Tuesday, April 11, 2017

News: Factory 2050 opened by HRH Duke of York

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HRH The Duke of York was back in the Sheffield city region this week to open the University of Sheffield's Factory 2050 at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

Growing 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 revolutionary, glass-walled "reconfigurable factory" is the institution's first building on the Sheffield Business Park and is dedicated to digital assembly and flexible component manufacturing.

The centre became fully operational in 2016 and is home to the AMRC's Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG), which has installed cutting edge manufacturing and assembly technologies, advanced robotics, flexible automation, next generation man-machine interfaces and new programming and training tools that drive its research.

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As part of his visit, The Duke of York was given a tour of the factory by Ben Morgan, Head of the IMG. Mr Morgan demonstrated the work being done by the AMRC to enable robots to accurately machine holes in composite aircraft components - a project which has matured into a production system and is on track to save BAE Systems millions of pounds in capital and operational costs.

The Duke of York also saw how robots are being used for high-accuracy, flexible machining applications, and also had the opportunity to experience the latest cutting-edge mixed reality technologies being used to improve assembly, construction and manufacturing processes.
After the tour, The Duke of York unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening. The Royal Family are long-time supporters of the work of the AMRC. The Duke of York also opened the AMRC Rolls-Royce Factory of the Future in 2008 and the AMRC Training Centre in 2014.

During his visit, HRH The Duke of York said: "The AMRC is a very important part of the UK's industrial landscape. It has developed over the last 15-20 years from a gleam in the eye and is now at the forefront of research in a whole range of areas.

"I would like to congratulate everyone who has done such a lot to build what is a world class establishment doing some fantastic research. I've watched the AMRC grow over the years - I've even opened one or two of its buildings - so it's a great pleasure to be officially opening Factory 2050."

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Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the AMRC, said: "Factory 2050 is an important part in the future development of the AMRC which is hugely significant for both the Sheffield City Region and the UK.

"It will keep us at the forefront of manufacturing technology and is a beacon for the Region - hopefully attracting young people to careers in manufacturing.

"It is an absolute honour to welcome HRH The Duke of York to officially open this exceptional facility."

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.

Key to the development of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), the aim of the AMRC Campus has been to draw manufacturing firms to the region - Rolls-Royce, McLaren and Boeing are high profile testaments to that.

AMRC website

Images: AMRC


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