New Tech Director commits to big AME funding target

The new technology director for the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) will aim to raise £5m for research funding in first year.

James Simester, Technology Director, Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering
James Simester, Technology Director, Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering

James Simester joins the Coventry University-based Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering from Jaguar Land Rover.

The institute, which was founded as a collaborative project by Unipart Manufacturing and Coventry University, will focus on developing new forming, joining, metrology and simulation processes and has been dubbed the “faculty on the factory floor”.

Mr Simester is particularly keen to secure research support for the development of next generation fuels and powertrain systems for the automotive sector.

Simester will coordinate a team of industry experts and professors to work in partnership with research organisations, including the EU Commission, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board.

On his appointment, Simester said he was excited to be joining the institute which he described as “a world class R&D facility that will use the best automation, the best engineers and the best academic minds to create new production lines for fuel rails and powertrain systems”.

The institute has identified a primary focus on the automotive manufacturing sector, but its research will also be applied to other sector in due course.

Talking about the first challenges in his new role, Simester said: “We have the capacity to deliver over £5m of research projects in the first year and we are already well on the way to securing our first two tranches of funding.”

Simester also explained that early tasks have already included the sourcing of key equipment and technologies for the centre costing more than £2m.

“We have just signed a deal to equip the new building with the latest robots, CNC tube manipulation, high pressure test rigs and metrology equipment,” he said.

“This should create one of the most advanced manufacturing centres in the UK and a perfect environment for the next generation of engineers to learn on ‘live’ manufacturing projects that will be immediately used by Unipart and its supply chain.”

The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering represents more than £32m of investment from Unipart Manufacturing and Coventry University.

Construction work for the centre is still underway. The site will cover 1,700 sq m when complete.