£22.6m funding secured for manufacturing institute to be based in Rochdale
Date published: 27 July 2021
Artist’s impression of what the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) could look like in Rochdale
A consortium led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has secured £22.6m funding for a five-year innovation initiative, the first for the Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI), which will be based in Rochdale.
The AMPI – which could be located at Kingsway Business Park - will be a manufacturing research facility which will bring academic institutions and government bodies to the Rochdale borough.
It will stimulate and support the rapid growth of the UK’s machinery manufacturing sector - used in a wide range of industries to manufacture products such as pharmaceuticals, food and drink, and automotive components - as it transitions to highly integrated digital solutions with sophisticated automated and autonomous robotic systems.
The AMPI will also enable invention, realise innovation, and increase the adoption of new machinery and robotics through UK equipment manufacturers.
NPL will be working in partnership with Rochdale Development Agency (RDA), Rochdale-based precision machine tool maker PTG Holroyd, Fives Landis, Wayland Additive, CR Solutions, Advanced Machinery & Productivity Initiative Ltd and several universities including Huddersfield, Salford and Manchester.
Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and communications at Rochdale Council and board member at RDA, said: “As one of the first industrialised towns in Britain and with a reputation for innovation in manufacturing, Rochdale is the ideal location for AMPI.
“The institute will generate wealth, improve skills and deliver prosperity for both Rochdale and the North of England.”
The funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) provides the stimulus for AMPI in its aim to become a pivotal UK intervention, centred around existing capabilities and research excellence across the North of England. It is hoped that the support provided through AMPI, and its partner organisations, will provide benefit to businesses across the region, positively impacting direct and indirect local employment, as well as UK industry export.
In the longer term, AMPI is expected to grow the UK’s advanced machinery capability to a £2bn export capacity within 10 years, establishing over 30,000 high value manufacturing sector jobs.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “Manufacturing has always been key to creating jobs and spreading opportunity. The £22.6 million investment, which could create up to 560 high skilled jobs across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, shows that as we move into a world where industry adopts more automated and autonomous robotic systems, this is still the case.”
As the lead partner in the SIPF-funded initiative, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will manage the programme on behalf of the consortium and, as the UK’s National Metrology Institute, will deliver world-class metrology to all participants and projects.
NPL will be working in partnership with Rochdale-based precision machine tool maker Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd), Fives Landis, Wayland Additive, CR Solutions, Rochdale Development Agency, Advanced Machinery & Productivity Initiative Ltd, University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Precision Technologies (CPT), University of Leeds’ Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation, The University of Manchester’s Departments of Materials and Electrical and Electronic Engineering and University of Salford’s Centre for Autonomous Systems & Advanced Robotics (ASAR).
Gareth Edwards, the AMPI Programme Director at NPL said: “I am delighted to be working with such a strong and passionate consortium of experts. Collaboration and partnership will be at the heart of this initiative, and we look forward to engaging with the advanced machinery community as we move forward. Through this programme the team will deliver ground-breaking innovation, provide a platform for UK industry to develop its ideas and be a beacon of diversity and opportunity for people coming into the field.”
Dr Tony Bannan OBE, CEO of Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd), said: “Manufacturing is not only a key driver of economic growth, but also an essential part of the UK economy, contributing £192bn per annum.
“Through AMPI our aim is to help ensure UK manufacturing is equipped to lead the way in the creation of tomorrow’s intelligent, integrated manufacturing technologies – as well as the materials those machine tools will use. We believe that the creation of a new, highly accessible centre for innovation in specialised machinery and machine tool technologies and productivity will help put UK manufacturers of all sizes ahead of their counterparts in Europe and beyond, by focusing on the development of advanced manufacturing processes that don’t exist today.”
The £22.6m funding has been provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).
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