AMRC to partner in new sustainable manufacturing hub

06 June 2024

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has partnered with world-leading metrology experts to launch a new sustainable manufacturing hub that aims to address the challenge of commercialising early stage research within key areas of manufacturing, such as semiconductors.

The Advanced Metrology Hub for Sustainable Manufacturing - one of the five hubs in the funding programme recently announced  by the UK Research and Innovation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - aims to make manufacturing processes more sustainable by reducing waste, emissions and pollution as well as lowering production costs. 

Led by the University of Huddersfield, the hub will be supported by a consortium of partners including the AMRC and Manufacturing Technology Centre – both part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult network, along with Heriot-Watt University, Queen’s University, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, National Physical Laboratory (NPL). 

The Advanced Metrology Hub for Sustainable Manufacturing will develop ground-breaking new technologies, such as ultra-fast and compact sensors using nanophotonic metamaterials and quantum sensors, to improve resource efficiency and productivity across the range of sectors that rely on precision manufacturing.

The advances in metrology - the science of measurement - that this hub aims to achieve could ultimately reduce industries’ reliance on cheap international labour and significantly reduce the carbon cost of transportation for many types of manufactured goods. 

Professor Ben Morgan, AMRC research director, will lead an innovation spoke to support the project. He said: “The current manufacturing landscape is driven by a need for high customisation, accuracy and speed, while keeping cost, waste and energy usage low - and metrology stands as the cornerstone, underpinning more efficient and productive processes.

“At the AMRC, innovation and sustainability are at the core of everything we do. This new Hub will act as a national gateway for advanced metrology – creating and delivering innovative research and technologies with partners – to drive future UK manufacturing excellence with a clear emphasis on sustainability.”

Five priority areas have been identified to demonstrate new metrology technologies and methods as part of the hub: sustainable and connected machinery, zero carbon transport, clean energy systems, semiconductors and manufacturing reuse. The AMRC will be involved in zero carbon transport and manufacturing reuse. 

The University of Sheffield is involved in four out of the five hubs funded by the EPSRC - with the advanced metrology for sustainable manufacturing hub being one of them. The other three hubs are CSManuHubSust, the MediForge hub, and the Manufacturing Research Hub in Robotics, Automation and Smart Machine Enabled Sustainable Circular Manufacturing and Materials (RESCu-M2).

Professor Sue Hartley, vice-president for research and innovation at the University of Sheffield, said: “I’m really pleased to see academics from Sheffield collaborating in so many of these new sustainable manufacturing hubs. Research and innovation in  manufacturing is an area of strength for us here at the University of Sheffield. Our academics have a fantastic track record delivering projects that have real impact locally, nationally and internationally and these hubs continue that tradition. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved on these awards and I wish you every success in your research to help make manufacturing more efficient, productive and sustainable.”

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