AMRC ‘shapes new direction’ for engineering company

28 April 2022

Engineers from Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West in Lancashire, part of the University of Sheffield, have provided ‘invaluable’ support in helping a Chorley-based business adopt virtual reality technology into its operations.

NIS Engineering Ltd was established in 1983 and offers bespoke engineering solutions, integration and assembly, working across a number of sectors including civil and defence nuclear, aerospace, food, medical and security. 

The company, which has worked on some of the most exciting and complex engineering projects in the world, from cleaning up nuclear legacies to developing the next generation of security scanning products, was looking to implement new technologies to improve processes and wanted to see how virtual reality (VR) could enhance its operations.

Research and development engineers at AMRC North West, part of the national High Value Manufacturing Catapult network of research centres, gave NIS Engineering a demonstration of a VR model and the necessary steps the company would need to take to have the capability in-house.

Nick Hall, business engagement manager at AMRC North West, said: “This project with NIS was about bringing computer aided design (CAD) and VR capability into their processes.

“Initially, this was for their own purposes, to clarify briefs from clients and get a picture of what they are going to make before they make it. As the project developed, NIS realised this could be a valuable tool to use with their clients too, to show them what to expect.

“It’s great when one of our projects supporting a local SME results in more far-reaching benefits that we’d foreseen at the outset.”

Marc Green, product development portfolio lead at NIS Engineering, added that it was part of the company’s business plan to implement new technologies, in this instance VR, and approached AMRC North West for help.

“We had a great experience with AMRC North West,” said Marc. “From the introduction, to scoping out the project and demonstration, the engineers gave us a professional approach tailored to our requirements.

“Our VR is up and running and we have a real time discovery project going through the system – which takes NIS data and builds the VR model to NIS specifications, with the support of the VR supplier. We now have five of our staff trained up and able to use it.

“The AMRC North West’s input has helped to shape the direction of this project and their support has been invaluable.”

Marc says the company is now marketing the capability for external use having begun to see people ask for this type of technology to help with training and understanding. He said: “The AMRC engineers were informative and gave a real-life perspective on the benefits of adopting VR capability. We would recommend this to all SMEs.”

The project was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. 

To find out how AMRC North West can help your business, contact Iain Martin, senior engagement manager, on 01254 947100, email Iain: i.d.martin@amrc.co.uk or visit https://www.amrc.co.uk/facilities/amrc-north-west

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