facilities that accommodate a thought-out process flow whether for making car parts or a bakery production line. 

These are just some of the sectors and advanced manufacturing criteria that Clegg Food Projects can assist with:

  • Smart power and utility requirements for complex installations and connections – upgrading power supplies and installing new technologies 
  • ‘Wet’ process factories – that have specific drainage needs, for example in dairy production; chemicals need to be contained to prevent leakage  
  • Heavy industrial equipment – increased floor loadings may be required, particularly with vibrating equipment 
  • Electronic devices, medical equipment, battery production and pharmaceuticals – often require ‘clean room’ environments from anti-static technology, high and low care to temperature-controlled rooms  
  • Manufacturing cells to include robotics need to be carefully designed with safe assembly space, but also R&D rooms and new product development labs 
  • Industrial ventilation systems to deal with dangerous gases, vapours, dust, fumes and explosive atmospheres  
  • Dangerous gases need to be considered and managed safely; hydrogen facilities must be ‘explosive-resistant’ 
  • Machinery safety requirements need to be considered such as cage systems around production and robots 
  • Fire safety – crucial across the board but advanced protection in the battery, chemical or alcohol-producing industries (our recently completed project with Alcohols Ltd is a great example of this) 
  • The use of renewable and sustainable technologies in the design phase – efficient plant, car charging points, solar panels and insulated buildings 

Many factories can be reconfigured to take account of technological advancements, with Clegg Food Projects specialising in dealing with ‘live’ sites. We have also created new sites for large and complex process equipment to be phased in before the roof and walls are built around it.


Which advanced manufacturing sectors does Clegg Food Projects work in?

We work with clients with complex manufacturing needs across a huge range of sectors, including electronics, robotics, hydraulics, hydrogen fuel, aerospace and defence, the auto industry, and companies with complex manufacturing processes. 

From new builds to extensions, expansions and complete refurbishments, we deliver world-class manufacturing facilities. A vital part of our building strategy is incorporating sustainable technologies wherever possible, delivering efficient energy solutions for our clients.


How does Clegg Food Projects collaborate with advanced manufacturing companies?

Clegg works closely with clients to develop the best solutions, using our expertise to deliver complex construction projects. We review the requirements from a construction perspective – what is practical and buildable, energy efficient, safe, and with an ‘inside out’ approach. 

We collaborate to understand each client’s manufacturing requirements from start to finish – identifying process flows and the key building specifications ready for equipment installation. That includes in-bound raw material processing, how they will be fabricating, assembling and finishing the goods, and then finally packaging and dispatch. 

Our team also works closely with client suppliers – such as machinery and technology firms to ensure that the equipment installation is phased into the overall construction programme.


How does our food industry experience help with advanced manufacturing?

Our background in creating often complex and specialised food manufacturing facilities ranges from bakeries and sandwich factories to breweries and vertical farms. This underlines our strengths in finding bespoke solutions for the wider advanced manufacturing industry. 

Many sectors have similar processes. For example, raw materials that undergo heat processing and extrusion to process pipework and product filling. With a bakery, for instance, we look at the production stages, such as where we put the silos for the raw materials, power to equipment, and space for packaging and dispatch. 

The food and drink industry sets the bar regarding the standard and design of the working environments needed in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector.  

Clegg Food Projects is used to working at speed to tight deadlines, this is often driven when manufacturing clients tender for contracts or launch new products that will quickly need more manufacturing space to meet increased demand.  

This is often on sites that are still operational, which is a major part of our work where we need to manage people and product safety at all times.


What does the future of advanced manufacturing look like?

The industry has had its challenges, including dealing with these tumultuous economic times with high-interest rates, inflationary pressures and geopolitical uncertainty, but we believe that the UK’s manufacturing future looks bright. 

Many rapid advancements are being discussed far and wide, such as Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, and integrated factories that will be smarter and super-efficient, all improving the UK’s offering. 

Sectors such as car manufacturing are flourishing – new figures show 1.9m cars were sold in the UK in 2023, an increase of 17.9% on the previous year. Clegg is seeing more specialist manufacturing, particularly in defence, aerospace, and further investment in technology. 

We are excited to be working with clients who are embracing emerging technologies and need innovative solutions when modifying their buildings to optimise layouts and improve efficiency and flexibility. 

We are successfully matching our core skills to new sectors, resulting in our best year ever last year.


Why should the advanced manufacturing sector choose Clegg Food Projects?

We are a national designer and constructor of manufacturing and distribution facilities with more than 40 years’ experience across the sector, both in the UK and abroad, including aerospace, bakery, beverages, dairy, fresh produce, and many more. 

This experience has given us a solid, trusted base and the expertise to understand the requirements of the rapidly developing advanced manufacturing industry.  

We always aim to incorporate efficiency and low carbon in every step, from building design and construction methods to building continuing operational efficiency.


Talk to our advanced manufacturing experts today 

Clegg Food Projects has successfully completed a range of projects to enable advanced manufacturing facilities for clients such as Meggitt’s new aerospace facility, ITM Power refurbishment, Parkinson Hydraulics and Supplies, and Schneider Electric.  

Get in touch with our specialist facility manufacturing teams today to discuss the needs of your project and how we can help you achieve your goals.   

Email us at or call us on 0115 841 3121.