22nd July 2021

Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) receives funding boost for its innovation initiative



  • UK consortium secures £22.6m in funding for the AMPI Innovation Initiative
  • A £2bn UK export capacity will be created within 10 years establishing over 30,000 high value manufacturing sector jobs
  • Focussed on developing world leading machinery innovation, advanced materials, automation and production capabilities, vital to the future productivity, security, prosperity of the manufacturing sector in the UK economy

A consortium, led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), has secured £22.6m funding for a 5- year innovation initiative, the first for the Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI), which will be based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. This funding has been provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).

AMPI will stimulate and support the rapid growth of the UK’s machinery manufacturing sector as it transitions to highly integrated digital solutions with sophisticated automated and autonomous robotic systems. It will enable invention, realise innovation, and increase the adoption of new machinery and robotics through UK equipment manufacturers.

This SIPF funding provides the stimulus for AMPI in its journey to become a pivotal UK intervention, centred around existing capabilities and research excellence across the North of England. The support provided through AMPI and its partner organisations will provide benefit to businesses across the region, positively impacting direct and indirect local employment, as well as UK industry export.

In the longer term, AMPI is expected to grow the UK’s advanced machinery capability to a £2bn export capacity within 10 years establishing over 30,000 high value manufacturing sector jobs.

As the lead partner in the SIPF-funded initiative, NPL will manage the programme on behalf of the consortium and, as the UK’s National Metrology Institute, will deliver world-class metrology to all participants and projects.

NPL will be working in partnership with Rochdale-based precision machine tool maker Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd), Fives Landis, Wayland Additive, CR Solutions, Rochdale Development Agency, Advanced Machinery & Productivity Initiative Ltd, University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Precision Technologies (CPT), University of Leeds’ Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation, The University of Manchester’s Departments of Materials and Electrical and Electronic Engineering and University of Salford’s Centre for Autonomous Systems & Advanced Robotics (ASAR).

The North of England has an active and high concentration of industrial expertise in the design, development and manufacture of complex machinery. This machinery is used in a wide range of industries to manufacture products such as pharmaceuticals, food and drink, and automotive components. The North of England also has some of the world's leading academics in industrial research, including robotics, advanced materials, automation, metrology and artificial intelligence.

In the first industrial revolution it wasn’t the wool or cotton that made the North of England prosper but the machines and the way the wool and cotton was spun and woven in the mills. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, AMPI and the associated consortium is focussed on developing world leading machinery innovation, automation and production capabilities needed to ensure the productivity, security, and prosperity of the manufacturing sector across Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire and for the UK economy as a whole.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway, “Manufacturing has always been key to creating jobs and spreading opportunity. Today’s £22.6 million investment, which could create up to 560 high skilled jobs across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, shows that as we move into a world where industry adopts more automated and autonomous robotic systems, this is still the case. This investment is part of the Innovation Strategy we have published today, which outlines how we plan to harness the skills and ingenuity of every corner of the UK in order to cement our status as a global Science Superpower.”

Dr Peter Thompson FREng, CEO, NPL “We are delighted to be leading a strong consortium of industrialists and academics who will be working together to develop the next generation of advanced machinery in a region rich in industrial capability and full of future potential. Measurement is vital to all advanced technology and it is particularly important for the accurate and reliable operation of advanced machinery and the quality of its outputs. Measurement is also a critical enabler for business growth, improving efficiency and productivity, providing confidence through verified products and quality control, as well as faster product development. We are ready to apply our world-leading metrology, the science of measurement, to industrial and applied innovation and to provide confidence in the data associated with this by evaluating uncertainty, providing traceability, and enabling reliable decision-making. NPL’s leadership of this programme is a demonstration of our commitment to deliver impact across the UK, supporting the UK Government’s levelling up agenda.”

Gareth Edwards, AMPI Programme Director, NPL “As the lead of this programme I am delighted to be working with such a strong and passionate consortium of experts. Collaboration and partnership will be at the heart of this initiative and we look forward to engaging with the advanced machinery community as we move forward. Through this programme the team will deliver ground-breaking innovation, provide a platform for UK industry to develop its ideas and be a beacon of diversity and opportunity for people coming into the field.

Dr Tony Bannan OBE, CEO of Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd) “Manufacturing is not only a key driver of economic growth, but also an essential part of the UK economy, contributing £192bn per annum. In short, it’s vital we stay ahead of the game. The UK is the world’s ninth largest manufacturer [Source: Make UK, 2019]. Through AMPI our aim is to help ensure UK manufacturing is equipped to lead the way in the creation of tomorrow’s intelligent, integrated manufacturing technologies – as well as the materials those machine tools will use. We believe that the creation of a new, highly accessible centre for innovation in specialised machinery and machine tool technologies and productivity will help put UK manufacturers of all sizes ahead of their counterparts in Europe and beyond, by focusing on the development of advanced manufacturing processes that don’t exist today.”

Councillor John Blundell cabinet member for economy and communications and board member at the Rochdale Development Agency, “As one of the first industrialised towns in Britain and with a reputation for innovation in manufacturing, Rochdale is the ideal location for AMPI,” The institute will generate wealth, improve skills and deliver prosperity for both Rochdale and the North of England.”

Professor Luke Georghiou, the University’s Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for business engagement and commercialisation, has said: “We greatly welcome the opportunity AMPI gives us to work with NPL and our other partners to apply our strengths in advanced materials and related technologies to support leading-edge innovation. Bringing together these capabilities will support manufacturers in driving up productivity and making Rochdale and the North of England more generally a globally competitive hub for the sector.”

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, UK Research and Innovation’s Chief Executive said: "UK Research and Innovation funding through the Strength in Places Fund brings researchers, industry and local leadership together in outstanding collaborative programmes that catalyse significant economic growth. The projects funded in this round are excellent illustrations of how local partnerships in research and innovation can contribute to building an inclusive knowledge economy for the UK."

Press contact
Charlotte Blake
Public Relations Manager
National Physical Laboratory
0773 889 6090
charlotte.blake@npl.co.uk

About AMPI
Driving innovation for the UK’s advanced machinery manufacturers, AMPI will create the new machines and engineers needed to manufacture tomorrow’s technologies. AMPI will be centred around existing capabilities and research excellence across the North of England and reaching across the wider UK, to establish and develop economic growth in the design, development and manufacture of advanced machinery and robotic systems. Providing a safe space, technical resources and the skills pipeline needed for advanced machinery innovation to flourish, AMPI will fulfil a presently unaddressed, yet critical aspect, of the UK’s manufacturing innovation infrastructure. www.ampi.org.uk

About NPL
NPL is the UK’s National Metrology Institute, providing the measurement capability that underpins the UK's prosperity and quality of life.

From new antibiotics to tackle resistance and more effective cancer treatments, to secure quantum communications and superfast 5G, technological advances must be built on a foundation of reliable measurement to succeed. Building on over a century’s worth of expertise, our science, engineering and technology provides this foundation. We save lives, protect the environment and enable citizens to feel safe and secure, as well as support international trade and commercial innovation. As a national laboratory, our advice is always impartial and independent, meaning consumers, investors, policymakers and entrepreneurs can always rely on the work we do.

Based in Teddington, south-west London, NPL employs over 600 scientists. NPL also has regional bases across the UK, including at the University of Surrey, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Cambridge and the University of Huddersfield's 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.

For more information visit: www.npl.co.uk

About Rochdale Development Agency:
Rochdale Development Agency was established in 1993 and is dedicated to driving the economic development and regeneration of Rochdale, Heywood, Middleton and the surrounding areas.

About PTG Holroyd
Rochdale-based PTG Holroyd is an organisation with a global reputation for manufacturing ultraprecise machine tools. The company’s product range includes advanced milling and grinding machines for the production of complex helical components such as compressor rotors, pump screws and high-accuracy gears, as well as the widely acclaimed PTG Powerstir® range of machine tools for friction stir welding advanced alloys used in transport applications, such as the volume production of automotive battery tray floor assemblies for electric vehicles. From production facilities in the UK, USA and China, PTG Holroyd Precision Rotors manufactures the special purpose, ultra-precision helical components used in a wide range of industries, including refrigeration, air-conditioning, gas and vacuum pumping, industrial air handling, aerospace, medical equipment, motion control, power transmission, power generation, oil & gas, fluid transfer and high-end automotive. PTG Holroyd also provides advanced technical consulting services.

www.holroyd.com

About The University of Manchester
Currently ranked 27th in the QS World Rankings, The University of Manchester is the largest singlesite university in the UK with one of the biggest student communities. We are the world’s top institution for social and environmental impact according to the Times Higher Education, in addition to c.£868M of economic impact contributed by our commercialisation activities in the past 15 years. The University’s heritage reflects the pioneering spirit of the original industrial revolution which inspires our modern commitment to drive the industries of the future. Our research includes world-leading expertise in areas that will propel AMPI, including advanced materials and Industry 4.0.

About The University of Huddersfield
The University of Huddersfield has a growing reputation as an inspiring, innovative provider of higher education of international renown. Researchers at the University of Huddersfield are dedicated to solving the problems and answering the questions posed by industry, science and society as a whole. The University's research is showcased by world-leading applied research groups in biomedical sciences, engineering and physical sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities.

The University is recognised as a gold-rated university by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). In 2017, Huddersfield won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award (Higher Education Academy) and is currently joint first in England for professionally qualified teaching staff.

In 2019, the University gained a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the innovative work of the Institute of Railway Research. This followed the 2015 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for expanding global boundaries in new music.

Recognised as a leader in enterprise and innovation, the University has been the recipient of the Times Higher Education magazine’s awards for the University of the Year, Entrepreneurial University of the Year and Outstanding Leadership and Management and also a recipient of a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. The University has been awarded an overall 5 Star rating from QS Stars, which renders the university’s rating as world-class in Teaching, Employability, Facilities, Innovation, Internationalisation and Inclusiveness.

The University annually enrols over 19,000 students to an increasingly multicultural campus that welcomes students from over 120 countries on to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across subjects covering…

…the sciences, engineering and IT
…health, education and the social sciences
…business, management, law and accountancy
…architecture, design, humanities and the arts.

About Wayland Additive
Wayland Additive can boast a combined 150+ years of industrial electron beam manufacturing expertise. The company was born out of a high precision engineering team with a long and distinguished pedigree in the semiconductor industry, where electron beam widths are measured in nanometers and process instabilities are unacceptable. The use of and experience with eBeam technology in semiconductor manufacturing indicated that its use in additive manufacturing could be improved. Thus, since 2015 a team of eBeam experts from the lithography world began to coalesce around solving the single most serious problem inherent in the eBeam AM process, the charging of the powder.

Wayland Additive is enabling high value, mature technology transfer from the semiconductor industry to the AM industry. The company, which has also brought in a wealth of talent from the AM industry, has secured significant initial funding from Longwall Ventures after a period of Innovate UK and industry R&D development funding. The company now exists at the forefront of the development of the most efficient, and accurate metal AM process.

The dedicated and diverse Wayland Additive team works pragmatically with customers on application and material development and repeatability.

About The University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 38,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University plays a significant role in the Turing, Rosalind Franklin and Royce Institutes. We are a top ten university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and are in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2020. The University was awarded a Gold rating by the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017, recognising its ‘consistently outstanding’ teaching and learning provision. Twenty-six of our academics have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships – more than any other institution in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – reflecting the excellence of our teaching. www.leeds.ac.uk