Growing ambitions

The AMRC has been committed to creating centres of excellence in the advanced manufacturing sector since it was founded in 2001. It continues to grow, with recent developments in the North West, the Midlands and Wales. Explore its evolution and how it will shape a generation of engineers.

Factory 2020

Since the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) was founded in 2001, it has been committed to creating centres of excellence which make a difference to the advanced manufacturing sector - not only regionally, but nationally and internationally. Its staff work with more than 125 companies - from global giants to SMEs - to boost productivity, develop new products and processes, increase competitiveness and train the next generation of engineers.

The AMRC’s work has given the region a tremendous boost - driving productivity and attracting multinational companies like Boeing and McLaren to open factories around the border of Sheffield and Rotherham. This success has led to opportunities to work with partners to develop and launch new facilities and projects in other areas of the UK, supporting the government’s Industrial Strategy while fulfilling the University’s strategic mission as a civic institution, driving growth and vibrancy for the city, the region, the UK, and the globe.

AMRC Trainee

A recent Centre for Cities report, Parks and Innovation, described the AMRC as a ‘jewel in the crown’ and a ‘nationally significant innovation asset.’ Not only did it find that the AMRC’s research and development has benefited the locality, but also other parts of the country. The report gives examples including the AMRC’s work with Rolls-Royce that de-risked a £100m investment in the North East - securing high value added jobs - and ongoing work with Airbus in North Wales to secure the future of wing production and 6,000 highly skilled jobs in the region.

Here, we look at the AMRC and its sister centre, the Nuclear AMRC, our important work with industrial partners and our future opportunities for growth. 


University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)

The University of Sheffield AMRC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a national alliance of seven leading manufacturing research centres backed by Innovate UK.

The AMRC has specialist expertise in machining, casting, welding, additive manufacturing, composites, designing for manufacturing, testing and training. It has a global reputation for helping companies overcome manufacturing problems and has become a known model for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry.

AMRC trainee

The University of Sheffield AMRC facilities in Sheffield City Region include:

  • The AMRC Factory of the Future is focused on machining research and is home to an array of state-of-the-art machining centres and other manufacturing equipment. The workshop is designed to allow partner companies to develop and trial new technologies and processes before introducing them to their own factories.
  • The AMRC Factory 2050 is where digital meets manufacturing, the UK’s first state-of-the-art factory entirely dedicated to conducting collaborative research into the reconfigurable digitally assisted assembly, component manufacturing and machining technologies powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and is capable of rapidly switching production between different high-value components and one-off parts.
  • The AMRC Composite Centre is a cutting edge facility for advanced composite manufacturing research and development; including research into automated production, composite machining, advanced curing, novel materials and processes, and dry fibre technologies.
  • The AMRC Design and Prototyping Centre, which includes the Medical AMRC, uses its in-house high-precision machining processes, additive manufacturing, fabrication, advanced analytical tools and clean room facilities to develop everything from conceptual designs to next generation prototypes.
  • The AMRC Advanced Structural Testing Centre has the capacity and capability to help any company or research group prove its technologies and achieve certification for products and systems. It is the only structural testing facility within a UK university to hold ‘in-house methods’ accreditation from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.
  • The AMRC Castings facilities provide advanced casting expertise and manufacturing capabilities; including computer process modelling, design for casting manufacture, rapid low-volume manufacture of precision castings and casting process and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors.
  • The AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre provides a dedicated conference and meeting space to help the University of Sheffield AMRC share the innovative tools and technologies developed in its main workshops to the UK manufacturing base.
  • The AMRC Training Centre was established to train the next generation of world leading engineers and works with employers to identify and provide the skills required that manufacturing companies need to compete globally. The centre offers advanced apprenticeship, degree apprenticeship and higher level skills training for those aged 16 and above, as well as a range of courses for continuing professional development for more than 250 UK companies.

Beyond the Sheffield City Region, the University of Sheffield AMRC is working with other universities, regional local enterprise boards and major industrial partners to share and apply its model of translational research and development in areas where there is an established or  growing manufacturing industry with prominent R&D needs. 

University of Sheffield AMRC North West

Working with Lancashire LEP, Lancashire County Council, the University of Lancaster and University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), AMRC North West was established for AMRC engineers to work closely with the aerospace and automotive supply chains in the north west and create access to the advanced technologies that will drive improvements in productivity, performance and quality for manufacturers. This includes supporting the adoption of industrial digitalisation among the region’s SMEs and strategic partners such as BAE Systems.

AMRC employee

University of Sheffield AMRC Cymru

The University of Sheffield AMRC Cymru / Wales is a collaboration between Deeside Enterprise Zone Advisory Board, Swansea University, and Coleg Cambria. Managed by the AMRC, the facility located in Broughton will widen access to the AMRC’s research expertise and capabilities in robotics and automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, Augmented and virtual reality, digital twins, simulation and modelling, additive manufacture, connected smart factories and supply chains. Its research will assist Welsh industry to develop new capabilities in advanced manufacturing for the aerospace, nuclear, automotive, energy and food and drink sectors.

Airbus, which is already a Tier 1 member of the University of Sheffield AMRC, will be the anchor tenant for the new facility, to build on our ongoing research relationship to ensure the company remains at the forefront of aerospace development, supporting skills in the area and upskilling its manufacturing supply chain partners. The organisation has been able to hit the ground running setting up early joint projects to help secure the future of wing development in the region – a matter of strategic economic concern for both the Welsh and UK governments. One of the recent research projects has helped Airbus develop and deploy smart autonomous robots to move tooling around the huge facility: freeing operators to focus on higher value added tasks.

AMRC Cymru will deepen and expand research capabilities and innovation assets in the aerospace sector, the largest of its kind in Europe, supporting 240,000 jobs both directly and indirectly and worth £32 billion last year to the UK economy.

AMRC castings

The University of Sheffield Nuclear AMRC

female wearing augmented reality head piece
Digital engineering using augmented-tech in the Rotherham workshop

Based alongside the AMRC on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is dedicated to helping UK manufacturers win work across the nuclear sector. The Nuclear AMRC is also part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, specialising in large-scale quality-critical engineering challenges.

Established in 2009 as a government-backed collaboration with The University of Manchester, the Nuclear AMRC plays a national role in the UK’s nuclear industry. As well as helping UK manufacturers win work at new build projects such as Hinkley Point, the Nuclear AMRC supports companies involved in decommissioning the UK’s legacy sites and plays a key role in developing new forms of low-carbon power generation.

The Nuclear AMRC was part of the consortium for early development of the Rolls-Royce SMR, a new compact power station backed by the UK government and international investors, and is now helping develop the manufacturing techniques for new SMR factories across the UK.

The centre is also working closely with UKAEA, the world-leading organisation developing fusion power in the UK, to help engineer what could be the world’s first commercial fusion power plant– STEP, to be built at the West Burton site around 30 miles from Sheffield. In its first major development outside its base in Oxfordshire, UKAEA has already opened a new testing facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park to better tap into the engineering expertise of the Sheffield City Region.

The Nuclear AMRC has around 40 industrial members and works with hundreds of other companies across the UK through its manufacturing innovation and supply chain development programmes.

With world-leading capabilities in large-scale machining, welding, additive manufacturing, robotics and inspection, the Nuclear AMRC’s engineers and researchers work with companies to develop innovative techniques and optimised processes for the most demanding industries. The centre’s national network of industrial advisors have helped hundreds of smaller businesses to develop their capabilities for the sector through the Fit For Nuclear programme.

The Nuclear AMRC has also opened new regional centres to develop new technical capabilities and better serve the national nuclear industry: 

  • Nuclear AMRC Midlands is a new production-scale research facility, opening in Summer 2023 to work with manufacturers in the most economically important industries across the Midlands region. Based at Infinity Park in Derby, Nuclear AMRC Midlands focuses on new manufacturing technologies and is developing new capabilities in digital engineering, additive manufacturing, control systems and instrumentation. As well as helping companies win work in nuclear, the technologies being developed at the facility will help tackle the challenges that manufacturers experience in automotive, rail, aerospace, renewable energy and many other high-value sectors. 
  • The Nuclear AMRC Birchwood facility is a dedicated modular manufacturing centre hosted by member company Jacobs, at one of the UK’s most important clusters of nuclear engineering expertise. The facility is home to a growing selection of specialised machining, joining and assembly equipment to develop and prove modular manufacturing techniques for nuclear and other high-value industries. The centre also acts as a regional hub for the nuclear supply chain in North West England and North Wales.
Midlands building
Midlands building

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.