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

METLASE WINS BOEING CONTRACT

Mechanical engineering specialist MetLase has won a contract with aerospace giant Boeing for work at its new Sheffield facility.

The company, a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart, has been announced as the tooling and fixture partner for the facility. The deal is initially set to increase the workforce by 15 per cent.

MetLase, which employs 25 people at its 12,500 sq ft state-of the-art facility at the AMP Technology Centre, has begun supplying the first fixtures as part of a three-year contract.

The contract with Boeing is the latest in a line of new business wins that include strategic partnerships with blue chip companies in sectors such as automotive, aerospace and energy.

Steve Dunn, managing director at MetLase, said: “The long-term agreement with Boeing marks a new chapter for our business, as it will enable us to become an integral part of its future plans to develop intelligent and connected fixturing and tooling solutions.

“Our unique approach and technology will see us produce optimised fixtures that are lighter than traditional alternatives, can be produced in weeks as opposed to months and, importantly, through our design iteration service, can be continually improved to deliver the best possible performance.”

“This contract is an ideal way to celebrate our third birthday and is also excellent news for the region, with two other local companies – Maher Ltd and Nikken – also being awarded contracts.”

Pictured (L-R): Sam Simpson (principal engineer at MetLase), Steve Dunn (managing director at MetLase), James Needham (senior operations manager at Boeing Sheffield) and Richard Gould (sales manager at MetLase)

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 1 October 2018

£126m Funding for Yorkshire Catapult Centres

Two ‘catapult centres’ in South Yorkshire are set to benefit from an additional £126m in government funding to help develop new technology.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham and Sheffield will receive £82m while £45m will go to the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced £780m of additional funding for ‘catapult centres’ across the UK, which are designed to fuel innovation across the country as part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.

The centres have so far helped create hundreds of new products, services and inventions, including a portable pollution sensor that parents can attach to a child’s buggy, cellular therapies to fight cancer and improve recovery of stroke victims, LED treatment for blindness, and more-efficient wings for aeroplanes.

Hammond said: “It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future. Today’s £780m investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 13th August 2018

TOYOTA Motorsport Partnership for AMRC

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) hs entered into a new partnership with TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG).

TMG, whose parent company is Toyota Motor Corporation, has built its reputation in motorsport via the World Rally Championship, Formula 1 and the FIA World Endurance Championship. It won the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours with its TS050 HYBRID race car.

Alongside its motorsport activities, the company also carries out on a range of automotive projects. It has now joined the AMRC as a Tier 2 partner with a focus on research and development of lightweight materials.

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean of the AMRC, said: “I’m extremely pleased the AMRC is working closely with TMG, which is part of the world’s number one endurance racing team – winners of the recent Le Mans 24 Hours event. This is further proof that the Sheffield City Region’s Global Innovation Corridor is the come-to-place for manufacturers who want to take on the world’s best and win.

“The AMRC now has a global reputation for its expertise not just in the development of new composites and processes but also within the increasingly important arena of lightweighting where we lead the way.

“It will be fascinating to work closely with a company involved in high-level motorsport. Like us, they want to make things faster, leaner and cleaner.”

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 25th July 2018

University of Sheffield signs up as Northern Powerhouse Partner

The University of Sheffield has become the latest organisation to sign up as a Northern Powerhouse partner.

The university, which has 29,000 students and 7,000 staff, joins a group of northern organisations that have pledged to work with the government to help the north achieve its full potential and attract new jobs and investment.

The agreement was signed on a visit by Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry to the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) yesterday (12 February 2018).

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “If the north of England is to create the strong economy which will be needed to create wealth and opportunities, it needs to work in new ways to be globally competitive.

“As the cradle of the first industrial revolution, the north of England sent new products to the world. Now we need the infrastructure, research, innovation and skills which will enable us to lead in the era of Industry 4.0. This means new approaches to bringing together world-class research and teaching with global

companies and their supply chains, creating new products and reshoring production. This is an area where the University of Sheffield is leading the way, working with Boeing, McLaren, Siemens and Rolls-Royce to make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.”

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry added: “I was delighted to visit my alma mater, the University of Sheffield, including its state-of-the-art AMRC Training Centre which is helping to train the next generation of engineers and manufacturers in the Northern Powerhouse.

“The University of Sheffield is at the forefront of higher education in the UK and joins a number of British universities commanding high positions in global rankings – they contribute enormously to the international standing of the Northern Powerhouse and its reputation as a world-leader in research and academic excellence.”

The AMRC carries out world-leading research into advanced machining, manufacturing and materials and has more than 100 industrial partners, including global giants such as Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Airbus.

Source: Stephen Farrell, Insider Media, 13 February 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

​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

ROLLS-ROYCE AND UNIPART VENTURE JOINS AMRC

A joint venture business between Rolls-Royce and Unipart Group has become the latest member of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield.

MetLase, which was founded in 2015 as a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart Group, has joined the AMRC following a recent collaboration in which it developed a set of 14 fixtures for the assembly of complex parts.

Since its formation in 2015, MetLase has doubled in size and is growing rapidly.

The business is able to come up with engineering solutions to complex issues by using high precision laser-cutting technology, combined with patented assembly and joining systems.

MetLase will work as a partner on the Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) at the AMRC’s Factory 2050 facility, to develop “smart enabled tooling”.

James Illingworth, IMG theme lead in automated assembly, said: “Developing ‘smart’ fixturing, or fixturing that is intelligent by using sensors to collect data, provides valuable benefits for in-process control and monitoring, and improvements in part quality.

“The data collected can be used in real-time for process adjustment or later in the manufacturing process for review.”

Steve Dunn, managing director of MetLase, said: “We are pleased to join the AMRC, which has a global reputation as a centre of excellence for manufacturing research and innovative engineering.

“As partners on the Integrated Manufacturing Group, we can combine our expertise to develop our fixtures to interact with autonomous technologies such as those involved with robotic assembly.”

Source: Joshua Hammond, Insider Media, 1st August 2017