Is Sheffield revolutionising the UK industry?

McLaren open chassis manufacturing facility
McLaren to open chassis manufacturing facility in Sheffield

Are we witnessing the beginning of an industrial revolution in the UK? Sheffield certainly is. The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has been leading the way in conducting collaborative research to develop new manufacturing techniques and technologies.

 

The AMRC was co-founded by the University of Sheffield and Boeing in 2001 as a centre for collaborative research, working with businesses on one-off projects or collaborating with their member organisations on the long-term. Membership fees help determine and finance the research programmes. For the past 16 years, they have been collaborating with hundreds of companies and institutions of all sizes operating mainly within the aerospace, medical, automotive and construction sectors.

 

Adrian Allen, Executive Director of the AMRC, said that he and Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean, “set out to create a radical, unique collaborative research environment; one that would quickly grow and become a catalyst for attracting a pool of skilled talent, technology and inward investment. This would be the critical success factor in achieving the vision we had, to become the world’s foremost innovation district.”

 

In 2011, the AMRC became part of the first of a new generation of government-backed Technology Innovation Centres, which is now a thriving alliance of seven leading manufacturing R&D centres backed by Innovate UK.

Their core research areas are machining, integrated manufacturing, composite materials, structural testing as well as design & prototyping.

 

2017 is set to be particularly fruitful for the city of Sheffield which is setting an example by attracting one of the world's most famous car brands and one of the leading names in aerospace over the year so far:

26 January: AMRC composite centre wins £360,000 funding to keep the UK at forefront of automotive innovation.

 

9th February: shortly after launching a pioneering partnership with the University of Sheffield AMRC, McLaren Automotive reveals plans for a new chassis manufacturing facility in the Sheffield City Region. McLaren Automotive’s centre will host in excess of 200 hi-tech automotive jobs and will be situated in the vicinity of the AMRC’s hi-tech Factory 2050 development; where a new Lightweighting Centre will also be built to house the AMRC’s existing Composite Centre.

 

24th February: Boeing announces plan to build its first European factory worth £20 million in the area of Sheffield. The 24,750 sq feet production facility will be built alongside AMRC on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham with a view to develop new manufacturing techniques and processes for the production of parts and systems used on their aeroplane wings.

 

Today, 6th March, Theresa May, Prime Minister said in the Star magazine: "I want to see the prosperity that areas like London and the South East have enjoyed replicated across the country. That means developing and supporting key sectors to inspire an economic revival in places like South Yorkshire, and all our great regions and cities."

 

Mrs May has highlighted a series of hi-tech investment announcements in the Sheffield area, saying the city can "help power a new engineering revolution for the UK". She also announced a new £13 million investment package for the growing Sheffield tech firm The Floow. 

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