The University of Huddersfield is leading the industrial engagement on behalf of a consortium to launch the Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI), after securing £22.6m of funding through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) last year. AMPI is initially a 5-year innovation programme that will focus on developing world leading machinery innovation, advanced materials, automation and production capabilities.
The UK has a rich legacy of innovative developers and manufacturers of advanced machinery technology and yet consistently imports more high-tech equipment than it exports. It is notable that those countries from which we import have established programmes of support for innovation, focussed on the development of advanced machinery. An opportunity exists for the UK to harness its strengths and take the lead in the development and supply of next-generation advanced machinery.
The North of England has an active and high concentration of industrial expertise in the design, development, and manufacture of complex machinery. This machinery is used in a wide range of industries to manufacture products such as pharmaceuticals, food and drink, and aerospace and automotive components. The region also has some of the world’s leading academics in industrial research, including robotics, advanced materials, automation, artificial intelligence and metrology.
What is the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI)?
Based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, the Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) is an industry led initiative (resulting from a meeting in November 2017 in the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre) driving innovation for the UK’s advanced machinery designers, manufacturers, and users.
AMPI will stimulate and support the rapid growth of the UK’s machinery manufacturing sector as it transitions to highly integrated digital solutions with sophisticated automated and autonomous robotic systems. Embedded metrology will produce data to monitor and control systems with well-defined levels of accuracy and precision and will provide a high degree of confidence in these systems. It will enable invention, realise innovation, and increase the adoption of new machinery and robotics through UK equipment manufacturers.
As the lead partner for industrial engagement, the University of Huddersfield will collaborate with the Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) to ensure that the industrial participation in AMPI is maximised across both the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester areas.
The AMPI Consortium
In support of AMPI’s objectives an industrial-academic consortium with the Universities of Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester and Salford, and the National Physical Laboratory (from their North of England base within the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre) as partners, developed the concept and secured a 5-year, £22.6m programme to stimulate innovation and adoption of new technology.
The AMPI Consortium will be working in partnership with Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd), Fives Landis, Wayland Additive, CR Solutions, Rochdale Development Agency, University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Precision Technologies, 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.
This collaborative programme will support regional growth in the advanced machinery sector in the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester area (the so-called M62 Innovation Corridor) and will benefit industry across the whole of the UK.
Criteria for innovative and collaborative AMPI projects
Industrially defined flagship innovation projects have been funded within the initial tranche of AMPI activity and more are being developed. These build on the strong research and innovation resources and proven innovation track record of the region’s advanced machinery businesses with cooperation from the academic and research partners.
To grow the R&D activity within the sector, new innovative and collaborative projects are encouraged within the programme and will include:
- New industry-led projects to create additional prototype machinery for emerging sectors/applications.
- New industry-led projects to create sub-systems (mechanical, electrical, software or mechatronic) as products.
- Extending or additional areas of academic research to address an emerging challenge.
- New research to leapfrog existing industrial capability.
The combination of machine manufacturers with many years of experience and researchers with leading edge facilities and knowledge will result in an acceleration of innovation in machinery and robotics to help the UK to make great strides in the production of the next generation products and services.
For more information on the AMPI innovation programme, associated funding and access to the AMPI Community, please contact Steve Gregory firstname.lastname@example.org