The newest satellite arm of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center has opened its doors in Preston, Lancashire, in the form of AMRC North West.
Backed by £20 million in funding from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the new facility adds to the network of the University of Sheffield’s AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre), which was established more than 20 years ago. Other sites under the AMRC umbrella include AMRC Cymru, AMRC Training Center, the Advanced Structural Testing Center, and Factory 2050.
AMRC North West will be home to a series of studies including additive and digital manufacturing, batteries and automation, 5G for manufacturing, robotics, autonomous manufacturing processes and systems, and low-carbon technologies. Engineers associated with AMRC North West have been working with Lancashire manufacturers since 2018, on a temporary basis offered by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). The new center now gives those engineers a permanent home in the center of the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone in Preston.
“The launch of AMRC North West is a huge achievement,” said Professor Koen Lamberts, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield.
“By bringing translational research to the threshold of existing and new industries, we can increase productivity and attract more investment to Lancashire. The AMRC has a strong 20-year history of working with manufacturers of all sizes to develop greener, more efficient products and processes, and we look forward to working with our partners in Lancashire to support the region’s economic growth .”
The center will also be home to the 5G Factory of the Future project, a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) funded program that aims to boost the adoption of 5G technologies in manufacturing through a consortium of industrial and academic leaders from the manufacturing and telecommunications sectors. According to Debbie Francis, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), AMRC North West is a vote of confidence in the region and will boost production in Lancashire.
“Production is in our DNA and the fact that the AMRC has made the decision to locate in the province is a testament to our capabilities in this industry,” she said. “These world-class facilities will not only enable our companies to realize their growth potential and create quality jobs and thereby contribute to the leveling agenda, but the facilities will also help them decarbonise legacy industrial buildings, which is crucial important as we are to achieve our net-zero ambitions.”
AMRC North West was officially opened on Thursday 10 March by Lee Rowley, Minister of Industry at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), along with Professor Koen Lamberts and Debbie Francis.