Thursday, April 30, 2015

News: AMRC shaping the Sir Henry Royce Materials Institute

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The University of Sheffield and The AMRC with Boeing brought together industry and academia again recently to help shape the scope of the nationally-focused Sir Henry Royce Institute for Materials Research and Innovation.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, 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, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

The institutions are set to share in the £235m funding package for the Sir Henry Royce Institute that was announced by the Government in December. It will be led by the University of Manchester with a substantial wing in Sheffield and support from other universities. It will accelerate the translation of research into materials for advanced manufacturing and provide growth to the entire UK manufacturing base.

Much of the AMRC's work in the Sir Henry Royce Institute is expected to focus on developments in powder metallurgy, aimed at improving the quality and capabilities of the technology, so that it can be more widely used in manufacturing.

The outline plans recently submitted for the AMRC 2 campus on the Sheffield Business Park includes a £30m National Material Institute. The development is set to be to co-located adjacent to the AMRC's Factory 2050 that is already under construction as many shared research interests will be developed as a consequence.

Outlining the overall strategic aims of the Royce Institute at the event held on the AMP, Professor Colin Bailey, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Manchester (pictured), said: "Getting materials to market can often take more than twenty years. We know that we can half that with the UK's expertise in materials research. However, what was missing was a facility to design and test new materials and accelerate these getting to market. This is what the Royce Institute will do."

The event also heard from GKN Aerospace, who already works with experts at the AMRC and Rolls-Royce, one of the AMRC's tier one members who has opened a £110m manufacturing facility on the AMP.

Neil Glover, head of materials technology for aero gas turbines at Rolls-Royce, said: "The global aerospace industry is reliant on the technology and materials we need being there in 2020 and beyond. We can't do this in isolation, which is why we work with leading universities such as those involved in the Royce Institute to develop the products and processes we need."

Also at the event, Diana Buckley, economic strategy manager for Sheffield City Council outlined the vision for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District in Sheffield and Rotherham. She said: "Translational research is one of the most transformative tools universities have. When universities get this right – as demonstrated by the AMRC – you find the best companies in the world will come to you to solve their problems. Through translation research we can attract global research partners and investors, increase UK competitiveness and design new materials and products that will kick-start whole new markets.

"Our Innovation District will create places and spaces that enable innovation ecosystems to develop and enhance our global reputation for advanced manufacturing across the world."

AMRC website

Images: University of Sheffield

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