Sheffield City Council has approved plans for Factory 2050, a new centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing to be built at Sheffield Business Park.
When built, the £43m building is expected to combine a range of technologies including advanced robotics, flexible automation, unmanned workspace, off-line printing in virtual environments linked to plug-and-play robotics, 3D printing from flexible automated systems, man-machine interfaces, and new programming and training tools.
The development will be built by Sheffield University, consolidating their investment in the original Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Catcliffe. Since the first university building opened there in 2004, four further new buildings and two extensions have been added to provide a current total of around 30,000m2 of accommodation.
In a statement, Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, said: ‘Over the last decade we’ve seen the enormous impact of the University’s active involvement in advanced manufacturing, creating high quality jobs and hundreds of new opportunities for apprenticeships, as well as attracting some of the world’s best known aerospace and engineering companies to work and invest here.
‘The planning approval represents a real step forward in moving this vital activity to the next level, and giving the City Region the opportunity to further its reputation as a leading force in advanced manufacturing, not just at UK level, but on the global stage.
‘The application now requires final approval by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and the City Region MPs have collectively written to him to urge a speedy turnaround so that construction can begin as soon as possible on this innovative development.’
Sheffield University has already signed a deal to secure a total of 50 acres of land at the business park. A detailed master plan for the entire 50 acres will be submitted to Sheffield City Council’s planning department in the next few months.