University launches £7.5 million Northern Ireland advanced manufacturing technology site
14 Jun 2018
Queen’s University Belfast has opened a new £7.5 million state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing technology facility to boost manufacturing in Northern Ireland.
The collaborative investment is one of the biggest in manufacturing by the university, together with the UK Government and industry partners.
It has been directly supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute.
Current industry partners include RLC Global Point, Moyola Precision Engineering, JW Kane Precision Engineering Ltd, Travan Precision Engineering and Retec Engineering Solutions.
The facility, based at the distinguished Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC), is part of the Centre for Intelligent Autonomous Manufacturing Systems (i-AMS). The centre is pioneering innovation in new technologies for advanced manufacturing.
This streamlined innovation chain is key to enabling competitiveness in Northern Ireland manufacturing
Professor Seán McLoone, director, i-AMS, Queen's University Belfast
Professor Mark Price, pro vice chancellor for the faculty of engineering and physical sciences at Queen’s, described the venture as “a great example of industry, government and academia working in partnership to move Northern Ireland forward”.
Professor Seán McLoone, Director of i-AMS at Queen’s, added the project allowed the university and its collaborators to translate advanced research and new ideas in i-AMS quickly through to application in industry via the NITC.
“This streamlined innovation chain is key to enabling competitiveness in Northern Ireland manufacturing,” he explained.
“With rapid developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) and it coming together with manufacturing Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), we are very aware of the potential impact of embedding this technology in factories of the future. It is game-changing work.”
The facility provides Northern Ireland with an important regional link to the well- established UK High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Research Technology Organisations, as well as the emerging Irish Manufacturing Research Centre.
Professor Mark Price, pro vice chancellor for the faculty of engineering and physical sciences at Queen’s, added: “The advanced manufacturing technology facility at Queen’s will enable the local industry to be more competitive through the optimisation and digitisation of manufacturing processes, including automation.
"It also paves the way for more productive, flexible, resilient, responsive and energy efficient manufacturing systems and associated supply chains. This means we can drive down costs, improve product quality, minimise waste and ultimately increase productivity and competitiveness.”
Photo (l to r): Claire McAlinden, director of operations for QUB engineering and physical sciences faculty; QUB professors Adrian Murphy and Seán McLoone; NITC head Colm Higgins.