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£24m research facility opens to transform UK manufacturing
With manufacturing on the cusp of a technological revolution, a flagship research facility has opened its doors at the University of Nottingham to help future-proof UK industry in a competitive global market.
With a total research portfolio of £80m, the nationally-significant development consolidates the University’s manufacturing science and technology capabilities, expertise and industrial support.
The Advanced Manufacturing Building (AMB) is home to the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IfAM), which has 96,000 sq ft of world-class research and teaching facilities for design, manufacturing, assembly and metrology, measurement, testing and modelling.
Scientific research at the Institute underpins many high impact innovations in key sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, food, biomedical, energy generation, chemical products and digital manufacturing.
Professor Svetan Ratchev, Director of IfAM, described the AMB as one of the largest manufacturing, engineering, teaching and research facilities in the UK, housing some 400 staff, students and researchers.
“Skills challenges remain a key issue for many manufacturing businesses in the UK, due to factors such as the fast pace of technology development, an ageing workforce and a shortage of graduates with relevant multidisciplinary skills and experience. The Institute helping to shape the manufacturing research agenda nationally and internationally and is supplying the technology and specialist skills to support key industrial sectors and encourage the growth of emerging industries.”
IfAM provides a unique environment for the University to work with manufacturers of all sizes to deliver world-class research and transfer the knowledge created into high-impact industrial technologies. The University collaborates with many of the world’s leading companies, including Airbus, BAE Systems, BMW, Bentley Motors, Cummins, GSK, HP Enterprise, IBM, Jaguar Land Rover, Laing O’Rourke, Nestle, PepsiCo, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.
IfAM is helping many of these international brands to cost-effectively manufacture high value products by providing next-generation technologies for improving productivity by utilising the latest research in 3D printing, artificial intelligence, collaborative robotics, data analytics, material science and manufacturing systems and processes.
Juergen Maier, Chief Executive of Siemens UK, added: “This new facility heralds the start of something truly special for Nottingham, and will help place the region and indeed the country at the cutting edge of digital manufacturing. Why is this important? It’s important because our future lies in driving a new technological revolution focusing on AI, automation, robotics and 3d printing as well as many other new exciting technologies. It will ensure graduates are at the cutting edge and ready to take up the high productivity, high wage jobs of the future.”
IfAM is supporting local growth by helping business of all sizes to be at the forefront of technological and business innovation. Many SMEs, for example, experience difficulties in navigating new technologies such as digital manufacturing.
The AMB, which sits at the entrance to the University’s Jubilee Campus, forms part of a decade-long £100m investment plan by the University into manufacturing research and training, comprising funding from the University itself, research councils, industry, government and the EU.