Approximately 30 members enjoyed a morning visit to the AMRC wing of the Sheffield University on Wednesday the 11th February. The visit commenced at 10:15 am with coffee followed by an introductory talk at 10:30 am, and finally a visit to one of the advanced machining laboratories on the complex. The morning was then rounded off with lunch at Whitby’s Fish & Chip Restaurant close by.
The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre or AMRC as it is known was established in 2001 as a £15 million collaboration between Sheffield University and aerospace giant, Boeing with support from Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund. It was the brain child of Adrian Allen and Professor Keith Ridgeway.
Adrian Allen had worked in aerospace for over twenty years, which included owning and managing a Sheffield based engineering consultancy business. He had developed a new method of machining titanium alloys, used in large quantities in the aircraft industry. He took his ideas over to Boeing, only to be told that they no longer had their own manufacturing facilities, they adopted the policy of subcontracting everything to highly skilled specialist companies. They had in fact created a network of suppliers all over the globe and Adrian was not prepared to go globe hopping to all the manufacturers, who might or might not have accepted his ideas.
He came back to Sheffield and discussed the situation with Professor Keith Ridgeway. Between them they decided to approach Boeing with the idea of establishing a research centre in the UK as part of the Boeing network and that it you be based at Orgreave and they would call it South Yorkshire Knowledge Organisation, SYKO for short. Boeing were delighted and agreed to go into partnership with the organisation, but the name had to be changed because SYKO had other connotations. It was finally agreed that it should be called AMRC and based at Orgreave.
In 2004, the AMRC moved into a purpose-built facility as the anchor tenant for the Advanced Manufacturing Park and since then it has gone from strength to strength. The organisation is headed by the Sheffield University and Boeing and includes more than 70 fee paying companies. The AMRC identifies, researches and solves advanced manufacturing problems and has over 80 highly qualified researchers and engineers from around the globe.