£24m Nottingham research facility opens

With manufacturing on the cusp of a technological revolution, a flagship research facility is opening its doors at the University of Nottingham to help future-proof UK industry in a competitive global market.

Siemens UK CEO, Juergen Maier officially opened the Advanced Manufacturing Building (AMB) on Friday 7 December 2018.

With a total research portfolio of £80m, the development consolidates the University’s manufacturing science and technology capabilities, expertise and industrial support.

The AMB is home to the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing(IfAM), which has 96,000 sq ft of research and teaching facilities for design, manufacturing, assembly and metrology, measurement, testing and modelling.

Professor Svetan Ratchev, Director of IfAM, said: “Skills challenges remain a key issue for many manufacturing businesses in the UK, due to factors such as the fast pace of technology development, an ageing workforce and a shortage of graduates with relevant multidisciplinary skills and experience.

“The Institute helping to shape the manufacturing research agenda nationally and internationally and is supplying the technology and specialist skills to support key industrial sectors and encourage the growth of emerging industries.”

Juergen Maier, Chief Executive of Siemens UK, said: “This new facility heralds the start of something truly special for Nottingham, and will help place the region and indeed the country at the cutting edge of digital manufacturing. Why is this important? It’s important because our future lies in driving a new technological revolution focusing on AI, automation, robotics and 3d printing as well as many other new exciting technologies. It will ensure graduates are at the cutting edge and ready to take up the high productivity, high wage jobs of the future.”

The Institute also comprises the Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM), the Centre for Aerospace Manufacturing and the Precision Manufacturing Centre, delivering a range of collaborative projects funded by UK Research Councils, European Framework programmes and industrial partners.

In collaboration with the Schools of Pharmacy and Chemical Engineering, CfAM was successful in securing £1m funding from the Wolfson Foundation for a clean room facility. This facility is supporting CfAM research in the healthcare area and to widen the palette of materials for 3D ink jet and extrusion printing platforms.

This would be used primarily for the CfAM’s pharmaceutical and electronics-orientated research that should be conducted in a setting with a low level of environmental pollutants or where light-sensitive materials are used.

The new building also houses the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Manufacturing and On-Wing Technology.

Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry MP, said: “We are committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Midlands Engine and building a country that works for everyone. Our £5 million investment in the University of Nottingham’s new Advanced Manufacturing Building through the Local Growth Fund shows our modern Industrial Strategy in action. This state-of-the-art facility will benefit Nottingham, the Midlands and the whole UK economy by driving innovation, equipping people to secure highly skilled jobs and supporting manufacturing businesses of all sizes to thrive.”

Elizabeth Fagan, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “The Advanced Manufacturing Building is exactly the kind of innovation-led facility needed to take forward the ambition laid out in our Strategic Economic Plan and aid new, hi tech growth sectors and research and development. That is why the D2N2 LEP is proud to invest heavily in a flagship project, using its Local Growth Fund allocation from Government.”

Midlands Engine Chairman, Sir John Peace, said: “Our industries in the Midlands are known for being at the forefront of technological innovation. This new facility will help reinforce the Midlands as a region that is at the cutting edge of digital manufacturing and, at the same time, provide our businesses with a workforce that has all of the necessary skills that will help our businesses thrive.”