Close this search box.

Spiroflow’s “Art in Manufacturing” – A Collaboration Success Story

A woman photographing one of the conveyor systems 

In 2019, Spiroflow completed a period of artistic collaboration called “Art in Manufacturing” as part of the firm’s involvement with Blackburn’s annual National Festival of Making – a free-to-attend event celebrating the UK making industry. Take a look at how this collaboration turned out and what it represents for the industry as a whole.

Belt Conveyor Manufacturers in “Art in Manufacturing”

Collaborating with artists and industries, manufacturers like Spiroflow have seamlessly integrated flexible screw conveyor solutions into the realm of art, showcasing the harmonious blend of technology and creativity.

The National Festival of Making continues to draw crowds of up to 40,000 people. The event provides attendees with a unique opportunity to engage with a diverse array of makers, ranging from leatherworkers, engineers, ceramicists, chefs, and technologists to fashion designers.

One of the festival’s highlights is the Art in Manufacturing commissioning program. Co-commissioned by the National Festival of Making and Super Slow Way (an arts commissioning program in Pennine Lancashire), this program offers artists the chance to create new works in collaboration with major industries

Over the years, it has produced ambitious exhibitions, installations, performances, and sculptures that have received international press coverage and engaged thousands of visitors.

The 2019 Collaboration – The Impact of Automation on the Human-Machine Relationship

For the 2019 season, five artists were paired with Lancashire manufacturers specializing in textiles, paper, and engineering with international links. Spiroflow, one of the industrial conveyor systems manufacturers, is an active STEM ambassador who had previously exhibited at the National Festival of Making in 2018. It was a natural fit for one of the artists.

Spiroflow collaborated with artist Liz Wilson, who embarked on a three-month residency at the firm’s Clitheroe headquarters. Liz’s focus was on exploring the transition from industrial to post-industrial eras and the impact of automation on the human-machine relationship.

Spiroflow flexible screw conveyor motor

The Final Artwork – “Optical Mechanical”

“I am really interested in the relationship between machines and humans,” said Liz, “specifically looking at how the machines start playing as parts of an orchestra, with the human as a conductor.” The final result, entitled the Optical Mechanical, was a digital piece of work, spotlighting the interaction between humans and, in this case, a Spiroflow belt conveyor system. 

Inspired by how every member of staff and every piece of the conveyor belt system had to work in harmony to create a workflow, Liz used televisions. Each represented a different part of the machine, thereby simulating the components of an orchestra. 

To represent a conveyor’s flowing structure, each television was mounted on its own plinth, with each being connected to form one interlinked continuous stand. The desired effect was achieved with the televisions and sounds coming on at different times to show the conveyor, alongside humans, working together in unison.

Conveyor Belt Systems and Spiroflow’s Perspective

Commenting on the collaboration, Spiroflow’s marketing manager, Eleanor Spensley, said: “This has certainly been an experience and one which has helped open our eyes to the beauty of what we do here at Spiroflow. Everyone here has such an important role in making our company successful, and this needs to be celebrated. Art finds the beauty in anything, and there is plenty of beauty in manufacturing!”

“Working with Liz was a pleasure – she fitted in extremely well and took time to get to know everyone to understand their role in our business.” The outcome of Liz’s artist residency was successfully premiered alongside others at this year’s festival, which took place 15-16 June 2019.

Installation of TVs

The Final Piece – Innovating Manufacturing by Blending Art and Technology

Spiroflow’s journey through the world of manufacturing and conveyor belt solutions has been marked by innovation and artistic collaboration. The spotlight on a conveyor and the premiere of Liz’s art at the Festival of Making in 2019 showcased the harmony between humans and machines, a concept central to Spiroflow’s ethos. 

As an active STEM ambassador, Spiroflow’s involvement in the Festival of Making further solidified its commitment to celebrating the beauty of manufacturing and inspiring future generations. To delve deeper into these stories and explore the possibilities of conveyor technologies, we invite you to connect with us and discover more about our work.