Boost for plan to set up manufacturing institute
Date published: 13 August 2020
Artist’s impression of what the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) could look like
A plan to create an Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) in Rochdale has been granted early-stage funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).
The organisations and businesses behind the scheme - National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Rochdale Development Agency, Milnrow-based PTG Holroyd Precision, the University of Huddersfield and University of Salford - have secured £50,000 seed funding for the AMPI they want to set up in Rochdale.
Tony Bannan, CEO of Holroyd and Precision Technologies Group, has long campaigned for the creation of an institute in Rochdale to meet the rising skills gap facing manufacturers.
He said: “Our ambition is for the AMPI to become a practical, accessible and potentially transformative resource for regional and national manufacturing companies - of all sizes. If your company needs machines, new technologies, advanced processes or integrated systems to make your products, or if you need targeted innovation and skills to improve productivity and competitiveness, then the AMPI will help you.”
Paul Ormerod, chairman of the Rochdale Development Agency, said he was delighted at the news. “As a forward-thinking and innovative manufacturing location, Rochdale is pleased to have been a long-term collaborative partner of the AMPI,” he said.
“We recognise that the institute will be the catalyst that drives a manufacturing technology revolution. It will foster the innovation that will generate wealth, improve skills and deliver prosperity for Rochdale and the North of England.”
The AMPI is seen as a potential catalyst for an innovation district which could be located at Kingsway Business Park. The industry-led project has the support of Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Manchester architects Fairhursts Design Group have advised the team and produced an artist’s impression of what the new facility might look like.
The £50,000 seed funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is seen as crucial because it could potentially unlock up to £50m once the project has been fully delivered.
National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL) head of engineering, Paul Shore said: “The AMPI initiative is a direct response to the need for the UK to improve its productivity. AMPI will support UK companies in developing machinery and automation products. It is these intelligent production systems that will facilitate UK productivity improvement through greater digitisation and automation within our future manufacturing landscape.”
The AMPI would provide a safe space, technical resources and the skills pipeline needed for advanced machinery innovation to flourish.
Its skills focus would provide a channel for local education providers to develop a sustained cohort of skilled staff. They, in combination with the more resilient and innovative supplier base, would make the region a more attractive place for inward investment.
UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund is a pathfinder programme investing in research and innovation projects to boost research and innovation capacity in specific areas of the UK, driving economic growth in those areas.
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