Food and Drink Federation announced as AMRC Cymru partner

02 November 2020

Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Cymru, the organisation that represents Welsh food and drink manufacturers, has been announced as a partner to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Cymru.

The collaboration follows the announcement in September of a £2m investment from Welsh Government to create a Food and Drink Packaging Sustainability Centre at the AMRC’s facility in Broughton, the first High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centre in Wales.

Pete Robertson, Acting Director at FDF Cymru, said: “I'm delighted that FDF Cymru has been chosen as effectively a brand ambassador for AMRC Cymru. By working together, we will better understand the barriers food and drink manufacturers currently face when it comes to implementing newer technologies, and in doing so we hope to be able to support wider productivity gains across the industry.”

The new partnership will see both organisations engage with businesses across the food and drink sector in Wales to scope out potential challenges in the adoption of emerging technologies. The outreach will involve collating demonstrator case studies to assist the industry in practice, as well as on-going webinars and networking events.

“I'm very much looking forward to putting in place a programme of engagement so we can begin speaking to as many businesses as possible,” said Pete.

The sustainability centre will accelerate the adoption of waste-reducing eco-innovations by integrating Industry 4.0 technologies in the packaging industry.In addition to prototyping and functional test equipment for new packaging solutions, the Food and Drink Packaging Sustainability Centre at AMRC Cymru will have a central demonstrator to exhibit the AMRC's capabilities in advanced automation, collaborative robotics, additive manufacturing and visualisation.

The demonstrator will be based on a conveyor system which will be linked together with collaborative robots, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and AMRC engineers wearing exoskeletons.

Bobby Manesh, AMRC Cymru's Food and Drink Technical Lead, said: "The team at AMRC Cymru is very much looking forward to working closely with FDF Cymru. The food and drink sector is a new area for the AMRC so having this partnership with FDF Cymru will be invaluable as we demonstrate that Industry 4.0 technologies can be easily implemented in a new manufacturing set up at relatively low cost but with significant rewards.”

The latest figures show the food and drink supply chain in Wales employs 229,500 people and has an overall annual turnover of £22.1bn.

It’s hoped the activities undertaken as part of the partnership will support the broader industry needs of the food and drink manufacturing sector in Wales, particularly as it deals with the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

To contact the AMRC Cymru team click here.

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