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  • By Tony Waller
  • In Blog
  • Posted 16/02/2017

It was great to see our partners at the AMRC (the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) making headlines again this week for all the right reasons. Luxury high-performance sports car manufacturers McLaren Automotive have announced a new purpose-built carbon-fibre chassis manufacturing facility next door to the AMRC facility; this strengthens their partnership established in advanced manufacturing innovation, especially in the development of carbon-fibre composites. This incredible centre of excellence is at the heart of so many advances being made in UK Manufacturing - if you haven’t been there yet see if you can make time to attend one of their events!

Representing Lanner at the AMRC I’ve attended several innovation events and been involved in many collaborative projects. Lanner are members of the AMRC, providing leading-edge expertise in the field of simulation technology and its application within an increasingly complex digital transformation agenda., As Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) builds in momentum there is an increasing need for predictive simulation technologies to evaluate the relative merits of new 4.0 technologies and ensure that their implementation maximises positive performance impact.

Lanner are also innovators, so we’ve been working with AMRC from the beginning. Over this period it has been my good fortune to work alongside Dr. Rab Scott, responsible for establishing AMRC’s Virtual Reality capabilities and facilities. This is how Lanner were introduced to our VR technology partner, Virtalis, who we’ve worked with to develop immersive Virtual Reality options which are coupled to our predictive simulation solutions.

Over the years we’ve worked closely with AMRC and UK manufacturing businesses, supporting them with various business transformation programmes which have resulted in mutual business success. A recent example of this is our work with Metalysis, a company transforming the metals industry through a new process that produces metals and alloys at a lower cost and a smaller environmental footprint than traditional processes. Metalysis now uses Lanner predictive simulation to model and improve their manufacturing processes.

The announcement from McLaren is indicative of the momentum and genuine ‘buzz’ that exists around the AMRC today. It’s a vibrant hub of activity with ground breaking ideas and investment. At the end of last year we were also delighted to support the AMRC’s Factory 2050: The Smart Factory conference. This was held at their impressive Factory 2050 building, which is the world’s first totally reconfigurable manufacturing facility, containing a wide range of the latest Industry 4.0 technology demonstrators. The AMRC and their partners are working with UK businesses to educate and innovate around these digital technologies in order to remain competitive amid increasing global competition in every sector. At the event Lanner presented our vision of an increasingly interconnected real and virtual manufacturing world where real-life problems are diagnosed and solved with artificial intelligence and simulation in the virtual world, with decisions being passed back for real-world execution.

AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group is based out of the Factory 2050 building, headed by Ben Morgan, who our COO, Andrew Aitken, has been recently working with to share and extend Lanner’s Industry 4.0 and IIoT technology vision and direction. Another key figure for Lanner has been Professor Sam Turner, the Professor of Machining Practice and Chief Technical Officer of the AMRC, who has been equally supportive.

Beyond the technology and the professional capability of the AMRC team, it’s the supportive, can-do culture that never fails to impress. They’re consistently enthusiastic and energetic about supporting UK businesses to create competitive advantage through the application of manufacturing technology innovation. This can-do culture and attitude that has led to collaborative success and positive results for the businesses we’ve together worked with. I can highly recommend making a call to the AMRC to any UK manufacturing businesses who is currently wondering how to take their first tentative steps towards realising a new digitally-enabled future!

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In December 2015, the AMRC launched its cutting edge Factory 2050 advanced manufacturing research facility. Our revolutionary, glass-walled “reconfigurable factory” is at the heart of the University of Sheffield’s new advanced manufacturing campus on Sheffield Business Park. Factory 2050 is home to our Integrated Manufacturing Group, which is installing the cutting edge manufacturing and assembly technologies, advanced robotics, flexible automation, next generation man-machine interfaces and new programming and training tools that will drive its research.

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