The UK’s machinery manufacturing sector has been given a huge boost after a UK consortium headed by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) secured £22.6m in funding to develop the Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI) in Rochdale, as part of a five-year innovation initiative.

Last October, we revealed in Machinery the development was at the “formative stage”, but the project has now been backed, with funding provided through the UK Research and Innovations’ (UKRI) flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) and the AMPI is aiming long-term to grow the UK’s advanced machinery capability to a £2bn export capacity within 10 years, while establishing more than 30,000 high value manufacturing jobs.

The AMPI will work to develop work leading machinery innovation, advanced materials, automation and production capabilities, all vital to propel future productivity, security and prosperity of the manufacturing industry in the UK.

AMPI programme director Gareth Edwards explains the partnership behind the AMPI SIPF programme is working together already, so in one sense, AMPI is already open for business with plans for a future building now being discussed with Rochdale Borough Council.

“The SIPF award is the first innovation programme for AMPI as it continues its journey to grow the UK’s advanced machinery sector,” he says. “The priority right now is to make sure that the innovation programme is making the impact within the sector that a future building will house and central point from which to grow.”

Dr Tony Bannan OBE, CEO of Precision Technologies Group, explains: “We are hugely appreciative that UKRI and their assessors recognise the importance of automation, machinery and machine tools as a strategic priority in the UK’s economy, particularly as technology develops and we transition to a more digitally integrated and capable society.

“We are thrilled also that NPL and Rochdale’s development arm, RDA, have backed the initiative and put their trust in the AMPI team to support this vital effort."

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