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Major boost for Rochdale advanced machinery initiative

A consortium of organisations have secured £22.6 million to drive cutting-edge manufacturing innovations at the planned Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (APMI) in Rochdale.

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AMPI’s aim is to become a pivotal centre of excellence for the design, development and production of complex, intelligent machinery and robotic systems for the manufacturing industry.

Led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the Institute is being developed around the North of England’s existing capabilities and research excellence in advanced machinery, through partners such as the University of Salford’s Centre for Autonomous Systems and Advanced Robotics and Rochdale-based tool manufacturer Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd).

Dr Tony Bannan, CEO of Precision Technologies Group (Holroyd), said:

“The UK is the world’s ninth largest manufacturer. 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.”

AMPI is one of five pioneering projects across the country to receive a share of £127 million through the government’s Strength in Places Fund as part of a new UK Innovation Strategy launched on 22 July.

The £22.6 million backing for AMPI will fund a 5-year innovation initiative, the Institute’s first on its long-term journey to grow the UK’s advanced machinery capability to a £2 billion export capacity and create over 30,000 high value jobs in the region.

Announcing the funding, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:

“Manufacturing has always been key to creating jobs and spreading opportunity. Today’s £22.6 million investment [in APMI], 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.”

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