Universities join forces in advanced manufacturing

RMIT and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield have entered into a partnership that will see research collaboration and expertise exchange across advanced manufacturing and engineering.

The two universities will jointly undertake industry-driven research that is relevant to a range of problems in advanced manufacturing.

RMIT vice-chancellor and president Martin Bean said the new international partnership highlighted a combined commitment to world-class advanced manufacturing research.

“Our excellence in aerospace and automotive engineering, and our focus on applied research across engineering materials and advanced manufacturing means that our innovation centres are helping industry to address real-world problems,” he said.

“Through ongoing collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry, we can increase competitiveness, develop new products and build a pipeline of talent and skills.”

British consul general Chris Holtby said it is a great example of two leading universities on opposite sides of the world working together with industry to share knowledge and drive innovation, in line with the UK’s Industrial Strategy.

RMIT and the University of Sheffield have established connections to major international organisations including Boeing, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Airbus and McLaren Automotive, the luxury British sportscar and supercar maker.

McLaren Automotive’s newly opened Composites Technology Centre in the Sheffield region aims to be a world-beater in lightweight composites technology which will see their cars become even more agile as the company moves towards heavier hybrid powertrains for all their sportscars and supercars by 2025.

The two universities are now seen as a blue-print for collaborative research involving universities, academics and industry that has transformed industrial and economic performance by making step changes in productivity, increasing competitiveness, developing new products and processes, and training new talent and skills.

With the University of Sheffield housing the most advanced example of a research and innovation facility for manufacturing in the UK, RMIT has also expressed an interest in working with the AMRC to establish its own ‘factory of the future’ to showcase its engineering capabilities to industry, schools and the local community.

The universities also intend to jointly assist small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK and in Australia in forwarding their research ambitions, with new advanced manufacturing techniques.

Executive Dean of the AMRC Keith Ridgway said with RMIT being a partner of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and the AMRC a partner with McLaren Automotive, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was the perfect backdrop to announce the formation of a high-performance partnership.

“As a global research facility, it is vital for the AMRC to build relations with like-minded engineering and manufacturing institutions around the world, and Australia is the sort of can-do, entrepreneurial place where we can help to make difference,” said Ridgeway.