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Coventry’s ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’ gets a £6m expansion

22 November, 2023

Coventry University has relaunched its Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) with a £6m expansion aimed at helping UK manufacturers on their journeys to a clean, sustainable and digital world. The latest funding – which takes the total invested in AME so far to £18m – adds nearly 2,000m2 of space which is being used for a digital twin pilot environment, a robot testing area, AI and VR stations, laser welders and six new laboratories.

AME was originally born out of a collaboration with Unipart Manufacturing in 2014. Since then, it has completed more than £110m of R&D and commercial projects for companies including Aston Martin, Ford and Lotus, helping to generate more than £500m of economic benefits. Almost 175 companies – including OEMs and SMEs – have been involved in the collaborative work, and more than 400 students have graduated with a combination of real-world shopfloor and classroom learning.

The latest funding includes £5m from the University and a £1m grant from the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

“The AME expansion is more than just physical growth of an additional 2,000m2; it’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to bridging the skills and R&D gap between academia and industry,” says Marcos Kauffman, who is the director of both AME and the University’s Research Centre for Manufacturing and Materials. “From our inception in 2014 to today, AME has consistently aimed to be at the forefront of innovative teaching and research with our Faculty on the Factory Floor model. This expansion is a beacon of our dedication to nurturing industry-ready talent, while also fostering pioneering research that helps solve everyday issues.

“We are more energised than ever to open our doors to the wider manufacturing and engineering supply chain in the West Midlands, giving them access to world-class facilities, equipment, and experts. Together, we will support the UK’s collective journey into a clean, sustainable and digital world.”

AME has spearheaded innovative projects that have enhanced precision and efficiency in UK production using cutting-edge manufacturing technologies. For example, its expertise has been pivotal in crafting lightweight, eco-friendly products and methodologies, and has helped create high-volume fuel rails that are now exported from Coventry to China and other parts of the world.

The extended AME facilities include robotic laser processing equipment

“With this launch, we’re not just unveiling a state-of-the-art facility, but also setting the stage for the next generation of engineers, innovators, and clean technologies,” says Coventry University’s vice-chancellor, Professor John Latham. “AME’s vision has always been about creating transformative solutions for the industry and pressing social challenges. With this expansion, we’re poised to increase our reach and have an even greater impact on students, industry, and the local economy.”

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