Friday, February 24, 2017

News: Boeing becomes latest big name to land in Sheffield city region

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Building on its strong links with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), US aerospace giant, Boeing, has announced that it will invest £20m in a new manufacturing facility in the Sheffield city region (SCR).

With its aerospace business based in Seattle, Boeing was a co-founder of the AMRC, which, from its base on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, has grown to become an internationally renowned, world-class centre for advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value sectors.

The facility, to be named Boeing Sheffield, will enable Boeing to bring the manufacture of key high-tech actuation components and systems used in Boeing's Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX and 777 aircraft in-house, enhancing production efficiency and reducing costs.

Trailing edge actuation systems are responsible for extending and retracting the wing's flaps during different phases of flight. The flaps add lift to enable take-off and landing at lower speeds and provide drag to help slow the aircraft.

The new facility, the result of a Boeing investment of more than £20m, will be Boeing's first manufacturing facility in Europe, supporting global growth and competitiveness for the world's largest aerospace company and enabling access to UK talent and capability.

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A specific site has not been revealed for the 25,000 sq ft centre as planning permission is yet to be secured, other than that it will be alongside The AMRC in the Sheffield-Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID). Likely locations include the expanding AMP or the next phase of development at the Sheffield Business Park (SBP) over the Parkway.

In 2014 the institution signed a deal to secure 50 acres of land at Sheffield Business Park (SBP), 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.

The impressive Factory 2050 was the first AMRC building to open and the new campus is expected to attract more leading manufacturing companies to locate the the AMID - McLaren being the latest high profile name to be announced, following Rolls-Royce on to the AMP in Rotherham. Rolls-Royce supplies Trent engines for Boeing.

Boeing Sheffield will employ approximately 30 people when it opens as part of BCA's Fabrication operations and will work closely with Boeing Portland.
Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing U.K. and Ireland, said: "The UK provides Boeing with the talent and infrastructure we need to grow and maintain a high level of productivity and quality to meet our significant order book.

"We are proud to expand our relationship with the UK still further with Boeing Sheffield. Our decision to start manufacturing high-value components in the UK is a step-change in our engagement and a further example of Boeing’s commitment to grow here, supporting the UK's long-term prosperity."

AMRC researchers were instrumental in developing new manufacturing techniques for the landing gear for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. In 2010, The institution became the first UK-based recipient of Boeing Supplier of the Year since the company-wide awards began in 2001.

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive Dean of the AMRC said: "It has always been our ambition that one day Boeing would open a manufacturing facility in Sheffield. This announcement is the culmination of a successful relationship that has developed since the AMRC with Boeing was founded 16 years ago."

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At the turn of the century, Professor Ridgway and local businessman Adrian Allen began to work with the aerospace giant to apply Sheffield's traditional expertise to new materials, focusing on machining research. The result was the establishment of the AMRC as a centre for collaborative research.

Adrian Allen, executive director of the AMRC, said: "Keith and I set out to create a radical, unique collaborative research environment; one that would quickly grow and become a catalyst for attracting a pool of skilled talent, technology and inward investment. This would be the critical success factor in achieving the vision we had, to become the world's foremost innovation district."

Boeing expects to recruit UK employees for the site as early as 2018. A major Research & Development programme with the AMRC is also planned to develop new manufacturing techniques that can be applied in the new Boeing Sheffield facility. The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority will support this through the provision of grant funding, subject to agreeing the formal terms and conditions of that funding.

Boeing UK website
AMRC website

Images: Boeing


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