Doncaster-based Polypipe have become the 100th member of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing.
The company, which was founded in Doncaster in 1980, has grown to employ over 3,000 staff globally. It enjoys a market-leading reputation for manufacturing a wide range of plumbing, drainage and ventilation systems for residential, commercial and civil infrastructure and construction.
Polypipe’s membership of the AMRC will allow it to continue to develop autonomous manufacturing methods that will support the company’s expansion into new markets and sectors.
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.
Cameron McLellan, Polypipe’s Managing Director, said: “The AMRC has a reputation for being a centre of excellence for engineering skill and apprenticeship training. The Training Centre was the best choice for us to train the next generation of our engineers, allowing us to invest not only in the young people of the local region, but the continued success of our Doncaster manufacturing base where 1000 members of our staff are employed.
“Becoming a member of the AMRC is a natural extension of the partnership that has been built between us, as Polypipe has grown and expanded into new markets and sectors, so has our partnership with the AMRC.
“The region boasts a concentration of skills in manufacturing and our combined skills in design and innovation complement each other perfectly,” added 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:
“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 whilst retaining the high-repeatability of manufacturing processes we currently achieve.”
The AMRC has enjoyed a recent flurry of companies eager to join as members, with Polypipe bringing the total for 2017 so far to 15 new members. Polypipe has now become a member of a group of 100 global companies, enjoying access to world-leading high-value advanced manufacturing research and state of the art capabilities at the AMRC.
Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the AMRC, said: “It is fantastic that our one hundredth member is a local company. The aim of the AMRC has always been to help the regeneration of this Region so it is particularly pleasing to see a company such as Polypipe working with us to develop new manufacturing techniques and train the workforce of tomorrow.”