One of Europe’s largest manufacturers of plastic pipe and fittings, Polypipe, has become the 100th member of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing.
Polypipe hopes its membership of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) will allow it to continue to develop autonomous manufacturing methods in support of its expansion into new markets and sectors.
Founded in Doncaster in 1980, the company now employs more than 3,000 staff globally and manufacturers a wide range of plumbing, drainage and ventilation systems for residential, commercial and civil infrastructure and construction.
The partnership between Polypipe and the AMRC dates back three years, when the company employed its first cohort of apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre. It is now expanding to include research into factory and off-site build of large components for the construction industry.
According to Polypipe’s managing director, Cameron McLellan, the development of the AMRC’s Factory 2050 – the UK’s first research facility entirely dedicated to collaborative research into reconfigurable digital assembly and flexible component manufacturing – was a big draw for the company.
McLellan said working with the team based at Factory 2050, the AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group, will allow Polypipe to expand its support for the construction industry through its network of industrial partnerships:
He explained: “Their expertise in automation, augmented reality and collaborative robotics will provide opportunities for us to explore the horizontal integration of our production processes and how we can satisfy future demand for high-customisation of products; all while retaining the high-repeatability of manufacturing processes we currently achieve.”
The AMRC has enjoyed a recent spate of new members, with Polypipe bringing the total for 2017 so far to 15 new members.
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