University's AMRC takes the fourth industrial revolution to Asia

  • Partnership between the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and one of the most dynamic manufacturing regions in South Korea praised by UK 
  • Universities Minister Jo Johnson said plans for the AMRC Asia’s Industry 4.0 Centre “represent the type of innovative growth the UK government has committed itself to in its new Industrial Strategy"

The signing of the agreement

A partnership between the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and one of the most dynamic manufacturing regions in South Korea was praised by the UK government today (13 December 2017) for its role in opening up new markets for British know-how and industry.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said plans for the AMRC Asia’s Industry 4.0 Centre “represent the type of innovative growth the UK government has committed itself to in its new Industrial Strategy – building on mutual strengths for the creation of new industries and infrastructure that will boost productivity, competitive advantage and economic growth”.

Speaking following the signing of an agreement in Gyeongsan City by the AMRC’s Executive Director, Professor Keith Ridgway, the Governor of Gyeongbuk province, Kim, Kwan Yong and the Mayor of Gyeongsan City, Choi, Young Jo, the UK Minister said this was an “excellent example of the science and innovation links” between the two countries and marked the “next important step forward” in making the new centre a reality.

Professor Ridgway said he was delighted with the UK government’s support which showed it understood the power that digital technologies can have in transforming productivity and economic performance.

“Our ambition for the AMRC and the Sheffield City Region is to be a globally recognised centre of excellence for manufacturing research and innovation,” Professor Ridgway said.

“But, to be a world leader in technology, you need access to world leading intellect. That’s why we are working with our colleagues in Korea in a collaborative venture that will bring benefits to both our countries, and both our regions: Gyeongsan City region and the Sheffield City Region.”

The focus of the new centre will be on what is known as Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Our region was the home of the first manufacturing revolution and we are now leading the way in the fourth,” Professor Ridgway added.

“This new revolution requires the smart use of sensors to collect data, and clever analytics to decipher that data in a way that drives improvements in the performance of machines and people. It means more automation, freeing workers from repetitive and often arduous tasks to do more productive, value-added work. It means greater connectivity: connecting supply chains and increasing quality and delivery performance.”

While these technologies will radically change business models, Professor Ridgway said the fundamentals of manufacturing will never change: “it is still about making things, and making things well”.

Addressing the signing ceremony audience, Professor Ridgway added: “We recognise in Gyeongsan City a shared and very strong commitment to manufacturing and making things well. We also recognise a shared dedication to establishing a region of manufacturing expertise based on innovation and a commitment to be world-leading. And that is why we are so pleased to be planning this centre here. We are completely aligned in our thinking and can and will work closely together.”

Mr Johnson said: “The AMRC is globally recognised as a leading centre for research into new manufacturing processes and materials development. The Gyeongsan Province is recognised for being home to some of the largest and most influential companies in their respective markets, including the steel, shipbuilding, energy and automotive industries, as well as the equally important cluster of innovative supply chain companies supporting these industries.

“I am confident that this new centre, once established, will be an important creative nexus, not only facilitating new research and innovation breakthroughs, but new trade and investment links and opportunities between our two countries.”

Additional information

About the University of Sheffield’s AMRC
The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is a world-class centre for research into advanced manufacturing technologies used in the aerospace, automotive, medical and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

The AMRC has a global reputation for helping companies overcome manufacturing problems and is a model for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry worldwide.

Combining state of the art technologies with the AMRC’s expertise in design and prototyping, machining, casting, welding, additive manufacturing, composites and structural testing, has created a manufacturing resource far beyond anything previously available in the UK.

The AMRC Factory 2050 is 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 AMRC is a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a consortium of leading manufacturing and process research centres, backed by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 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.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it 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 six 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, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 1046