University of Sheffield's AMRC to build Factory 2050

World's most flexible factory will drive innovation in high-value manufacturing

Advanced Manufacturing Park

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing has secured funding for a new £43 million state-of-the-art research factory, to meet the future needs of aerospace and other high-value manufacturing industries.

The AMRC Factory 2050 will be the UK’s first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research, capable of rapidly switching production between different high-value components and one-off parts.

The creation of the new facility is supported by a £10 million grant from the Research Partnership Investment Fund, managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Leading manufacturers including Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Spirit AeroSystems are also committed to supporting the project.

Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the University of Sheffield AMRC, said: "This will be the most advanced factory in the world. It will give us a home for the research and demonstration work associated with building the next generation of aircraft and energy technologies.

"The aim is to be able to manufacture any component as a one-off, and instantaneously switch between components. This will be a totally reconfigurable factory, one of the goals of the advanced manufacturing research strategy."

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, said: “We are delighted that HEFCE is supporting the AMRC Factory 2050, and deeply proud of the vision and talent of our engineers who have a global reputation for advanced manufacturing research which works directly with industry in ways which transform business, create jobs and strengthen our economy. This new facility brings together government, business and the University to drive the innovation that is so important to the UK’s future economy and assures our place at the forefront of global high value manufacturing.”

The AMRC Factory 2050 will combine technologies including advanced robotics, flexible automation, unmanned workspace, off-line programming in virtual environments linked to plug-and-play robotics, 3D printing from flexible automated systems, man-machine interfaces, and new programming and training tools. Around 50 researchers and engineers will work in the new facility.

The building will have an area of around 4,500 sqm, and will be built to BREEAM 'Excellent' environmental standards. It will be constructed largely from glass, to showcase the advanced manufacturing technologies being developed within. The location is yet to be decided.

Around 50 researchers and engineers will work in the new facility.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “The UK’s world-class universities are at the forefront of our economic recovery. It’s vital we do everything we can to encourage collaboration with the private sector and boost funding for research. These excellent projects will not only deliver new knowledge and applications for industry, but will accelerate growth and foster innovation between the research base and business, keeping the UK ahead in the global race.

“Our £300 million investment has secured over £855 million from business and charities - a total investment of £1.15 billion. This is an extraordinary result, far exceeding the required private to public funding ratio of two to one.”

Additional information

About the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing
The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing is a world-class centre for 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 AMRC with Boeing identifies, researches and resolves advanced manufacturing problems, with a focus on developing new technologies and processes for machining high-performance metal alloys used in aerospace and other industries. The AMRC Composite Centre was launched in 2008, and moved into a dedicated extension to the AMRC Factory of the Future in 2012.

Researchers work with individual companies on specific projects, and collaborate on generic projects for the benefit of all members. Over 70 companies have signed up as members of the AMRC with Boeing.

The AMRC with Boeing is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a consortium of seven manufacturing and process research centres backed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

The AMRC is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
For more information, see www.amrc.co.uk

Media contact
Tim Chapman, AMRC communications manager
tel: 07872 419671, email: t.chapman@amrc.co.uk

Engineering in Sheffield

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield - the 2011 Times Higher Education’s University of the Year - is one of the biggest and best engineering faculties in the UK. Its seven departments include over 4,000 of the brightest students and 900 staff, and have research-related income worth more than £50M per annum from government, industry and charity sources. Its research income recently overtook the University of Cambridge, confirming its status as one of the best institutions in the world to study engineering. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed that two thirds of the research carried out was either Internationally Excellent or Internationally Leading.

The Faculty’s expertise is extensive – its academic departments and two interdisciplinary programme areas cover all the engineering disciplines. They are leaders in their fields and outstanding contributors to the development of new knowledge, with world-leading academics linking their research to the teaching of the engineers of tomorrow.

The Faculty has a long tradition of working with industry including Rolls-Royce, Network Rail and Siemens. Its industrial successes are exemplified by the award-winning Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the new £25 million Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC).

The Faculty of Engineering is committed to ensuring students studying at Sheffield continue to benefit from world-class labs and teaching space through the provision of the University's new Engineering Graduate School. This brand new building, which will become the centre of the faculty´s postgraduate research and postgraduate teaching activities, will form the first stage in a 15 year plan to improve and extend the existing estate in a bid to provide students with the best possible facilities while improving their student experience.

To find out more, visit: Engineering in Sheffield

Contact

For further information please contact:
Amy Stone
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046
a.f.stone@sheffield.ac.uk