Advanced manufacturing research centre opens in North Wales
The £20 million Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru opened in Broughton, providing businesses with R&D opportunities and support.
The centre will be a catalyst for growth and jobs in Deeside, across North Wales and the wider cross-border and Northern Powerhouse region.
It was officially opened by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates.
Mr Drakeford said: “This is a world-class facility, which will be a key driver in bringing the latest research, technology and skills to Deeside and the wider North Wales region.
“The Deeside Enterprise Zone has a strong manufacturing base and this centre will further strengthen its position for the future, sparking innovation and productivity. It will ensure the area is at the forefront of cutting-edge skills in manufacturing.
“AMRC Cymru will be of benefit for generations to come in North Wales and is part of our aim to have a more prosperous and equal Wales.”
The advanced manufacturing research centre will enable businesses to access advanced technologies, helping them to drive improvements in productivity, performance and quality.
Situated in the Deeside Enterprise Zone, it will focus on advanced manufacturing sectors including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food.
The region has a strong manufacturing base and the new centre aims to build on this, driving world-class research and expertise across the supply chain.
Backed by £20 million from the Welsh Government, and managed by the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the centre will spark economic growth by developing innovation, commercialisation and the development of a new generation of skills.
It is predicted the new centre, which will operate a 2000m2 open access research area, could increase GVA to the Welsh economy by as much as £4 billion over the next 20 years.
Airbus will be the first major tenant and will have a platform to develop its next-generation wing technologies aligned to its Wing of Tomorrow programme, which is part of a global Airbus investment in research and innovation.
Colin Sirett, University of Sheffield AMRC CEO, commented: “We share the Welsh Government’s ambition and vision to spark growth and productivity for the area and are very proud of this new addition to the University of Sheffield AMRC’s stable of world-class facilities, which will be a beacon for innovation and advanced manufacturing in Wales and the Northern Powerhouse.
“AMRC Cymru will not only help Welsh industry to develop new capabilities that build on an already rich manufacturing heritage but it will strengthen collaboration between industry and academic partners and put Wales centre stage with a leading role in developing cutting edge research, technologies and skills that are key to boosting productivity and growing the economy.”
Professor Koen Lamberts, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Sheffield, added: “We’re really proud to be working with the Welsh Government on this bold and ambitious project which will help keep Wales at the forefront of wing manufacture and put world-leading research and development at the heart of a vibrant Welsh economy.
“The University of Sheffield AMRC has built a truly global reputation for world-class, industry-focused innovation which drives manufacturing and productivity growth and we’re delighted to be bringing our extensive expertise and experience to Wales.”
Airbus senior vice president Paul McKinlay, head of the company’s Broughton plant, said: “We’re delighted to be the first major business tenant of AMRC Cymru. The facility is world-class and the perfect home for our most significant research and technology programme Wing of Tomorrow.
“The programme will inform the next generation of wings so when we launch a new aircraft programme, we’ll have the technologies and systems ready to design and build the wings at the rate we need them.
“The fact the Welsh Government chose this area to invest in such innovation underlines the value of the business in the region and we look forward to seeing the development of cutting-edge technologies in a range of industries as a result of this.”
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