The AMRC has launched its cutting edge Factory 2050 advanced manufacturing research facility.
Factory 2050 is the first building to be completed on the University of Sheffield’s new Advanced Manufacturing Campus. The 6,730 sq m landmark circular glass building and rectangular extension is home to the AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) and is the UK’s first totally reconfigurable, digital factory for collaborative research.
IMG’s work spans robotics and automation, integrated large volume metrology, digitally assisted assembly and manufacturing informatics. Among other things, the Group is developing ways of meeting demand for high variation and mass customisation, intelligent machines and process that monitor and optimise their operations, techniques to shorten lead times and ramp production up and down rapidly, ways of handling and making sense of big data, human machine collaboration and techniques for digitally assisted assembly.
New equipment installed at Factory 2050 includes a Kuka Titan heavy-duty 6-axis robot, controlled by a Siemens 840DSL controller and Kuka omniMove Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).
The Kuka Titan is being upgraded to carry out heavy duty machining of difficult to machine materials, offering a more flexible alternative to traditional machine tools. The AGVs, capable of carrying loads of up to 15 tonnes and believed to be the first installed at any UK research and development facility, are being developed to work more autonomously with the wider “Smart” factory setup.
Initial projects include a programme to take aerospace manufacturing technology into the construction industry, explore future digital factory technologies for building commercial aeroplanes and investigate digitally assisted assembly technologies which could help to fill a looming skills gap in the aerospace sector.
The new facility is supported by funding from the Research Partnership Investment Fund, managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
For more information, please contact:
Ben Morgan, head of the Integrated Manufacturing Group
Factory 2050 is a £43 million development, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Research Partnership Investment Fund managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), each of which have contributed £10 million to the project.