At the close of the 20th century, Professor Keith Ridgway and local businessman Adrian Allen began to work with Boeing to apply Sheffield’s traditional expertise to new materials, focusing on machining research. The AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) was established in 2001 as a £15 million collaboration between the University of Sheffield and aerospace giant Boeing, with support from Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund. Over the years, the AMRC has become a global centre for benchmarking of tools and aerospace techniques.
The AMRC with Boeing is part of the AMRC Group, a cluster of world-class centres for industry-focused research and development of technologies used in high-value manufacturing sectors. The group has specialist expertise in machining, casting, welding, additive manufacturing, composites, designing for manufacturing, testing and training. The AMRC Training Centre, which provides training from apprenticeship through to doctorate and MBA level, is amongst the best training facilities within the manufacturing sector. It was necessary to found this centre and create a worldwide network in order to establish a community which is characterised by effective collaboration of research, design, manufacturing and studies. A community which strives for putting technology into practice. Even though their vision might have been underestimated in the beginning, the two founders succeeded because of their relentless dedication and effort. WFL Millturn Technologies and the AMRC have been working together from the very start and the longstanding partnership proves that one can achieve significantly more when cooperating with others. The cooperation ranges from basic research to application development. Early recognition of market developments and knowledge development is crucial for their success. A large network of research resources allows for being on the very top of innovation. Therefore, WFL and AMRC succeeded in creating values.
Innovation environment for companies and universities
OMIC R&D (Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Centre) is modelled after the AMRC established with Boeing at Sheffield University in England. Oregon’s research centre unites manufacturers and universities within one innovation environment. The centre’s objective is to solve real problems for experienced manufacturers by means of applied research together with university lecturers and students. The research is applied directly during the manufacturing process and addresses relevant problems followed by a prompt reaction of the manufacturer. This allows for generating added value and tackling the roots of problems in a timely manner. Unique technologies and expertise, which can be transferred to regional, national and international companies, are identified and developed for industrial purposes. The principle of the research and development facility is based on the following fact: investments in research and innovation alone are not sufficient for creating a dynamic innovative economy. Research must focus on supporting the domestic industry in increasing their competitiveness and being part of the local economy. It is for cooperation, and more precisely shared research and development costs, that WFL is able to consider critical technology requirements. The Research Centre enables the development and use of new innovative tools, techniques and unique technologies.
Kenneth Sundberg, Managing Director After Market Sales at WFL, remembers his first visit to the Research Centre and shares his impressions: “I visited OMIC on the occasion of their first anniversary after the opening. I had the opportunity to meet the other partner companies and open new doors for future projects. I was especially impressed by the highly qualified and motivated team. They are working hard to make the Research Centre one of the leading technology centres of the country.” WFL Millturn Technologies supports this valuable partnership by providing a M80 MILLTURN. The machine is mainly and successfully used for research and training purposes. It masters the most challenging manufacturing tasks due to its sustainability and robustness. Thanks to this successful cooperation, WFL is able to optimise applied technologies in metal processing together with their customers. WFL Millturn Technologies is very proud of these stable and dynamic partnerships.
Because innovation needs cooperation.