Sheffield Uni AMRC deal creates manufacturing centre in Oman
19 Sep 2017
The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has launched a project with Oman to create a local version of the AMRC in the Middle East.
AMRC Oman is claimed to be the first such initiative in the Gulf. Under-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Oman, Ahmed Al-Dheeb, said the project will establish a manufacturing research centre of excellence to drive industrial innovation to help Oman build a more diversified economy.
Titled Intaj-Suhar in Arabic, the scheme will be run from Sohar University, the country’s first private higher education institute.
The scheme will focus on advanced machining, specialist assembly, material development, optimised design, rapid prototyping and engineering testing. It will draw these together to support the strategic development in the supply chains of the aluminum, steel, composites and polymer industries.
Professor Barry Winn, vice chancellor at Sohar University and chair of the new Oman AMRC Steering Committee, said: “Our vision is to support the development of the manufacturing sector and enable provision of technology capability in advanced manufacturing through world-class facilities in design, machining, prototyping and proving pre-production.”
Oman is ranked the world’s 19th largest oil producer by the US Energy Information database – one place above the UK with an output of more than 1 million barrels per day.
What we are doing chimes perfectly with their vision of helping Oman become a knowledge nation
John Baragwanath, executive director, AMRC
As a natural gas producer it ranks 26th in the world with an output of nearly 36 million cubic metres in 2011.
In common with other Gulf states, such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the Oman government has sought to offset its dependency upon fluctuating fuel prices by seeking to develop a more diversified economic base.
AMRC executive director, John Baragwanath commented: “As the originators of the AMRC model, we have been able to show them how world-class research can help manufacturers of any size add value to their business by introducing advanced techniques, technologies and processes. What we are doing chimes perfectly with their vision of helping Oman become a ‘knowledge nation’.”
Professor Ghassan al Kindi, director of research and industry collaboration at Sohar University, predicted that the new centre (opening in 2018) would stimulate foreign direct investment by international manufacturers and support the downstream development of high-technology, small and medium enterprises that produce high-value products.
Picture: (l-r) head of the Centre for Continuing Education at Sohar University, Khalid Al Qatiti; AMRC executive director, John Baragwanath; pro vice chancellor for resources at Sohar University, Dr Hamdan Al-Fazari; head of finance at Sohar University, Ali Al Moqbali; vice chancellor at Sohar University, professor Barry Winn; and AMRC major projects development manager Emma Hutton.