New scheme helps small firms tap into AMRC expertise and grow


Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)The AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) of University of Sheffield has secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund for a new programme to assist SMEs across Yorkshire and Humber. IMG develops new ways of automatically assembling complex products to help companies improve their competitiveness.

The programme will offer SMEs free support for consultancy projects lasting two days or worth up to £1,000. Assistance could cover topics such as design and design for manufacture, reverse engineering components to generate Computer Aided Design data and 3D printing. Projects could also include scanning a company’s factory to create CAD drawings that can be used to optimise production lines or plan the introduction of new equipment, advice on automation and metrology.

The new IMG programme comes soon after the completion of a four year ERDF-funded programme to help SMEs and others achieve major business improvements, run by the National Metals Technology Centre (NAMTEC), which is also part of the AMRC. That programme provided a range of support, including a scheme similar to the new  IMG scheme, and was a major success, beating all the targets it was set.

The NAMTEC programme helped more than 110 SMEs across Yorkshire and Humber to create more than 85 jobs and safeguard a further 500 – around double the original jobs targets. Projects spanned the development of new and existing products and processes, the introduction of new materials and the creation of more efficient factory layouts.