Thursday, May 18, 2017

News: Polypipe become the 100th member of the AMRC

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The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing aims to double turnover in the next five years and has just signed up its 100th member - Doncaster-based company, Polypipe.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) 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.

The centre attracts paid industry members at different tiers, keen to make use of the world-class machines and facilities at the AMRC. The model also enables the centre to secure European and Government funding for a diverse range of cutting edge technologies, from shaped metal deposition in the aerospace industry to the use of bio-composites in the automotive industry.

Uncertainty over the economy and science and research budgets following the Brexit vote had led some centres in the UK's research network to become very cautious. The AMRC's investment in state-of-the-art facilities mean that it is in increasing demand - with developments coming to fruition at home, in the North West and Wales – and abroad, in Korea and the US.

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With a focus on digital manufacturing and "Industry 4.0," future benefits for members include helping companies to develop their capabilities by taking an agnostic approach to new technologies, assessing their capabilities, finding the right solution and de-risking it. Activities could span everything from simulating factories and investigating the technologies they might use to assisting with their physical development.

Polypipe said that its membership of the AMRC will allow it to continue to develop autonomous manufacturing methods that will support the company's expansion into new markets and sectors. The company was founded in Doncaster in 1980 has grown to employ over 3.000 staff globally. It enjoys a market-leading reputation for manufacturing a wide range of plumbing, drainage and ventilation systems for residential, commercial and civil infrastructure and construction.

The partnership between Polypipe and the AMRC dates back three years, when the company employed its first cohort of apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre. It is now expanding to include research into factory and off site build of large components for the construction industry.

Cameron McLellan, managing director at Polypipe (pictured, left), said: "The AMRC has a reputation for being a centre of excellence for engineering skill and apprenticeship training. The Training Centre was the best choice for us to train the next generation of our engineers, allowing us to invest not only in the young people of the local region, but the continued success of our Doncaster manufacturing base where 1000 members of our staff are employed.

"Becoming a member of the AMRC is a natural extension of the partnership that has been built between us, as Polypipe has grown and expanded into new markets and sectors, so has our partnership with the AMRC.

"The region boasts a concentration of skills in manufacturing and our combined skills in design and innovation complement each other perfectly."
The development on the site of the former Sheffield airport of the AMRC's Factory 2050 - the UK's first research facility entirely dedicated to collaborative research into reconfigurable digital assembly and flexible component manufacturing - was a big draw for the company.

McLellan said working with the team based at Factory 2050, the AMRC's Integrated Manufacturing Group, will allow Polypipe to expand its support for the construction industry through its network of industrial partnerships.

He added: "Their expertise in automation, augmented reality and collaborative robotics will provide opportunities for us to explore the horizontal integration of our production processes and how we can satisfy future demand for high-customisation of products; all whilst retaining the high-repeatability of manufacturing processes we currently achieve."

Polypipe is the fifteenth new member for 2017.

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the AMRC (pictured, right), said: "It is fantastic that our one hundredth member is a local company. The aim of the AMRC has always been to help the regeneration of this region so it is particularly pleasing to see a company such as Polypipe working with us to develop new manufacturing techniques and train the workforce of tomorrow."

AMRC website
Polypipe website

Images: AMRC


1 comments:

Cllr. Nigel Simpson. Brinsworth, Catcliffe and Waverley,  May 18, 2017 at 11:41 AM  

More good news for Brinsworth, Catcliffe and our Waverley..

Hope we can get Wood lane opened again to help workers get to work more efficiently.

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