New Research Cell open at Sheffield AMRC

Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Factory 2050 is set to open a new ‘reconfigurable factory’ research cell to help smaller businesses utilise its resources.

The factory designed to give smaller companies the opportunity to conduct research into machining and assembly technologies in a safe and cost-effective environment.

Factory 2050 is the AMRC’s latest development and was built for the Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) to conduct collaborative research with industrial and academic partners into reconfigurable robotic, digitally assisted assembly and part inspection technologies.

The research cell will be able to accommodate projects spanning the trialling of new robotic assembly techniques for mass customisation to small batch manufacturing techniques, small component assembly, and finish machining and polishing operations.

It is the result of a previous project conducted by IMG to produce a small scale, totally reconfigurable factory floor demonstrator, a project which is now being scaled-up for industrial use into a full-scale production cell with multiple tools, grippers and sensors.

The new research cell will be up and running towards the end of autumn in 2017 and IMG is encouraging any smaller manufacturing business who is interested working with them to get in contact.

Operations manager for IMG Chris Greaves said: “The cell will be able to be reconfigured to the specific requirements of an SME with a shorter lead time. This will allow easier, quicker and more affordable engagement for SMEs.

“Our aim is to create more effective engagement and greater open access for SMEs; businesses who may not have the resources to join the AMRC as a member, but still want to take advantage of our state of the art capabilities and world-class research to improve their processes and outputs.”

He added: “Projects don’t have to be long running or expensive to make big changes in short amounts of time. Even small projects requiring a short-lead time can be cost-effective and contribute to the improving productivity of a company.”

Head of IMG, Ben Morgan, said: “There is a common misconception that automation and robotics cause unemployment. What we are seeing in the market is that companies who are implementing automation are re-distributing jobs within their business and as productivity increases, so do profits and re-investment.

“More competitive manufacturing will mean more orders and ultimately more jobs for the region. It is imperative that the Sheffield City Region embraces automation in order that work is not lost to lower cost economies.”

ROTHERHAM MANUFACTURER WINS DEFENCE CONTRACT

A Rotherham-based manufacturing business has secured a contract to supply steel hulls to a defence giant.

Rotherham manufacturer wins defence contract

MTL Advanced is Europe’s largest contract manufacturer of armoured steel structures with projects ranging from piece part kits, turrets and blast floors to fully fabricated, painted and assembled hulls.

In the last three years, it has invested more than £8.5m in state-of-the-art laser cutting, robotic welding and machining technology.

Karl Stewart, director at MTL Advanced, said: “This contract demonstrates the continued growth of MTL Advanced and the confidence our customers have in the team to deliver projects of this type, on time, whilst meeting exacting quality requirements.

“This builds on the success of several recent multi-million pound contracts with NIMR Automotive, which were

delivered on time and within budget.”

 

Source: Joshua Hammond, Insider Media, 5th September 2017

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund tops the £10 million mark

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) is celebrating reaching another milestone with more than £10 million now invested across the Northern Powerhouse region.

Launched at the end of February 2017, NPIF supports regional entrepreneurship to create economic prosperity in the North of England. NPIF investments are provided through appointed fund managers which have already provided funding and support to over 90 businesses.

The business community has reacted positively to NPIF with corporate finance advisors, the Growth Hubs, banks, and accountants all referring clients to the funds. This is already making a real difference to small and medium businesses looking for funding options for the next step on their growth journey.

One of the latest investments to edge the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund towards this significant milestone was a £100,000 investment by NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, a product fund managed by Maven, which was secured by Manchester-based social media marketing agency, Engage Hub.

The company will be using the investment to expand their current team of specialists and provide additional working capital to meet their rapidly growing customer base which already includes, Living Ventures, the Chop Houses and Q-Hotels.

Huddersfield based software company Adventoris received a a £500,000 funding round which included investment from NPIF – Enterprise Ventures Equity Finance. The fund is managed by Enterprise Ventures, part of Mercia Technologies.

Photo Caption: Left to right – Ashwin Kumaraswamy, Enterprise Ventures, Keith Morgan, British Business Bank, James Clarkson, Adventoris, Mark Wilcockson, British Business Bank

The company, which has developed an innovative mobile app platform, Swiftcloud, will be using the investment to scale up its operations as it seeks to significantly expand its sales force.

Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse Minister, said: ”It’s fantastic to see that so soon after we launched the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund it’s already provided £10 million to support Northern businesses. The Fund is a great example of what can be achieved when the Government and businesses work together and is all part of our plan to boost the northern economy, creating more jobs and attracting investment in the region.”

Keith Morgan, CEO of British Business Bank, said: “The North of England has long been a key region for innovation and economic growth in the UK. The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is now providing the financial backing to tap the growth potential of businesses across the North, helping both the regional and the national economy.

“Passing this £10m funding milestone in such a short space of time since launch is a fantastic achievement for the fund, our fund managers, and our partners in the 10 participating Local Enterprise Partnerships.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund provides microfinance, debt and equity investments, ranging from £25,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead. The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is delivered by The British Business Bank.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, please visit www.npif.co.uk.

Editors Notes

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference Number 495929
Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 183363)

RECORD PERFORMANCE FOR POLYPIPE

Doncaster-based plastic pipes manufacturer Polypipe has increased revenue and profit in a ‘record performance’ for the business.

In its half year results for the six months to 30 June 2017, Polypipe’s revenue increased by 8.4 per cent to £242m from £223.3m in the same period in 2016. On a like for like basis the increase was 6.9 per cent.

Profit before tax at the company also increase by 5.3 per cent, to £31.5m, up from £29.9m in the first half of 2016.

Polypipe’s UK operations are fuelling the growth with revenue 6.8 per cent ahead and market outperformance.

There was continued success of strategic growth initiatives of legacy material substitution, carbon efficiency and water management.

The business’ UK Residential Systems segment was particularly strong with 9.2 per cent growth driven predominantly by new house builds.

In response to recent trade embargo between UAE and Qatar, the company has made the decision to temporarily cease manufacturing and reduce costs at its Middle East manufacturing plant which accounts for less than 1 per cent of group revenue.

David Hall, chief executive of Polypipe, said: “The group has delivered another record performance, building on the strong momentum from last year and demonstrating that our strategic focus on structural growth opportunities is delivering results.

“Although underlying fundamentals remain positive, the group has experienced varying conditions in its different markets and has also faced some challenges in the first half of the year.

“I am encouraged by the way the business has risen to these challenges which is further evidence of the depth and strength of management across the group.

“As a result of our growth initiatives, balanced exposure to our markets and overall performance, the board is confident that the group will continue to make progress in line with management expectations for the year.”

Source: Joshua Hammond, Insider Media, August 2017

Planning approved for world leading research centre

Planning permission for Sheffield Hallam University’s new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) has been granted by Sheffield City Council.

Building of the AWRC is set to start in early 2018 and it will become the centrepiece of Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park (OLP).

Delivered by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with Legacy Park Ltd, the AWRC is set to become the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world. The key facility is supported by UK Government, who has committed £14million of funding to the project.

Designed by HLM Architects, the Centre will have facilities such as; a 7.5m high indoor laboratory, 3rd generation pitch with cameras and tracking instruments, 3D biomechanical and gait analysis and scanning, a manufacturing workshop, MRI, CT, ultrasound, body composition measurement and physiological testing and a technology demonstration hub.

The primary aim of the AWRC is to create innovations that will ‘improve the health of the nation’, tackling key issues such as static levels of physical activity, rising obesity and mental health whilst also attracting new jobs and investment to the region.

Opening in spring 2019, it will feature indoor and outdoor facilities for 70 researchers to carry out world-leading research on health and physical activity in collaboration with the private sector. It will form a key part of the City Region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) – a 2,000 acre centre of excellence for innovation-led research and industrial collaboration.

The AWRC will undertake research focused upon taking services and products from concept to market, using the intellectual property, products and knowledge developed in the centre to generate both wealth and employment opportunities.

Sheffield Hallam’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Husbands, said: “Our vision to develop the most advanced research and development centre for health and physical activity in the world is coming to fruition.  What this means is that Sheffield Hallam will be leading work which has the potential to transform the nation’s well-being.

“The AWRC will revolutionise sport, health-care, physical activity and leisure. Working in collaboration with the private sector at the heart of the Olympic Legacy Park, our talented engineers and researchers will design new products and services from initial concept all the way through to market. This is a major step forward for the University, the city and the country.”

In 2015, Toshiba Medical – a Canon Group Company, and Westfield Health were announced as the first major, private sector partners of the AWRC and will provide cutting edge equipment and technology to assist with research. parkrun became the AWRC’s third major partner in 2016 and will work together with their two million registered runners to improve their health and wellbeing.

Professor Steve Haake, director of the AWRC, said: “This will cement Sheffield Hallam’s global reputation for putting the science into sport and physical activity, but the AWRC will also be an exceptional asset for Sheffield and the wider region in helping to attract new jobs and investment.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “This world leading development will be an inspiring example of what can be achieved in our region, creating jobs and boosting our local economy whilst playing an important role in tackling global problems through innovation and research. The Sheffield Hallam University AWRC at the Olympic Legacy Park will play a key role in the growth and development of the city region.”

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre will help to revolutionise sport research and innovation, not only in Sheffield but across the world.

“Creating those networks and opportunities was essential to our wider plans for the Olympic Legacy Park and will be a centre in which the city and country can be rightly proud.

“Sheffield’s world-class offer is attracting businesses, growth and city-wide investment and we are pleased that the plans can now be progressed.”

The Olympic Legacy Park will provide organisations with the opportunity to co-locate at the world-class centre of excellence and partner with Sheffield Hallam University to carry out collaborative research and development, sparking new innovations that link the health and wellbeing, sports and technology sectors.

Through the AWRC’s close links with the National Centre of Sports and Exercise Medicine, researchers will be able to work with the population of Sheffield and use local communities to explore and test the potential of new innovations and products developed at the OLP.

The Rt Hon Richard Caborn, project lead for the OLP, said “The Olympic Legacy Park is set to be an internationally recognised Innovation District for health and wellbeing research and learning, and the AWRC will play an integral role at the very heart of the site.

“Together with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, this unique facility will make a vital contribution towards sustaining the health of the nation.”

The AWRC was recently highlighted as a key contributor in the Sheffield City Region vision launch which forms a cornerstone for the future of health and wellbeing in the region.

Toshiba Medical UK’s managing director, Mark Hitchman, said: “Our partnership with the AWRC forms a critical part of our strategy to invest and partner in research projects that will have considerable benefits to NHS efforts and UK population at large.

“Our imaging equipment and research and development capability will play a crucial role in identifying and understanding the positive effect of exercise on health and disease prevention, as well as faster rehabilitation of many chronic conditions.”

Westfield Health’s commercial director, Dave Capper said: “As the major private sector partner, Westfield Health is delighted with the progress being made by the AWRC, a world leading research centre which will be core to a whole system approach to population health.

“This is timely news ahead of a delegation visit authorised by the mayor of Frisco in Texas later this month, where a team are coming to see some of the innovative work being done in terms of transferring learning from elite sport to the wider population.”

Tom Williams, chief operating officer at parkrun, said: “The AWRC plays a key role in supporting us with our mission to make the world a healthier and happier place, and it is great to be involved with them at this exciting time.

“We already have excellent insight into who participates in parkrun and why they do so. If we are to achieve genuine, worldwide impact, it is critical that we enhance our understanding of that participation and our partnership with the AWRC is a significant part of that.”

 

 

Inspiring new products and services: apply for business funding

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £25 million to work on innovative technologies, future products and services.

Innovate UK has up to £25 million to invest in emerging and enabling technologies that could support UK economic growth in the future.

Projects can be carried out in a range of areas including:

  • emerging technologies such as biofilms, energy harvesting, graphene and imaging
  • digital technologies
  • electronics sensors and photonics
  • robotics and autonomous systems
  • creative economy and design
  • space applications

The aim is to support technologies that have the potential to transform commercial markets or that could make a difference to UK economic growth across many different sectors.

Up to £15 million of the funding has been set aside for research and development projects. A further £10 million is for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 4 September 2017, and the deadline for applications is midday on 8 November 2017
  • research and development projects:
    • must involve at least one SME, working alone or in collaboration
    • must involve at least 2 partners working together if project costs are more than £100,000
    • can vary in size between £35,000 and £2 million and last between 3 months and 3 years
  • businesses can attract up to 70% of their total project costs
  • funding is available for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, which link a business with an academic or research organisation and a qualified graduate
  • briefing events take place across the UK during September

Source: www.gov.uk, 31st August 2017

UK government committed to maximising economic opportunity in North Sea

New Energy Minister Richard Harrington has told oil and gas leaders they have the ‘full support’ of the UK government.

New Energy Minister Richard Harrington has told oil and gas leaders they have the ‘full support’ of the UK government in maximising the economic opportunity in the North Sea during his first visit to the region in his new ministerial post.

The UK Energy Minister met and addressed oil and gas industry leaders at the Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) Forum and the Oil and Gas Joint Council as well as attending meetings on the Industrial Strategy’s role for supporting the sector and the prospect of Remote Islands Wind.

The minister also listened to proposals from industry for an ambitious and deliverable oil and gas sector deal under the Industrial Strategy.

UK Energy Minister Richard Harrington said:

These are challenging but exciting times with new opportunities in North Sea oil and gas.

We are working with the sector to build on the £2.3 billion worth of UK government support through our modern Industrial Strategy.

I want to make it clear that the industry has full support of the UK government, and that we are continuing to create the right environment though a stable and supportive package to allow business, enterprise and jobs to flourish.

Over the past 50 years the oil and gas industry has extracted more than 43 billion barrels and current production accounts for over 50% of UK gas demand and around 65% of UK oil demand.

With 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil yet to be recovered by 2035, an estimated £140 billion additional gross revenue from production, and an additional £150 billion turnover from exports could be achieved if the industry is able to make the most of maximising recovery and accessing the global market for oil and gas goods and services.

In June, the first delivery of oil was delivered from one of the largest new drilling operations in the North Sea, following a £2 billion investment in the Kraken oilfield by oil and gas development and production company EnQuest. This was made possible by the UK government’s support for the sector.

Last month the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) opened its 30th Offshore Licensing Round, making awards to companies that promise to maximise economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources. The number of applications shows continued support and belief in the UK oil industry.

This morning Total announced that it has started-up production from the Edradour and Glenlivet fields off Shetland. Delivered ahead of schedule and under budget these projects will bring additional production capacity of up to 56,000 barrels of oil and is further evidence of confidence in the industry.

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Lord Duncan said:

In my role as UK Government Minister for Scotland I will continue to fight to protect Scotland’s world class oil and gas industry. We’ve supported Aberdeen through £125 million investment in the City and Region Deal, which was key to setting up the innovative Oil and Gas Technology centre I saw today.

The oil and gas industry can rest assured that the UK government will continue to do everything we can to support this critical sector of the Scottish and British economy.

Andy Samuel, chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority, said:

Today we held the MER UK Forum in Aberdeen and I very much value the continued close working with the oil and gas industry and strong support from the government. Together, this work is actively helping to maximise economic recovery and position the UK as an attractive basin to invest in, with significant remaining potential.

Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of Oil and Gas UK, said:

I welcome the minister’s assurances that the industry has the full support of the UK government. The oil and gas industry has a critical role to play, helping meet the UK’s energy needs, generating revenue for the economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of UK jobs and other significant UK industries.

We look forward to working with the new energy minister to ensure that government policy like the Industrial Strategy and the UK Budget supports our own industry efforts to make the basin a competitive investment proposition.

While in Aberdeen the energy minister also met oil and gas apprentices and ex industry training instructors at the ASET International Oil and Gas Training Academy, a wholly-owned subsidiary company of North East Scotland College, and the Dynamic Advanced Response Training (DART) Simulator at Robert Gordon University.

Atholl Menzies, Chief Executive at ASET, said:

The ASET International Oil and Gas Training Academy plays a critical role in supporting the UK oil and gas sector through the skills development of personnel. We provide highly specialised oil and gas technical based vocational training, from new entrant to senior professional level and we train with market-leading technology and equipment including a live and integrated, replicated offshore production platform.

All of this will be brought together under the modern Industrial Strategy, and to ensure energy is as affordable as possible for consumers and businesses later this year the government will be publishing a road map to help businesses reduce their energy costs.

Source: www.gov.uk,  30 August 2017

 

​Additive Manufacturing Workshop

25th and 26th October 2017 | AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre

Join the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in this two day introduction to Additive Manufacturing.

The workshops run from 10am – 4pm on the 25th and 26th October and both days must be attended.

Topics covered in the workshop will include:
• Product Design for Additive Manufacturing
• Metallurgy of Additive Manufacturing Components
• Quality & Standards
• Current Applications
• Practical Demonstrations
• IP, Skills & Training
• Funding Schemes

The workshop is aimed at small and medium sized enterprises who are currently using or contemplating using Additive Manufacturing and would like to learn more about its applications and gain hands on experience.

This event is run by the Sheffield Innovation Programme, giving businesses in the Sheffield city region access to university facilities and expert academics.

For more information and to register please click HERE

AMRC Forum: Opportunities and challenges in the automotive sector

28th September 2017 | AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre

The automotive sector faces significant technological changes in the coming years such as:

  • Lightweighting
  • The increase in electric vehicles and the reduction in the demand for internal combustion engines
  • The development of connected autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars)
  • Digital manufacturing

These developments will have significant implications for manufacturing technologies and the supply chain.

The AMRC Forum will host industry experts as well as small and large companies who have embraced new technology to exploit opportunities.

Speakers from:

  • Ricardo
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Tinsley Bridge
  • SW Machines

For more information and to register please click HERE

Gripple chosen to help make Yorkshire the best place to do business

The Made in Yorkshire peer group chose the innovative Sheffield-based manufacturer, Gripple to hold its latest breakfast event for top executive members from the city’s manufacturing and engineering companies.

Forty guests first enjoyed a breakfast made only in Sheffield and after toured Gripple’s newly extended, high-tech Sheffield factory, nicknamed an ‘Industrial Catherdral’, complete with a fish tank and green wall. Then they heard why the company believes make it is a consistent success story and a Made in Yorkshire award winner for its export success two years ago.

Chrissie Gale, a Made in Yorkshire director, said: “We chose Gripple for this event to help our local MD and CEO membership grow their network and hear and see directly about an exceptional company owned by the employees, with a fun outlook on how to run a business – and why it’s working!”

Gripple is a totally employee-owned manufacturer of 50 million iconic wire fasteners a year, the vast majority of which sold to 80 countries. With its HQ also in Sheffield and bases in Chicago, Strasbourg and New Delhi and 500 employees, Gripple turned over £55 million last year, with 70 per cent of its supply chain in South Yorkshire.

Gripple’s special projects manager, Gordon Macrae, said: “It was great to attract so many local decision-makers who are passionate about Yorkshire to see what we believe is an exemplar business. I hope that some of the ideas and things they’ve seen and heard about today they will take back to their own businesses, and make Yorkshire the best place to do business.”

Photo caption: Made in Yorkshire visitors view the green wall and fish tank in Gripple’s newly extended Sheffield factory.