New milestone for Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre's world-beating Factory 205010 February 2015
Construction of one of the most advanced factories in the world, in Sheffield, has passed another major milestone.
The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing's revolutionary, £43 million Factory 2050 is taking shape on Sheffield Business Park as construction workers start to erect the structural steelwork.
Fitting out of both the research block and workshop is due to begin early in May, with completion of the whole project scheduled for the end of 2015.
The landmark, glass-walled "reconfigurable factory" has been designed to meet increasing demand for advanced manufacturers to offer high levels of flexibility.
Factory 2050 will be the first building on a new Advanced Manufacturing Campus, which could see the University build up to a million square feet of new research facilities on the site of the former Sheffield City Airport over the next seven to 10 years.
AMRC Executive Dean, Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, said: "We want Factory 2050 to be the most advanced factory in the world and part of our long-term development of high value manufacturing - an area where this region has an international lead.
"Factory 2050' will be the UK's first totally reconfigurable, digital factory, built to respond to an increasing requirement for advanced manufacturers to be able to make rapid changes to product design, as a result of ever-changing customer demands.
"The development will ensure that the UK's advanced manufacturing supply chain can tap into the expertise it needs to make the most of those trends.
"Factory 2050 has also been designed to make young people enthusiastic about following a career in advanced manufacturing. We want to see hundreds of kids noses pressed up against Factory 2050's glass walls as they marvel at what is going on inside and want to be part of it."
Sophisticated monitoring systems will generate large volumes of information, which will be used to develop technology that allows machine tools and processes to change the way they are working, maximising production rates and minimising tool wear, while maintaining quality.
Factory 2050 will also incorporate advanced 'green' energy technology, including a major ground-source heat pump package, which eliminates the need for a boiler or chiller plant.
Construction of Factory 2050 is creating more than 160 jobs. Once it is operating, Factory 2050 will employ 50 people, which could grow to more than 75. An even more significant number of jobs is expected to be created by companies wanting to locate nearby.
Construction is bringing in £6.4 million to the local economy and once it is operating Factory 2050 will contribute just under £2 million annually to GVA.