A new Government backed centre for advanced manufacturing is to be opened in Limerick later today.

The new 30,000 square foot Digital Manufacturing Ireland (DMI) facility is designed to support the next wave of manufacturing in Ireland.

It will act as a national centre of excellence for Irish based multinationals and small businesses, to try out, learn about and connect with other partners involved in new digital based manufacturing technologies.

"The manufacturing sector in Ireland, from medtech and biopharma to food and drink and engineering, is a key contributor to Ireland's economic resilience and ongoing economic success," said Lionel Alexander, Chairperson of the Digital Manufacturing Ireland board.

"After the unprecedented global disruption of the last 24-months, now more than ever, it is critical for our manufacturing sector to deploy the new technologies and tools to serve the drive for innovation and ultimately business differentiation."

The facility consists of a fully functional physical and digital production line.

"We are committed to supporting all manufacturers regardless of their size or level of technological maturity in their transformation journey, right across their manufacturing value chain, through collaborations and partnerships," said Mr Alexander.

"We will provide a platform to test and create new technologies and use-cases in an industry environment, but also provide the necessary training and capabilities among the Irish workforce to effectively compete by being digital-first."

The plant is located in the IDA Ireland National Technology Park in the city and the project is supported by the Government through the IDA.

"Engaging with industry, we recognise the challenges facing companies as they balance the need to drive competitiveness with the disruption and opportunities around new technologies," said IDA Interim chief executive, Mary Buckley.

"DMI will ensure that Irish based manufacturers have access to the infrastructure, technology and skills to help them solve real issues and to kickstart and continue to drive their digital transformation journeys."

The plant is being opened by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney.

"Over 270,000 are employed across MNCs and SMEs in manufacturing in Ireland and are developing and producing world leading products for global supply," he said.

"As the world's supply chains continue to be disrupted, competitiveness challenges prevail and international competition for investment intensifies, it has never been more important for Ireland to invest in the future of its core manufacturing capability."

Medtech firm Edwards Lifesciences is a strategic partner to the project.