Royal opening for research factory

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) was officially opened today (28 May) by The Duke of York.

His Royal Highness met with Nuclear AMRC staff and apprentices, and representatives from a wide range of manufacturing businesses, to find out how the Nuclear AMRC is helping them become more competitive. His Royal Highness has a continued interest in supporting facilities such as this that are a key part of ensuring that British businesses are at the forefront of science and engineering globally.

Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, programme director of the Nuclear AMRC, says:
“We are delighted that The Duke of York has agreed to open the Nuclear AMRC. The new centre has a huge role to  play in assisting UK manufacturers to enter the nuclear new build market, both at home and globally. The support we provide will have a huge impact on the number and value of contracts that UK manufacturers can win.”

Managed by the University of Sheffield with support from The University of Manchester Dalton Nuclear Institute, the Nuclear AMRC combines academic innovation with industry expertise to help UK manufacturers seize the opportunities of new investment in nuclear power and other innovative energy technologies.

The Nuclear AMRC’s research and operations are led by its industrial members – 34 companies are currently full members, from reactor providers Areva and Westinghouse, and top-tier suppliers such as Rolls-Royce, Tata Steel and Sheffield Forgemasters, through to specialised SMEs.

The Nuclear AMRC’s main facility is located on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, on the boundary of Sheffield and Rotherham, next to the established University of Sheffield AMRC with Boeing.

Construction of the 8000 sq m centre was begun in November 2010, with Her Majesty the Queen donning virtual reality glasses to remotely activate a digger. The building was completed on schedule by October 2011, with the construction project managed by Turner & Townsend. It is now home to a growing team of engineers and researchers.

The Nuclear AMRC is based around an open-plan 5,000 sq m workshop, containing a range of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment tailored for nuclear industry applications. The building also features accommodation over three stories, including laboratory and technical support space, an immersive virtual reality room for assembly research and training, office space and secure meeting rooms. Work at the Nuclear AMRC focuses on metals engineering and does not involve nuclear critical aspects such as fuels or other radioactive materials.

The building was designed by Bond Bryan Architects to ‘Excellent’ BREEAM environmental standards. Power and heating is provided by a 99m wind turbine rated at 900kW and ground source heat pumps with 320kW capacity.

The development of the Nuclear AMRC has been funded by UK Government and the European Regional Development Fund. The Nuclear AMRC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a new national network of research centres supported by the Technology Strategy Board.

Following the opening of the Nuclear AMRC building, The Duke of York visited the University of Sheffield’s new Diamond Jubilee Knowledge Transfer Centre to meet local companies which have been in business for 60 years, as part of the Jubilee celebrations.

All-Energy 2012

23-24 May, Aberdeen.

The Nuclear AMRC is attending the All-Energy renewables exhibition and conference in Aberdeen.

All-Energy is the UK’s largest renewable energy event, showcasing the complete range of renewable and sustainable technologies.

Professor Steve Court, Nuclear AMRC operations director, will take part in the Nuclear – Business Opportuntities in New Build and Life Extensions session from 11am on Wednesday morning, to highlight the opportunities in the nuclear sector for manufacturers engaged in offshore wind, oil and gas, and other energy sectors.

Steve will also be presenting at NOF Energy’s Nuclear Networking Lunch on Tuesday 22 May.

MANTRA, the AMRC’s unique travelling showcase for advanced engineering, will be outside the conference hall to present our manufacturing R&D capabilities for nuclear and other innovative energy industries. MANTRA is a customised 14m HGV trailer, designed to give young engineers a hands-on experience with real cutting-edge technologies including high-performance machining and virtual reality.

Skills academy expands into nuclear manufacturing

The government has confirmed funding for a new skills centre for nuclear manufacturing, led by the National Skills Academy for Nuclear with support from the Nuclear AMRC.

The National Skills Academy Nuclear – Manufacturing will create a single point of entry for employers.

A dedicated team, based at the Nuclear AMRC’s South Yorkshire facility, will tackle the most urgent skills challenges facing the nuclear manufacturing industry.

The team will develop training and skills products to help companies win new business, and expand the established High Quality Provider Network into the nuclear manufacturing sector.

The new project is backed by the Skills Funding Agency at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). It marks an expansion of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSA Nuclear) into the nuclear manufacturing sector, with support from Semta, the sector skills council for advanced manufacturing and engineering, and the Nuclear AMRC.

Professor Steve Court, operations director for the Nuclear AMRC, says: “This collaboration with the National Skills Academy for Nuclear and SEMTA is a unique opportunity to really make a tangible difference for employers. By applying our knowledge and understanding of nuclear manufacturing, we can develop products and solutions which will build workforce skills and knowledge and help companies demonstrate their capability to customers when they bid for work.”

Jean Llewellyn OBE, chief executive of NSA Nuclear, says: “The opportunities for the manufacturing supply chain in this area are considerable from the UK alone, running into many millions. Combine this with the global market share manufacturers in the UK could access and the importance of this sector in delivering high value exports becomes apparent. The Nuclear Manufacturing expansion of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear will support the UK supply chain to ensure it is well placed and has the skilled workforce required to gain maximum value from this global renaissance.”

For more information, see NSA Nuclear.