Siemens UK CEO opens £24m research facility

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The CEO of Siemens UK has formally opened a new £24m research facility designed to spearhead technological innovation in manufacturing.

With manufacturing on the cusp of a technological revolution, the flagship facility at the University of Nottingham is aimed at helping to future-proof UK industry in a competitive global market.

Juergen Maier was invited to officially open the Advanced Manufacturing Building (AMB).

With a total research portfolio of £80m, the nationally-significant development is intended to consolidate 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 world-class research and teaching facilities for design, manufacturing, assembly and metrology, measurement, testing and modelling.

Scientific research at the Institute underpins many high impact innovations in key sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, food, biomedical, energy generation, chemical products and digital manufacturing.

Professor Svetan Ratchev, Director of IfAM, described the AMB as one of the largest manufacturing, engineering, teaching and research facilities in the UK, housing some 400 staff, students and researchers.

“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,” he said.

“The Institute is 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.”

The University collaborates with many of the world’s leading companies, including Airbus, BAE Systems, BMW, Bentley Motors, Cummins, GSK, HP Enterprise, IBM, Jaguar Land Rover, Laing O’Rourke, Nestle, PepsiCo, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.

The new building also houses the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Manufacturing and On-Wing Technology. The UTC boasts a multi-disciplinary research team exploring all aspects of aerospace manufacture, with specialist interest in on-platform inspection and repair systems. From the UTC, the University is working with Rolls-Royce on a new range of robot ‘mechanics’ set to transform their jet engine maintenance, saving the company time and money and cutting delays for air passengers.

IfAM is working with the companies to develop cost-effective manufacturing solutions for high value products. It does this by utilising next-generation technologies in 3D printing, artificial intelligence, collaborative robotics, data analytics, material science and manufacturing systems and processes.

Juergen Maier 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.”

IfAM is supporting local growth by helping business of all sizes to be at the forefront of technological and business innovation. It has identified issues within the SME manufacturing sector where many firms experience difficulties in navigating new technologies such as digital manufacturing.