Off to a flying start in Wales

04 March 2019

Aerospace and automotive companies from across Wales will have the chance to hear and see first-hand how augmented and virtual reality, sensors and data analytics, robotics and automation can improve their productivity, performance and quality.

The leadership team from AMRC who will be responsible for delivering the operation in Wales will join the Aerospace Wales Forum at Coleg Cambria, to talk about the suite of technologies referred to as Industry 4.0. These will soon be made accessible at the new £20 million advanced manufacturing facility financed by the Welsh Government and due to open in Broughton later this year.

“Our mission is to drive world class manufacturing innovation for Wales and the UK,” said Andy Silcox, AMRC Research Director for Wales. “Our focus will be to extend access to our research expertise and capabilities in automation, digitalisation, design for manufacture and product and process verification to assist Welsh industry to develop new capabilities.

“We’re excited to be moving into the new facility, but we are not waiting for the doors to open before engaging with the many great manufacturing companies across Wales who could benefit from our research and innovation talents.

“This week’s event is just one of the many ways we will be engaging the region’s business communities to signpost the AMRC in Wales as the go-to-place for research and innovation talent and ideas: especially around industrial digitalisation. 

“Our role begins by informing and educating people about the range of smart technologies that can be used to transform business; from fixing inexpensive sensors to legacy machines to monitor performance, through to discrete event simulation of factories to ensure they optimise productivity,” said Andy.

“The UK is the second largest aerospace economy in the world, and Wales plays a key role in driving innovation and growth in the sector. Our goal at AMRC is to support the continued development of this vital sector in Wales and to use the smart technologies to drive big improvements in productivity among OEMs and their supply chains.”

The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in South Yorkshire has transformed a site of industrial dereliction and decline into a high-value cluster of aerospace and automotive companies such as Rolls-Royce and McLaren in a little more than a decade.

But AMRC Executive Director, John Baragwanath, said: “None of this would be happening without the vision and the commitment of the Welsh Government and the Deeside Enterprise Zone. They understand how having accessible and high performing research and innovation assets close to industry can drive big changes in productivity and create an attractive environment for inward investors.”

Late last year Welsh Economy Minister Ken Skate said: “The AMRC has built up incredibly strong relationships with a range of partnerships, from global corporates through to local SMEs and supply chains, and it will play a vital role in developing sustainable, long term leading innovation and skills. This can only be good news for the future of advanced manufacturing here in Wales and for the regional and wider Welsh economy.”

Rachael Blackburn, of Aerospace Wales, said: “Our members are thrilled to be hosting Andy and his colleagues and eager to learn more about the new facility that has sprung up so quickly in Broughton. Wales has great strengths in aerospace and automotive. The addition of AMRC to Wales provides these two key sectors with access to cutting edge research which can only help us remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

Nick Tyson added: “The event at Coleg Cambria gives us an opportunity to talk to the aerospace sector and other industries, such as the automotive and nuclear supply chains about our role in the region; about links to the research and innovation talent of our wider organisation and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network itself.

“We want Welsh industry to utilise the AMRC as a knowledge hub to develop the solutions with us which will create growth and improve productivity. We will do this by collaborative partnerships with industry and the support of government across a wide range of technology areas, using the AMRC’s full portfolio of capabilities.

“We will focus on key sectors for Welsh industry such as aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food manufacturing, but we are also engaging with wider industry in North Wales to advise on and demonstrate use-cases for the latest technology advances and best opportunities for investment.”

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