Manufacturing innovation

The Nuclear AMRC works with companies to overcome their manufacturing problems, and help them develop the technical capability to compete on cost, quality and delivery.

Our resources and capabilities have been determined by our industry partners, with the aim of helping suppliers reduce cost, improve quality, reduce lead time and cycle time, and reduce risk in manufacturing.

The Nuclear AMRC’s core R&D capabilities cover:

Our research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire is based around a 5,000 sq m open-plan workshop, staffed by over 80 experienced manufacturing engineers and operators. Our workshop is designed for working on production-scale technology demonstrators, and hosts over £30 million worth of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment. Many of our machining centres and welding cells feature unique capabilities or are the largest or most powerful of their kind.

For detailed information about our resources and expertise, download the Nuclear AMRC equipment & capability directory (5MB pdf).

capabilities cover

Our research spans the challenging middle stages of the Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) scale, taking new manufacturing technologies and processes from proof of concept towards production readiness.

Our core focus is on MRL3-6, where we progress innovative processes from a laboratory scale to demonstration on representative-sized components (at least two-thirds of actual size). We can exploit and customise a wide range of technologies for new applications, delivering significant manufacturing improvements and technology advantages with minimum risk and no loss of production time in your own factory.

Our equipment has been selected to meet the machining, fabrication and assembly requirements of the civil nuclear sector. Their capabilities can also be used to address problems in large-scale manufacturing across the energy sector and in other high-value industries.

MRL

We focus on 10 core research themes:

  • Intelligent machining – New and optimised processes for the machining of large and complex components.
  • Modularisation – Innovative techniques for modular production and assembly of new reactor designs.
  • Laser welding & cladding – High-speed cladding, welding and additive manufacturing.
  • Mechanised arc welding & cladding – Automated techniques for the range of industrial arc processes, in conventional and narrow-groove welding.
  • Ultra thick section joining – Power beam and arc welding techniques for very thick sections.
  • Large-volume metrology – Innovative techniques for contact and non-contact measurement of large parts.
  • Metal powder manufacturing – Near-net shape manufacturing from metallic powder using hot isostatic pressing.
  • Bulk additive manufacturing – High-integrity production and customisation of large metal components.
  • Surface integrity – Understanding and minimising the surface quality effects of manufacturing to reduce the risk of component failure.
  • Visualisation – Virtual and augmented reality for design, simulation, planning and training.

The University of Manchester provides additional manufacturing, testing and analytical facilities, building on the established nuclear and materials expertise of the Dalton Nuclear Institute. For detailed information on resources and capabilities, visit the Manufacturing Technology Research Laboratory.

As well as company-led research, we lead or partner in externally-funded collaborative research projects including those supported by Innovate UK, EPSRC and European Horizon 2020 programme.

To find out more about our R&D capabilities, contact Colin Walters, Nuclear AMRC programme director.