AMRC role model for Oman

19 September 2017

One of the world’s leading oil and gas exporters is working closely with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to establish its own version of the AMRC in a bid to diversify its economy and attract major foreign investment.

AMRC Oman, known in-country as Intaj-Suhar, will be the first of its kind in the Gulf and is a clear example of how the collaborative approach pioneered by the University of Sheffield is being seen across the world as a role model for harnessing the power of engineering research to drive high-value manufacturing and improve productivity.

Over the last two years, senior figures in Sohar University, Oman’s first private university, have been working closely with their counterparts at the AMRC in the UK to develop the “clustering of university research with industrial design and production.”

The project will be developed in two phases. The first phase will focus on “advanced manufacturing” to support industrial innovations and “manufacturing tools” to support small and medium-sized enterprises and introducing new products. While the second phase is expected to be developed by private sector investments and will represent an added industrial hub to the region.

His Excellency Engineer Ahmed Al-Dheeb, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Oman, said the project will establish a manufacturing research centre of excellence to drive industrial innovation to help Oman build a more diversified economy. 

Professor Barry Winn, Vice Chancellor at Sohar University and Chair of the new Oman AMRC Steering Committee, said: “Our vision is to support the development of the manufacturing sector and enable provision of technology capability in advanced manufacturing through world-class facilities in design, machining, prototyping and proving pre-production.”

Professor Ghassan al Kindi, Director of Research and Industry Collaboration at Sohar University, said: “We believe the new centre, which opens next year, will also stimulate foreign direct investment by international manufacturers and support the downstream development of high-technology, small and medium enterprises that produce high-value products under the ‘Designed and Made in Oman’ brand.”

AMRC Executive Director, John Baragwanath, paid tribute to the Omani government and the team at Sohar University for having the vision and drive to create a world-class centre focused on high-value added manufacturing. “It has been a privilege to work with Oman in this remarkable venture,” he said.

AMRC Oman will focus on advanced machining, specialist assembly, material development, optimised design, rapid prototyping and engineering testing. It will draw these together to support the strategic development in the supply chains of the aluminum, steel, composites and polymer industries.

“As the originators of the AMRC model, we have been able to show them how world class research can help manufacturers of any size add value to their business by introducing advanced techniques, technologies and processes.  What we are doing chimes perfectly with their vision of helping Oman become ‘a knowledge nation.’”

Professor Barry Winn, said: “It has been great working with John and his team at the AMRC. We have learned so much from them.

Like the AMRC in South Yorkshire, the Oman model will also provide an advanced apprentice training facility and a hub for the delivery of improved manufacturing engineering training programmes up to PhD. “Oman is keen to develop the technological skills that are essential to diversification.”

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