TotalDecom supply chain networking

20 November 2018, AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre.

The Nuclear AMRC is teaming up with TotalDecom to offer the perfect platform for manufacturers to network with supply chains which seek their skills and expertise.

TotalDecom supports collaboration and the cross-fertilisation of knowledge, innovation and skills across all sectors faced with a decommissioning responsibility – including nuclear, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, renewables, defence and space – with webinars and events across the year.

This supply chain networking event will be a great opportunity for manufacturers to:

  • Learn –about what’s going on across the decommissioning industries , new innovations and technology in the nuclear supply chain, and where there might be potential to win new business.
  • Connect –the supply chain exhibition will provide a fantastic networking opportunity, bringing together organisations actively looking to solve some of the world’s most difficult technical challenges  with the businesses that can.
  • Do business – pitch your company to influential organisations with our one-to-one appointment slots.
  • Diversify –many of the skills and expertise required to decommission an asset safely, cost effectively and with minimal impact on the environment are remarkably similar across all sectors – learn about how you can take your skills & expertise into new and exciting areas.

For more information and to register, go to TotalDecom Supply Chain Networking Event.

DIT nuclear events

October 2018.

The Department for International Trade is inviting UK manufacturers to join a series of upcoming nuclear industry events and missions. The events offer a great way to find out more about export opportunities and make new contacts in key nuclear markets across Europe.

The events include:

Click the links to download full information from DIT.


Disk laser cell open day

2 October 2018, Rotherham.

The Nuclear AMRC, Cyan Tec Systems and Trumpf invite industry to discover the latest advances in welding technology and explore a state-of-the-art 16kW laser cell.

The Nuclear AMRC is leading research in high-performance welding techniques for the most demanding industries. The centre recently invested in a 16kW disk laser system designed and built by Loughborough-based Cyan Tec Systems, a robotic and laser specialist providing advanced manufacturing systems across a diverse range of high-tech sectors including nuclear, aerospace and automotive.

The system includes a high-tech Trumpf 16kW solid state disk laser, which minimises heat distortion and thermal stress to achieve high-quality welds for stainless steel, aluminium, titanium and alloy products. The Cyan Tec laser cell at the Nuclear AMRC is now driving forward advanced welding applications in industries including nuclear, marine and aerospace.

The open day offers the opportunity to learn about the latest advanced welding techniques, talk to Cyan Tec engineers and Nuclear AMRC researchers, and see the disk laser cell in action.

This event onTuesday 2 October is designed for manufacturers who are considering incorporating advanced laser solutions into production lines, as well as nuclear decommissioning organisations who could benefit from the latest advances in laser technology.

The open day is free to attend for relevant businesses, but numbers are limited. Please register now for either the morning session (9.30–12.30) or afternoon session (1–3.30) to ensure your place.

Rahul enters Great British Bake Off

An engineering researcher at the Nuclear AMRC is taking part in The Great British Bake Off.

Dr Rahul Mandal, a research associate specialising in light-based measurement of engineered components, started baking cakes for colleagues at the Nuclear AMRC only two years ago. He is now a contestant in the 2018 series of the hit baking competition, broadcast on Channel 4 from 28 August.

Born in India, Rahul came to the UK in 2010 on a scholarship to study for his PhD in optical metrology at Loughborough University. He joined the Nuclear AMRC in 2015, to develop innovative automated techniques for inspecting components for any contamination or flaw. “It’s all about measuring things with light,” he says.

Rahul has expanded his research skills, and now works with other light-based measurement technologies including confocal microscopy and interferometry for weld inspection.

Five-year funding for HVM Catapult

The government has confirmed ongoing funding for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network of industry-led research centres, including the Nuclear AMRC.

The HVM Catapult consists of seven specialised R&D centres, and aims to improve the UK’s performance in translating the strengths of its world leading research base into the goods and processes which equip the UK’s high value manufacturers for success in challenging global markets.

Dick Elsy, chief executive officer of the HVM Catapult, said: “The HVM Catapult is perfectly placed to make a full contribution to a successful UK industrial strategy. In our first six years of operation we have established a proven track record, generating investment in R&D and driving improvements in manufacturing productivity and competitiveness. The five-year funding package announced today allows us to build on our early successes, broadening our productivity impacts while equipping British firms with the manufacturing innovation they need to compete in uncertain and challenging international markets. Our support has never been more needed.”

The Nuclear AMRC will receive around £46 million funding over the next five years. The funding will allow the centre to expand its services to UK manufacturers, and develop new capabilities at its research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, as well as its specialist R&D facilities in Birkenhead and Derby.

“Our Catapult funding gives us a secure base to expand our services to UK manufacturers, and work with even more companies to help them innovate and compete,” said Andrew Storer, chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC. “We are set to play a key role in delivering the nuclear sector deal agreed by government and industry earlier this summer, and are investing in our facilities in Rotherham, Birkenhead and Derby to help UK manufacturers win work in the nuclear supply chain at home and worldwide.”

Its sister centre at the University of Sheffield, the original Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), will receive around £81 million funding over five years. Since its launch in 2001, the AMRC has expanded to include three research facilities at the Advanced Manufacturing Park and Sheffield Business Park, and is now establishing new regional facilities in the North West and Wales.

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive dean for the two centres, said: “This is a tremendous vote of confidence in the work we do with our industrial partners, and another significant boost for the Sheffield City Region and its emerging Global Innovation Corridor.

“As members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, we are part of a larger network of research and innovation assets that are helping to solve the conundrum of the UK’s productivity challenge. Our ability to draw on the research excellence of the University of Sheffield also gives us an additional edge. It means we are able to connect fundamental and basic science to translational research that makes a bigger impact on the factory floor.

“The new money will enable us to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies across advanced manufacturing, in line with the Industrial Strategy and Juergen Maier’s Made Smarter Review. It shows joined up thinking at the heart of government and a determination to rebalance the economy with advanced manufacturing at its heart, supported by some of the best researchers in the world: here in the Sheffield City Region.”

Under the Catapult funding model, each centre will match its core funding with commercial investment from companies which work with the centres to develop innovative technologies and improve their competitiveness, and from externally-funded collaborative R&D projects.

The funding is part of a £780 million investment across the Catapult network of technology and innovation centres. The funding was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, during a visit to another of the centres within the HVM Catapult.

“It is by backing innovative British companies to grow and create jobs that we will continue this progress and build an economy fit for the future,” Hammond said. “Today’s £780 million investment will support innovators across the country to create the technologies of the future, and the better, highly-paid jobs we urgently need.”

The £780 million investment also includes funding for Catapults focusing on technology areas including Energy Systems, Offshore Renewable Energy, Cell & Gene Therapy, Satellite Applications, and Compound Semiconductors.

Minister welcomes new Derby facility

The Nuclear AMRC’s new Derby facility has been welcomed by government as aligning with the aims of the £200 million nuclear sector deal.

The Nuclear AMRC is initially taking space in the iHub facility at Derby’s Infinity Park, to explore innovative technologies while it develops the case for a new full-scale bespoke facility.

The new facility will complement the capabilities of the Nuclear AMRC’s core research factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, and its modularisation R&D facility in Birkenhead, and help expand the centre’s capabilities into new technology areas.

Industry and energy minister Richard Harrington MP welcomed the expansion as great news for the Midlands Engine initative to grow the region’s economy.

“This latest cutting-edge facility in Derby will further boost the future ambitions of the area to lead the way in the UK’s efforts to upscale and innovate, creating top-tier modern jobs for Midlands Engine workers,” Harrington said. “Following the recent announcement of the landmark £200 million nuclear sector deal supported by both government and industry, it again demonstrates the UK’s advanced manufacturing and technology as part of our forward-thinking modern industrial strategy.”

The centre is now kitting out two workshops within iHub, plus office space, and planning a launch event for regional businesses in October.

The larger 500m2 workshop will be a flexible incubator for new manufacturing technologies, operating at an earlier level of manufacturing readiness than the Nuclear AMRC’s other facilities. It will host a series of reconfigurable manufacturing bays where advanced physical and digital equipment can be configured to meet the needs of industry customers who want to explore and develop new technologies and processes.

The second 290m2 workshop will develop the centre’s capabilities in new technical areas including electrical controls and instrumentation (EC&I) and equipment qualification. The Nuclear AMRC is working closely with member company Ultra Electronics to bring the same innovative collaborative approach to the UK’s EC&I requirements as its Rotherham facility brings to the challenges of large-scale mechanical engineering.

The iHub facility is just the first step for the Nuclear AMRC’s plans for Derby. The centre proposes to build a new bespoke research facility of around 5,000m2 on Infinity Park to focus on later-stage development in technology areas which will deliver the maximum impact for the UK’s nuclear supply chain.

Nuclear AMRC chief executive officer Andrew Storer says the development will combine the strengths of the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse to put both regions at the centre of the development of a cost-effective, sustainable energy base for the UK economy.

“At Rotherham, Birkenhead and Derby, we will be critical to delivering the nuclear sector deal,” Storer said. “We will work with our industry and research partners to demonstrate the benefits of advanced techniques and technologies for manufacturers of all sizes. We will also be instrumental in delivering the new national programme to enhance the capabilities of the UK’s supply chain.

“As part of our hugely successful Fit For Nuclear programme, we have already helped dozens of Midlands-based manufacturers raise their game and move up the value chain. The sector deal makes it clear we will also be integral to the new national programme to enhance the capabilities of the UK’s supply chain, expanding our established work and building on the success of the Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth programme.”

The Nuclear AMRC also recently signed new agreements with global clean energy group CGN, to support the group’s development of a UK supply chain for its proposed new reactor at Bradwell in Essex; and with leading nuclear engineering group Assystem, to collaborate on joint research projects involving advanced modular reactors, including small modular reactors, and other innovative nuclear technologies.

CGN and Nuclear AMRC reach memorandum of understanding

CGN, the global clean energy company, has concluded an agreement with the Nuclear AMRC to help deepen links between the company and the UK nuclear supply chain.

The wide-ranging memorandum of understanding (MOU) covers areas including the supply chain model to be utilised by Bradwell B, and how UK businesses can prepare themselves to participate in the project; how British companies and universities can add value to CGN nuclear operations in China and elsewhere; and how links can be built between Chinese companies and academic institutions and their counterparts here.

CGN plans to deploy its HPR1000 reactor technology at Bradwell in Essex, and is also co-investing with EDF Energy on its EPR development at Hinkley Point. The HPR1000 is currently undergoing the generic design assessment (GDA) for deployment in the UK, and is under construction at Fangchenggang in China (pictured below), the reference plant for Bradwell B.

The MOU is an example of the cooperation and sharing of knowledge and experience agreed under the UK’s new nuclear sector deal.

Zheng Dongshan, CEO of CGN UK, said: “This significant agreement with the Nuclear AMRC paves the way for our two organisations to develop the UK supply chain. It also will help to ensure that British companies are given the best possible opportunity to benefit from our planned investments in the UK nuclear fleet, and specifically our plans to build a new power station at Bradwell.

“The MOU also covers knowledge-sharing between the nuclear industry and academic institutions in the UK and in China.  Deeper relationships in these areas will enable us to learn from the best practice on both sides, including CGN’s experience of consistently delivering new power stations safely and efficiently, which ultimately will help us together to deliver projects successfully here and elsewhere.

“CGN is committed to the UK for the long-term, both in terms of our plans for new nuclear and our existing and future renewable energy projects.  We have made clear that we intend to become a major and credible industrial player in the UK – and this agreement is a big step forward towards that goal.”

Andrew Storer, CEO of the Nuclear AMRC, said: “We’re delighted to sign this agreement with CGN, and look forward to strengthening our relationship for the benefit of UK manufacturers of all sizes.

“Working with CGN will allow us to help UK manufacturers make the most of the opportunities at Bradwell B. We have already helped hundreds of UK companies prepare for nuclear opportunities through our Fit For Nuclear and Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth programmes – by working with CGN to understand their requirements in terms of quality and cost, we will be able to help UK manufacturers qualify, identify suitable opportunities, and win work at Bradwell.

“Our collaboration will also help UK companies and organisations access opportunities in CGN’s operations in China and worldwide, supporting exports and sharing best practice internationally. It’s a great example of UK industry and academia working with the global top tier for the benefit of all, in line with the aims of the new nuclear sector deal.”


Nuclear AMRC welcomes sector deal

The Nuclear AMRC has welcomed the launch of the nuclear sector deal, part of the UK government’s industrial strategy.

Andrew Storer, chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC, says: “We welcome the nuclear sector deal, which represents a landmark agreement between government and industry to reduce costs and increase productivity across the UK nuclear sector.

“This deal will benefit manufacturers in all parts of the nuclear supply chain, and maximise the economic opportunity from clean growth. It will support innovation and technology transfer between sectors, helping companies increase their productivity and competitiveness, and reduce barriers to entry for manufacturers moving into nuclear from other sectors such as oil & gas or marine engineering.

“Here at the Nuclear AMRC, we will have an important role to play in delivering the deal. We will work with our industry and research partners to demonstrate the benefits of advanced techniques and technologies for manufacturers of all sizes. We will also play a leading role in the new national programme to enhance the capabilities of the UK’s supply chain, expanding our established Fit For Nuclear programme and building on the success of Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth.

“As well as supporting the deal’s headline cost reductions of 30 per cent in nuclear new build and 20 per cent in decommissioning, our work will be central to the national effort to create or sustain up to 12,500 jobs across the UK, and secure up to £2 billion domestic and international contracts by 2030. We’re already working with international partners such as in the United Arab Emirates and South Korea, and with global reactor vendors, to identify export opportunities for the UK supply chain.”

The new £200 million nuclear sector deal is designed to secure the UK’s diverse energy mix and drive down the costs of nuclear energy meaning cheaper energy bills for customers.

It includes a £32 million boost from government and industry to kick-start a new advanced manufacturing programme, including R&D investment to develop potential world-leading nuclear technologies like advanced modular reactors, plus up to £30 million for a new national supply chain programme.

The deal also includes a commitment to increasing gender diversity with a target of 40 per cent women working in the civil nuclear sector by 2030.

For more information, see the BEIS press release.

Assystem signs agreement with Nuclear AMRC

Assystem and the Nuclear AMRC have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on joint research projects involving advanced modular reactors, including small modular reactors, and other innovative nuclear technologies.

The agreement expresses the common intention to collaborate on research related to improving the cost effectiveness, safety and supportability of future nuclear plants.  This will include Assystem and Nuclear AMRC combining cutting-edge digital design and highly advanced manufacturing techniques.

Assystem, one of the top three nuclear engineering companies worldwide, brings over 50 years’ experience across nuclear power plant design, build, operation and support, and works with a range of OEMs, constructors and operators.

The Nuclear AMRC, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, combines the knowledge, practices and expertise of manufacturing companies with the capability of universities. Since its launch in 2012, it has developed and consolidated its position at the heart of the UK’s civil nuclear manufacturing industry.

Assystem and the Nuclear AMRC believe that advanced modular reactors (AMRs) have the potential to make a big impact on the future of energy production in the UK and globally. The joint research programme will initially focus on exploring the synergies between Assystem’s capabilities in advanced systems engineering and digital asset management, and Nuclear AMRC’s research into novel manufacturing technologies.

It is expected that a cross-fertilization between the two entities will create a new body of knowledge that will attract young talents in the nuclear industry and accelerate the development of the AMR business. The projects will consider how improvements can be delivered at the system level as well at the component level.

The agreement commences on 27 June 2018 and continues for five years.

Robert Plana, Assystem’s chief technical officer, said: “We are proud to be contributing to the future of the nuclear industry. Our commitment to participate in research is a clear fit with Assystem’s nuclear development strategy in the UK, France and internationally. The agreement we have signed strengthens our position in the worldwide nuclear industry and opens up new opportunities for working with other key players in the industry.”

Professor Steve Jones, the Nuclear AMRC’s chief technology officer, said: “We are delighted to work with Assystem to support the design and manufacture of a new generation of nuclear plants. New reactor designs present a great opportunity to use advanced manufacturing technologies to reduce cost and ensure construction to schedule, while sustaining the highest integrity and safety levels demanded within our industry. Combining our knowledge and capabilities will underpin and accelerate the innovative technology themes we are already working in that encompass joining, machining, modularisation and inspection.”

Real impact from Fit For Nuclear

More than half of manufacturers taking part in the Nuclear AMRC’s Fit For Nuclear programme are confident of winning new nuclear work this year, a new survey has found.

The latest survey of companies which are currently progressing through Fit For Nuclear (F4N), or are already granted, shows that most are confident of winning new business and have seen real benefits from the programme. In all, 89 per cent of participating companies would recommend F4N to other manufacturers.

F4N is a unique service which lets manufacturers measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry – in new build, operations and decommissioning – and helps them take the necessary steps to close any gaps. F4N is delivered exclusively by the Nuclear AMRC, and supported by top-tier partners in nuclear new build and decommissioning.

More than 680 UK manufacturers have now taken the initial F4N online assessment, with most receiving ongoing support from the Nuclear AMRC’s industrial advisors and nuclear specialists. Completing the programme requires commitment and drive from senior managers, and typically takes 12–18 months.

Almost all of the 116 companies who responded to the survey are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with more than half still working towards being granted F4N.

Around a third of respondents said it was too soon to report demonstrable benefits. Of the others, more than 60 per cent reported improvements in HSEQ measures, and more than half reported increased confidence and greater awareness of the nuclear market.

Despite divided views on the general economic climate for manufacturing, more than 90 per cent expect their turnover to grow in the next year, with 57 per cent confident of winning new work in nuclear.

Many have already secured new nuclear orders, and others say that the F4N process has helped them win work in other sectors. However, new entrants to the nuclear supply chain say they face significant obstacles to winning work – 64 per cent of respondents said that connecting with potential buyers was one of the biggest challenges, and 54 per cent said they lacked awareness of opportunities.

The survey results will be used in the continuing development of the F4N service to provide additional value to manufacturers. The programme was expanded in late 2017, with additional post-granting support to help companies maintain their journey of business excellence. The new F4N Connect online searchable directory of granted companies was launched in December, with five companies saying they have already received enquiries from it.

“While we are pleased with the progress that has been made, we recognise the ongoing challenges that our F4N community face, and we welcome all constructive feedback,” says Ian Williams, the Nuclear AMRC’s recently appointed head of supply chain development.

“F4N companies continue to report a lack of real commercial opportunities to break into the nuclear sector, or to develop relationships within the nuclear supply chain. We are working hard to address these concerns, and are developing new capabilities in nuclear sector demand modelling to map out commercial opportunities and how UK companies can align their planning and strategies to best position their offering.”


What manufacturers say about F4N

“F4N has made us take a good look at ourselves. It has helped us improve our business, health, safety and environment. It has also helped us to build a continuous sustainable improvement plan that is realistic.” – Tanya Brennan, Polycast.

“We are such a better business as a result of the investment.” – John French, IT4Automation.

“Overall this has been a fantastic scheme which has certainly helped to develop and improve the business. I am hopeful that more recent developments, such as the F4N Connect portal, will improve our chances of winning work in the nuclear sector.” – Roger Kimber, Strata Technology.

“All aspects are very useful and are helping to improve our business.” – Peter Bruch, AE Aerospace.

“The F4N programme has improved our company in many areas. This has provided benefits with the potential increase in business within the nuclear sector, and given confidence to clients in other areas.” – Paul Bunn, S+H Systems.

“We would recommend F4N to manufacturers wanting to go beyond the standard. The company reorganisation has improved the efficiency of the company for all customers, and was well worth completing even if nuclear work is not the end aim.” – Brian Kermode, WKW Precision Engineering.