Top fashion designer Nigel Cabourn officially launched a new computer-driven textile printing centre at the University of Manchester on 12 October 2006.
Cabourn, who recently took up the position of Visiting Professor of Textiles at The University of Manchester, cut the ribbon at the new Centre for Digital Printing of Textiles.
The centre, which is part of the School of Materials, has been established in the Sackville Street Building with funding from The Cotton Industry War Memorial Trust.
The new facility boasts around £100,000 worth of cutting-edge equipment, including two large Mimaki inkjet printers.
The machines work in a similar way to home inkjet printers, but at around 1.5m wide, they certainly wouldn't fit into your spare room. Each machine also costs around £35,000.
The new centre also boasts six powerful computers featuring AVA CAD/CAM software, which is used by designers working in major fashion design houses.
The School of Materials has forged close links with AVA, which has its UK headquarters in Macclesfield. The company will be helping students find industrial placements during their studies.
The Mimaki printers can output computer designs from the CAD software onto a range of fabrics, allowing students to turn their creative ideas into reality quickly and at a relatively low cost.
The digital printing facility will be used by students studying Design and Fashion Retailing courses at the University.
Professor Chris Carr of the School of Materials said: "These digital printing facilities will allow our students to fully exploit their design creativity and be trained to the highest commercial standards.
"We are extremely grateful to the Cotton Industry War Memorial Trust for providing the funding for such a high-quality facility, and for their continued support of the University and its students."
Speaking about his recent appointment at the University of Manchester, Nigel Cabourn said: "I am really looking forward to it. I have always had a fantastic interest in fabrics, which has developed over the years.
"Working with young people is something that I really enjoy. I have been employing young people for the last 25 years and that's very important to me.
I'm a real believer in putting something back into society.
"When the University asked me to come on board and get involved, it was a great honour. I'm very excited about the project. I believe it will be a good marriage and there will be huge benefits for myself and the students.
"The University has some great facilities and I believe we can achieve something quite special together."
After the opening ceremony, several students received awards from the Cotton Industry War Memorial Trust.
Six MSc students received The Jack Brown Cotton Industry War Memorial Trust Scholarship, while another studying for an MPhil received the Samuel Crompton Industry War Memorial Trust Fellowship.
The annual awards are aimed at helping high-quality students fulfil their potential and make a significant impact on the textile industry.
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