£7 million funding for University's AMRC to keep the UK as a world leader in aerospace industry

  • Funding announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today (Thursday 19 June 2014)
  • At the moment, the UK is not capable of producing the largest titanium castings for aircraft and engine cases that are required by the aerospace industry
  • Government and and industry funding will be used for research into the manufacture of these aerospace titanium castings

Rolls Royce engine

The University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has secured £7 million funding for research into large titanium castings for the next generation of aircraft.

The research will be led by Castings Technology International (CTI), a world-leading provider of technology, expertise and services to the cast metals sector.

Currently, the UK is not capable of producing the largest titanium castings for aircraft and engine cases that are required by the aerospace industry.

The new funding, from government and industry through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), will be used for research into the manufacture of these aerospace titanium castings.

The investment will fund a new facility at CTI that will allow companies within the aerospace industry to develop the capability to melt and manufacture these precision castings in the UK instead of this work being carried out abroad. With up to 27,000 new planes needed between now and 2030, this represents a huge potential growth area for the UK.

The new CTI facility will be able to cast large structural parts with a poured weight of up to 1000kg. CTI's current facility can make parts of 90kg poured weight.

By acting as a technology demonstrator for UK manufacturers, this investment will ensure that the UK’s aerospace supply chain can develop new capabilities to produce large thin-walled titanium castings, and win a significant part of the growing global market for these components.

This funding is a key part of the aerospace industrial strategy, jointly developed by industry and Government through the Aerospace Growth Partnership, which provides a single, national focus for technology research and facilities in the sector.

The government and industry are providing £2bn of funding over seven years to support the strategy.

The funding was announced by business secretary Vince Cable at the BIS Manufacturing Summit in Merseyside, part of the International Festival of Business.

Mr Cable said: "Our aerospace sector is a global success story and is key to driving the current economic recovery. This project, which we are funding through our aerospace industrial strategy, will support the development of efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft, while keeping highly-skilled manufacturing jobs here in Britain."

Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, founder and executive dean of the University of Sheffield AMRC, welcomed the announcement: "The 1000kg titanium casting facility will be unique in Europe and will enable UK companies to explore the opportunities and benefits of making large, near-net shape complex castings."

CTI joined AMRC in August 2013, adding new breadth and depth to the University's collaborative R&D capabilities, and allowing the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing and Nuclear AMRC to offer state-of-the-art castings technologies to their industrial partners.

The UK has the number one aerospace industry in Europe, and is second only to the United States globally. Aerospace contributes £24 billion to the economy every year, through 3,000 companies and supporting 230,000 jobs across the country. Three quarters of the UK industry's products are exported.

The ATI, opened by business minister Michael Fallon in April, will oversee the £2 billion joint government and industry investment provided through the industrial strategy. Improvements enabled by the ATI are expected to lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 100 million tonnes each year from next generation aircraft – equivalent to taking 20 million cars off the road around the world.

Additional information

About AMRC CTI Castings Technology International (CTI) is the world's leading provider of technology, expertise and services to the cast metals sector and global supply chain.

CTI is part of the University of Sheffield AMRC, a world-leading cluster of industry-focused manufacturing R&D centres and supporting facilities. AMRC also includes the award-winning Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, providing advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors; Nuclear AMRC, helping UK manufacturers win work in civil nuclear and other innovative energy sectors; AMRC Training Centre, providing advanced apprenticeship training and higher-level skills for high-value manufacturing; and the National Metals Technology Centre (Namtec), offering specialist consultancy to the UK manufacturing supply chain.

AMRC is based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, on former colliery land between Sheffield and Rotherham, South Yorkshire. It directly employs over 300 people.

University of Sheffield

With almost 25,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline and Siemens, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046