Boost for Rochdale manufacturing Institute

Boost for Rochdale manufacturing Institute
Posted on August 12 2020

Plans to create an Advanced Machinery and Productivity Institute (AMPI) in Rochdale have been brought a step closer after being included in a UK-wide list of 17 projects.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in partnership with Rochdale Development Agency, Milnrow-based PTG Holroyd Precision, the University of Huddersfield and University of Salford, have secured £50,000 early-stage funding for the AMPI in Rochdale through the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).

The institute will drive innovation for the UK’s advanced machinery manufacturers and will generate around 660 new direct jobs and 530 indirect jobs across the region.

Tony Bannan, CEO of Holroyd and Precision Technologies Group, has long campaigned for the creation of an Institute in Rochdale to meet the rising skills gap facing manufacturers.

He said: “Our ambition is for AMPI to become a practical, accessible and potentially transformative resource for regional and national manufacturing companies – of all sizes. If your company needs machines, new technologies, advanced processes or integrated systems to make your products, or if you need targeted innovation and skills to improve productivity and competitiveness, then AMPI will help you.”

Paul Ormerod, chairman of the Rochdale Development Agency, said he was delighted at the news. “As a forward-thinking and innovative manufacturing location, Rochdale is pleased to have been a long-term collaborative partner of the AMPI,” he said. “We recognise that the institute will be the catalyst that drives a manufacturing technology revolution. It will foster the innovation that will generate wealth, improve skills and deliver prosperity for Rochdale and North of England.”

AMPI is seen as a potential catalyst for an innovation district which could be located at Kingsway Business Park. The industry-led project has the support of Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Manchester architects Fairhursts Design Group have advised the team and produced an artist’s impression of what the new facility might look like.

The £50,000 seed funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is seen as crucial because it could potentially unlock up to £50m once the project has been fully delivered.

The AMPI will provide a safe space, technical resources and the skills pipeline needed for advanced machinery innovation to flourish.

Its skills focus will provide a channel for local education providers to develop a sustained cohort of skilled staff. They, in combination with the more resilient and innovative supplier base, will make the region a more attractive place for inward investment.

National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL) head of engineering, Paul Shore, added: “The AMPI initiative is a direct response to the need for the UK to improve its productivity. AMPI will support UK companies in developing machinery and automation products. It is these intelligent production systems that will facilitate UK productivity improvement through greater digitisation and automation within our future manufacturing landscape.”

UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund is a pathfinder programme investing in research and innovation projects to boost research and innovation capacity in specific areas of the UK, driving economic growth in those areas. The AMP Institute will engage with over 40 companies across the region, with more being added nationwide, and work in partnership to improve the resilience of UK Advanced Machinery Manufacturing innovation and supply chains.

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