Through the Manufacturing Made Smarter programme, with its focus on the development of digital technology in the UK, nearly £25 million has been invested in five university-adjacent research centres throughout the UK, according to the The Engineer. The respective centres will focus on digital medicines; smart, collaborative industrial robotics; connected factories; people-led digitalisation and smart materials.
The manufacturers, technology companies and educational institutions involved aim to support the growth of digital manufacturing in the UK by bridging the gap between basic research and its application in manufacturing, and providing a pipeline of digital technologies for the future.
The University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK, is involved in two of the five new digital manufacturing research centres – as a participant in the Research Centre for Connected Factories and as lead in the Materials Made Smarter Centre (MMSC). The MMSC will be led by Professor Iain Todd from the University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
“We will develop the advanced digital technologies and tools to enable the verification, validation, certification and traceability of materials manufacturing and will work with partners to address the challenges of digital adoption,” stated Todd. “Digitalisation of the materials thread will drive productivity improvements, realise new business models and change the way we value and use materials.”
In partnership with University College London and the Universities of Cambridge, Brunel, Nottingham and Swansea, the MMSC will bring together leading researchers in materials, advanced manufacturing, modelling, physical computing, psychology and management across the whole materials manufacturing value chain.
The MMSC will work with High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres, including the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and National Composites Centre, as well as The Materials Processing Institute and industrial partners including Rolls-Royce, Tata and Constellium.
The new centre will be integrated and closely aligned to other large scale fundamental manufacturing projects at Sheffield, such as the Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes Future Manufacturing Hub, the Henry Royce Institute, and other funded projects at the partner institutes.