Friday, October 18, 2013

News: Tokyo follows Rotherham's lead

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Representatives from the University of Sheffield have been on a recent visit to Japan where they heard about The University of Tokyo's Consortium for Manufacturing Innovation, a new centre explicitly modelled on The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing in Rotherham.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia.

Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, led a delegation on manufacturing and engineering to Japan on behalf of the AMRC with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC.

Last year, Boeing with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries signed an MOU with the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) at the University of Tokyo to commence joint research and work to create a consortium to develop industrial-scale manufacturing technology and processes. The cooperation builds on the research capabilities of IIS, the expertise of the industrial partners in aerospace manufacturing and the desire by all to enhance the skills and capabilities of Japanese industry. It is modelled on the AMRC.

Writing a blog in Japan, Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield, said: "Without doubt, our ground-breaking work on advanced manufacturing and in particular in renewable and civil nuclear energy is highly respected here in Japan. Work which began with industrial participation in our world-leading Faculty of Engineering and grew to fill the derelict former Orgreave [colliery site] with the industrial promise of a new manufacturing future, is seen as central to this country's future, too.

"Time and again we were told by colleagues at The University of Tokyo that the work begun by Professor Keith Ridgway and the wonderful team at the AMRC is vital for a safer, more effective future - particularly in relation to the production of the civil nuclear energy which is increasingly seen as critical to keep the lights on both in the UK and Japan. We heard about The University of Tokyo's Consortium for Manufacturing Innovation, explicitly modelled on the AMRC, which the Tokyo team visited earlier this year."

The AMRC is a multimillion pound partnership between industry and academia that has become a model for collaborative research centres worldwide and now boasts 75 partners, including Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

The centre attracts paid industry members at different tiers, keen to make use of the world-class machines and facilities at the AMRC. The model also enables the centre to secure European and Government funding for a diverse range of cutting edge technologies, from shaped metal deposition in the aerospace industry to the use of bio-composites in the automotive industry.

The model has been replicated in Denmark, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and India.

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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