Tuesday, March 8, 2016

News: Further growth at AMRC

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A period of managed growth is being predicted at The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, by its new CEO.

Based 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.

Former Airbus head of research for the UK, Colin Sirett has recently started in post as part of a new corporate structure that sees executive dean Prof Keith Ridgway, CBE, commercial director Adrian Allen, OBE, and projects director, John Baragwanath, OBE, become executive directors of the AMRC Group.

In addition to being head of research for Airbus in the UK, Colin Sirett is chairman of the National Composites Centre steering board and deputy chairman of the Aerospace Technology Institute Technology Advisory Group. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and sits on the Learned Society Board. Prior to becoming director of research for Airbus, he was head of the landing gear product delivery team for the A350XWB Programme.

Airbus joined the AMRC as a Tier One member having previously worked together on the Integrated Wing Project, a previous R&D project lead by Airbus. They are both partners in a project to develop a new corrosion-resistant stainless steel alloy for the possible use in future landing gear components.

The ground-breaking centre set out plans to more than double its turnover to in excess of £80m over the next five years.

Colin Sirett, CEO at the AMRC, said: "The AMRC can not only drive technological development, it can also translate it into production technology that can go straight onto the shop floor at companies around the world – and that, I believe, makes the AMRC quite unique.

"The organisation has grown significantly and there is plenty of scope for further growth.

"It would be all too easy to say things are going fine, let's keep things as they are and just tick over – but that's not in the nature of anyone at the AMRC.

"Everyone wants to push hard and that means there will be further growth, but it cannot be unconstrained, it has to be managed. That's my key role; making sure we face up to the challenges of growth and turn the organisation into a strong business for the future and a business that can keep on growing."

Sirett's connections with the AMRC stretch back to the organisation's early days, not long after he joined landing gear specialist Messier Dowty – now Messier-Bugatti-Dowty.

The company was bidding to win business in North America and seeking to supply Boeing’s commercial aircraft operations for the first time, after establishing a foothold with its defence arm.

Boeing had just selected a brand new Titanium alloy for commercial landing gear, which could be used to make components with larger cross sections, but was so new that no cutting data was available.

AMRC's work with Messier-Dowty cut the time needed to machine major landing gear components from the new alloy by 80% and led to the company securing the contract to make landing gear for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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