£22.6m for NPL-led AMPI initiative in north England

Rochdale is set to be home to the new Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI) after an NPL-led consortium secured £22.6m in funding for a five-year innovation initiative.

Artist’s impression of the AMPI, slated to open in Rochdale in 2024 (Credit: Fairhurst Design Group)

AMPI will tap into existing manufacturing and academic expertise in the north of England, aiming to grow the UK’s advanced machinery capability to a £2bn export capacity within 10 years, creating 30,000 high value jobs in the process. As well as promoting the adoption of digital solutions across the machinery sector, AMPI will focus on integrating automated and autonomous robotic systems and the development of new machinery.

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Funding for the initiative has been delivered through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI’s) flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF). As the lead partner of the consortium, NPL will oversee the administration of the programme, as well as providing its metrology expertise to participants and projects run by AMPI.

“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,” said NPL CEO, Dr Peter Thompson FREng.

“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.”

The long list of partners working alongside NPL will include 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).

“Manufacturing is not only a key driver of economic growth, but also an essential part of the UK economy, contributing £192bn per annum,” said Dr Tony Bannan OBE, CEO of Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd).

“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.”