Tuesday, July 21, 2015

News: AMRC proves its worth to UK economy

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The High Value Manufacturing Catapult - which drives the growth and success of advanced manufacturing in the UK - has announced its 2014/15 performance and first findings of a study into its economic impact.

In 2010 the UK invested £200m in a network of Catapult Centres designed to close the gap between universities and industry, creating infrastructures which would rapidly translate research into productivity.

The most advanced of these centres across the UK focus on High-Value Manufacturing and include the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing and Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), both of which are on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

In 2010 Hermaann Hauser highlighted the AMRC's business model as a leading example of how research centres can make a long-term impact to the economy in his first report for the government. Four years later his second report set out recommendations to ministers on the future scope, shape and ambition of this Catapult network.

The HVM Catapult works with manufacturing companies of all sizes to stimulate and support the commercial application of new technologies through the development of innovative manufacturing processes.

Dick Elsy, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, welcomed the findings of this recent economic impact study, which shows that every £1 of government core funding invested in the HVM Catapult, has generated an impressive £15 of net benefits to the UK.

After three and a half years of operations, the HVM Catapult has received £107m of core funding from Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency. This levered £290m of Collaborative R&D income, which in turn generated £1.6bn net benefits to the UK. The report forecasts a further £6bn impact from HVM Catapult work to 2020, subject to continued core funding support.

Dick Elsy said: "Our biggest vote of confidence comes from the manufacturing companies of all sizes, ranging from small start-ups to large multinationals, who were among the Catapult's 1,515 industry customers last year. Collectively, they contributed £75m towards using our facilities and our services, which made up almost half of our total income. They tell us patently that the Catapult offer is what they need.

"High Value Manufacturing companies already operate at double the productivity of the UK's average. Working with the Catapult, manufacturing companies can further improve their productivity through the development of new manufacturing processes and techniques."

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “Prioritising the UK’s research infrastructure by investing in the UK’s Catapult centres is critical to making the country more productive.

“The University of Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has already seen firms sell components to China and elsewhere, but these firms want to make bigger, faster, lighter and more effective components for the whole world to buy.

"Long-term investment in these innovation hubs will allow the UK to do more while driving global industry forward."

Revolutionary projects being completed at the University of Sheffield have already achieved impressive success. Sheffield-based cutting tool specialists Technicut and tool-holding specialist Nikken Kosakusho worked with the AMRC to prove that a new tooling system could achieve record-breaking rates of metal removal.

As a result of this collaborative research, Technicut has won new orders and increased its workforce, with the patented system now in production and use around the world. Nikken is also investing in a new European R&D Centre on the R-evolution development at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, next to the AMRC.

HVM Catapult website

Images: Nuclear AMRC

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