Tuesday, June 30, 2015

News: First Factory 2050 projects announced

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Plans are being drawn up for the first projects at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing's revolutionary Factory 2050.

Currently under construction on the old airport runway at Sheffield Business Park, the £43m development is set to keep the Sheffield city region at the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing. 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.

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

In 2014 the institution 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 AMP, where it already operates from 300,000 sq ft of accommodation within seven separate buildings. A masterplan has been submitted which highlights that the development could lead to the creation of 1,494 – 1,881 jobs directly related to the proposal.

Factory 2050 is the first development on the new site and Interserve Construction began work at the end of last year. The roof and cladding is almost complete, mechanical and electrical services are being installed and the entrance roadway is being laid. Building work is on schedule to complete early in November.

Factory 2050 has been designed to help advanced manufacturers respond to increasing demand for high levels of flexibility and will be home to the AMRC's Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG).

The facilities will be at the heart of a £1.6m research project that will develop advanced, flexible manufacturing systems which will be used by construction and engineering group Laing O'Rourke in a new factory manufacturing modular systems for new homes and other buildings.

Factory 2050 will also be home to a project to explore future digital factory technologies for one of the world's largest independent producers of commercial aeroplane structures, Spirit AeroSystems. Securing £6.4m, the ambitious project aims to have a fully functional automated production line demonstrator that reduces assembly cost and increases repeatable quality of major structural aerospace components.

Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, executive dean at the AMRC, said: "We want Factory 2050 to be the most advanced factory in the world and part of our long-term development of high value manufacturing - an area where this region has an international lead.

"The development will ensure that the UK's advanced manufacturing supply chain can tap into the expertise it needs to make the most of increasing requirements to make rapid changes to product design, as a result of ever-changing customer demands."

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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