New AMRC Lancashire facility gets green light

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Planners at South Ribble Borough Council and Ribble Valley Borough Council have granted permission to the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to build and equip a £20m facility at the heart of the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone – one of four zones that makes up the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster.

The new 4,500m2 facility, which will have a focus on light-weighting technologies, battery assembly and vehicle electrification, is being built with capital funding provided through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Growth Deal. It will include, among others, machine tools, additive and hybrid manufacturing, automated assembly, robotics, and autonomous manufacturing processes and systems.

In addition, a £2.5 million revenue grant from the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) matched with £1.6m from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult), will secure the creation of a technical R&D team that will aim to enhance the manufacturing base of Lancashire, working with manufacturing companies and their supply chains.

Dave Petley, VP for research and innovation at the University of Sheffield, says: “The University of Sheffield has a long-standing reputation of developing specialist regional hubs, providing valuable engineering expertise and access to advanced capabilities tailored to the needs of local industry sectors.

“The new facility in the North West will be the catalyst for manufacturing growth, supporting the supply chains in the region to drive up productivity and attract inward investment to create a sustainable future for advanced manufacturing in the region.”

Currently operating from interim facilities provided by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the centre of Preston, the growing University of Sheffield AMRC North West team is already working with more than 65 small and medium sized manufacturing firms from across the region, as part of its mandate through the ESIF funding to enhance the regional economic base and its supply chains.

Melissa Conlon, commercial director for University of Sheffield AMRC North West, adds: “The University of Central Lancashire has been a great support. We are working on a number of collaborative R&D projects with a number of key stakeholders to drive forward advanced manufacturing across Lancashire.”