New scheme helps small firms tap into AMRC expertise and grow

18 June 2015

Small firms wanting to grow, but worried about the cost and resources that would be tied up in developing their plans are being offered help by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing.

The AMRC's Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) has secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund for a new programme to assist SMEs across Yorkshire and Humber.

IMG develops new ways of automatically assembling complex products to help companies improve their competitiveness.

Later this year, the Group will move to Factory 2050, the world's first totally reconfigurable factory, currently being built on Sheffield Business Park.

The new support programme is linked to the £10 million the ERDF is providing towards the £43 million investment in Factory 2050.

The programme will offer SMEs free support for consultancy projects lasting two days or worth up to £1,000.

Assistance could cover topics such as design and design for manufacture, reverse engineering components to generate Computer Aided Design data and 3D printing.

Projects could also include scanning a company's factory to create CAD drawings that can be used to optimise production lines or plan the introduction of new equipment, advice on automation and metrology.

The new IMG programme comes soon after the completion of a four year ERDF-funded programme to help SMEs and others achieve major business improvements, run by the National Metals Technology Centre (NAMTEC), which is also part of the AMRC.

That programme provided a range of support, including a scheme similar to the new IMG scheme, and was a major success, beating all the targets it was set.

The NAMTEC programme helped more than 110 SMEs across Yorkshire and Humber to create more than 85 jobs and safeguard a further 500 - around double the original jobs targets.

Projects spanned the development of new and existing products and processes, the introduction of new materials and the creation of more efficient factory layouts.

More details about the new IMG scheme are available from Ryan Diver, tel: 0114 215 8202 or e-mail: r.diver@amrc.co.uk.

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