Clegg aerospace research funding announcement boost for AMRC

21 July 2014

Plans for a £154 million government investment in aerospace research have brought a further boost for The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC).

Airplane wing

The Rotherham-based AMRC is already heavily involved in three of the four cutting edge research programmes, funded through the UK's Aerospace Technology Institute, which will share the cash, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

AMRC Executive Dean Prof Keith Ridgway, CBE, described Mr Clegg's announcement as "a welcome confirmation of long-term funding, which will help to keep the UK at the forefront of the global aerospace sector and will also support the work of the AMRC."

Mr Clegg unveiled the government plans during a visit to the Farnborough International Airshow. He announced a £42 million investment in research led by Airbus into designing, manufacturing and assembling the commercial aircraft 'Wing of the Future,' one of the projects researchers from the AMRC are already heavily involved with.

A further £20 million will go to a project led by Rolls-Royce to explore new ways of creating lighter, greener and more fuel-efficient aircraft engines, while £49 million will go to a project led by GKN to create lighter aircraft structures - two further areas where the AMRC is involved. A further £13 million will go into a programme to help air passengers use the internet and make phone calls more easily.

AMRC Factory 2050

Future developments at the AMRC, including plans to create the Factory 2050 reconfigurable manufacturing facility on Sheffield Business Park and investment in what could be the world's largest titanium casting facility, may also play a significant part in current and future aerospace research.

Factory 2050 is designed to be a key location for developing new manufacturing methods that could determine how aerospace component are made in the future. Plans also incorporate an extension big enough for research into new, more efficient ways of constructing aircraft wings.

Increased use of composites to lower the weight of aircraft will lead to an increase in the use of titanium in airframes in preference to aluminium. That, in turn will create a need to further develop expertise in forging, casting and machining of titanium. The AMRC has already been pushing the boundaries for machining titanium.

Meanwhile, the installation of a 1,000kg titanium melting furnace at the AMRC Cti facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, with backing from industry, will open up new opportunities for research and development in collaboration with aerospace manufacturers.

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