AMRC visit strengthens Malaysian Links

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has built its links with Malaysia with a visit from the country’s minister of education.

Dr Maszlee Malik’s visit was designed to strengthen the relationship between Malaysia and the UK in the fields of engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The minister, accompanied by a delegation that included the vice chancellor of the University Technology Malaysia and a board member of Education Malaysia Global Services, was introduced to researchers at the centre by Professor Keith Ridgway, founder and executive dean of the AMRC.

The delegation visited Factory of the Future, Nuclear AMRC and Factory 2050 where translational research into advanced machining, manufacturing, materials and lightweighting processes is being carried out for the biggest names in aerospace, energy, automotive and defence.

They also visited the AMRC Training Centre, which is helping more than 300 small and medium sized manufacturing companies in the region to develop new engineering talent. 

Dr Malik said: “Education is key for us and I think a model like the University of Sheffield AMRC could sit very well in the Malaysian economy.

“We also want to look at the possibility of collaborating with the University of Sheffield on joint degree programmes where our students study both in Malaysia and here. We really want to build on our relationship with the university, that is something we want to progress.”

Professor Ridgway added: “A good relationship with Malaysia is something the Sheffield City region will pick up on and could, in future, be a conduit to inward investment just like we have seen with Boeing opening their first European manufacturing facility here and McLaren establishing its Composites Technology Centre in Sheffield.

“Most heartening of all, it was great to see the interest the Minister and his team showed in the training of apprentices and the vital role their skills and talent are playing in growing an economy where inward investors want technology and skills.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 31st January 2019

BODYCOTE TO OPEN AMP FACILITY

Listed heat treatment and thermal processing services specialist Bodycote is to open a new facility in Rotherham.

The site will be located at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and has been designed to support the aerospace and power generation markets in the UK and Europe.

Set to become fully operational later this year, it will offer a number of heat treatment processes.

Simon Blantern, vice president of sales Europe for Bodycote’s aerospace, defence and energy heat treatment division, said: “This investment demonstrates Bodycote’s continuing commitment to align resources to serve both the aerospace and power generation markets.”

Earlier this year, Bodycote reported that sales for the year to 31 December 2017 were £690m compared to £601m during the previous 12 months. Pre-tax profits also increased from £91.9m to £117m.

Source: Matthew Ord, Insider Media, 17th July 2018

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.”

Ground Broken on Sheffield Boeing Manufacturing Facility

Work has officially begun on aerospace giant Boeing’s new manufacturing facility at Sheffield Business Park which will create new ties between the company’s facilities in the UK and US.

The 66,700 sq ft (6,200 sq m) building is due to open in late 2018 and will manufacture actuation system components for Boeing’s next-generation 737, 737 MAX and 777 aeroplanes.

The Sheffield facility is part of Boeing’s broader plan to grow in-house production of selective technologies and the Boeing Sheffield team will manufacture key actuation systems with improved productivity, enhanced production efficiency and reduced costs while maintaining quality.

Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland, said: “Seven months after announcing our intention to build a factory in South Yorkshire, we are proud to celebrate the ground-breaking of Boeing Sheffield and welcome more Boeing employees to our company.

“Boeing Sheffield is further evidence of Boeing’s long-term commitment to the prosperity of this country.

“We are grateful to the communities of Sheffield and Rotherham, as well as Sheffield City Council and the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, for supporting Boeing Sheffield and our growing presence in the region.”

Boeing Fabrication’s Portland facility in Gresham, Oregon in the US, will also produce actuators and assemble actuation systems for these models as a new work statement.

Boeing Sheffield will produce as many as 8,000 components per month that will be shipped to Boeing Portland, to be assembled into actuation systems.

The Sheffield facility will initially employ 30 people on opening, growing to more than 50 employees, including 19 manufacturing apprentices, who have already been recruited and are being trained at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Training Centre in Rotherham.

Boeing also plans to initiate a major research and development program with the AMRC, to develop new manufacturing techniques that can be applied to the Boeing Sheffield facility and then leveraged across Boeing at large.

Kimberly Smith, vice president and general manager of Boeing Fabrication, said: “We are delighted to welcome Boeing Sheffield, our newest member of the Boeing Fabrication family.

“The partnership between our sites in Sheffield and Portland is a win-win for aerospace innovation and our global growth strategy, as we develop a new source of expertise and talent in the UK and connect it with a high-performing, growing Boeing site in the U.S.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are proud and delighted to have helped bring Boeing to the Sheffield City Region.

“This region has unsurpassed brilliance in research and advanced manufacturing capabilities, and it is a tribute to the partnership working with the University of Sheffield, Boeing, and the local authorities that this investment, and the exciting future it represents, has come about.”

Source: Joshua Hammond, Insider Business, 13th September 2017