Sheffield City Council has approved plans to build Factory 2050 – a £43m centre for advanced manufacturing where satellite-connected robots will work alongside humans.
With construction planned to kick off at Sheffield Business Park in 2015, the Factory 2050 project has an ambition to become the most advanced factory in the world. It will feature cutting-edge technology including 3D-printing, flexible automation, unmanned workspace, off-line printing in virtual environments linked to plug-and-play robotics, man-machine interfaces and new programming and training tools.
“The planning approval represents a real step forward in moving this vital activity to the next level, and giving the City Region the opportunity to further its reputation as a leading force in advanced manufacturing, not just at UK level, but on the global stage,” said Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts
“The application now requires final approval by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and the City Region MPs have collectively written to him to urge a speedy turnaround so that construction can begin as soon as possible on this innovative development.”
Factory 2050, supported by aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus, will build on the experience of the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre opened in 2004.
The University of Sheffield has already signed a deal to secure a total of 50 acres of land at the business park, hoping to facilitate the creation and growth of new hi-tech, advanced manufacturing businesses along the Parkway corridor.
“Over the last decade we’ve seen the enormous impact of the University’s active involvement in advanced manufacturing, creating high quality jobs and hundreds of new opportunities for apprenticeships, as well as attracting some of the world’s best known aerospace and engineering companies to work and invest here,” said Graham Sadler, Managing Director at Sheffield Business Park.
“We’re working hard to make sure that we create the right environment to attract inward investment from high quality businesses, bringing real jobs to the region. The construction of Factory 2050 will send out a clear message of our ambition to maximise the benefit to the City Region of this vital location. Individual sites on the remainder of Phase 2 will be available this autumn and plans are well underway for the speculative development of four high quality production units. These are due for completion in mid-2015, building on the University’s vote of confidence in Sheffield Business Park.”
BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Spirit AeroSystems have also committed to the project.