Monday, March 18, 2019

News: AMRC continues to go global

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The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has formalised a partnership with RMIT University in Australia.

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.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) formalised at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, the two universities will jointly undertake industry-driven research that is relevant to a range of problems in advanced manufacturing.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said: "Our excellence in aerospace and automotive engineering, and our focus on applied research across engineering materials and advanced manufacturing means that our innovation centres are helping industry to address real-world problems.

"Through ongoing collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry, we can increase competitiveness, develop new products and build a pipeline of talent and skills."

The two universities are seen as a blue-print for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry that has transformed industrial and economic performance by making step changes in productivity, increasing competitiveness, developing new products and processes, and training new talent and skills.

With the University of Sheffield housing the most advanced example of a research and innovation facility for manufacturing in the UK, RMIT has also expressed an interest in working with the AMRC to establish its own "factory of the future" to showcase its engineering capabilities to industry, schools and the local community.

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The original £15m state-of the-art Rolls-Royce Factory of the Future (pictured) opened in Rotherham in 2008 and was extended in 2012. The main open-plan workshop is focused on machining research, housing an array of state-of-the-art machining centres and other manufacturing equipment. It is designed to allow partner companies to develop and trial new technologies and processes before introducing them to their own factories.

The universities also intend to jointly assist SMEs across the UK and in Australia in forwarding their research ambitions, with new advanced manufacturing techniques.

Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the AMRC, said: "As a global research facility it is vital for the AMRC to build relations with like-minded engineering and manufacturing institutions around the world, and Australia is the sort of can-do, entrepreneurial place where we can help to make difference."

Closer to home, The AMRC is operating a new £20m research and innovation facility backed by the Welsh Government in a bid to replicate the regeneration, inward investment and productivity boost seen in Rotherham and Sheffield.

Dave Cooper, managing director of Tarvin Precision in Flintshire, said: "If there can be a mirror effect for AMRC in Wales to what has happened in Sheffield, and the growth to the area and industry, I think this is a huge moment for North East Wales as well as other areas. I see a ripple effect, almost a shock wave emanating from AMRC in Wales. In time I expect to see current industry expanding but also new players and technologies emerging in this area."

Back in the Sheffield city region, the university is pressing ahead with its next investment - establishing a national Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) on its AMRC campus on the site of the former Sheffield airport.

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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