Thursday, September 18, 2014

News: Interserve land Factory 2050 contract

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Interserve Construction has been appointed to build Factory 2050, the state of the art, £43m development that is set to keep the Sheffield city region at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing.

Work is already underway on the site of the former Sheffield City Airport where the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing recently signed a deal to secure 50 acres of land at Sheffield Business Park, paving the way for the expansion of the AMRC and building on its success on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), just over the border in Rotherham.

The first development at the new location, sited directly opposite the existing developments on the other side of the Parkway, Factory 2050 will be the UK's first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research, capable of rapidly switching production between different high-value components and one-off parts.

Designed by Bond Bryan, the circular building, behind the Sheffield Business Centre and on the airport runway, will combine a range of technologies, including advanced robotics, flexible automation, unmanned workspace, off-line printing in virtual environments linked to plug-and-play robotics, 3D printing from flexible automated systems, man-machine interfaces, and new programming and training tools.
John Gittins, Yorkshire divisional director of Interserve, said: "This isn't just another project for Interserve, it is the opportunity to work on a truly world class project that will help to ensure the region remains at the forefront of the advanced manufacturing sector. The building design is unique and the completed project will provide a superb environment for both researchers and engineers."

Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, executive dean of the AMRC, said: "The start on site for Factory 2050 represented an important milestone in the continuing development of cutting edge technology in the region.

"Our ambition is for Factory 2050 to be the most advanced factory in the world.

"Over the last ten years, our initial vision of creating a centre where engineering research is translated into real practical applications for world-leading industries has been hugely successful. Factory 2050 is a vital next step in ensuring we can maximise the opportunities and benefits to the Sheffield City Region and secure our place as an international centre for excellence in advanced manufacturing, and it will be very exciting to see the development take shape over the coming months."

The government confirmed £10m funding from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) last year with the remainder of the cost coming from industry. Manufacturers including Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Spirit AeroSystems are committed to supporting the project.

An independent survey of the economic benefits has shown that, during construction, the building will directly contribute £6.4m to the local economy and create 162 jobs – and once operational, it will directly contribute £2m annually and employ 75 people. Expected to be completed in 2015 it is anticipated that the site will then be developed out for other AMRC research centre activities, fostering further economic growth and attracted more manufacturing firms and inward investment.

Professor Ridgway was called upon by the Government Office for Science to lead on a study into what the factory of the future will look like as part of the Foresight report into the Future of Manufacturing. Next March, the AMRC's Knowledge Transfer Centre on the AMP will host a conference focusing on the technologies and systems which will feature in the Factory 2050.

AMRC website
Interserve website

Images: Bond Bryan / AMRC

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