University to lead multi-million pound sustainable manufacturing project

The University of Huddersfield will spearhead a £13.3m project to help advance sustainable manufacturing, building directly upon the success of its Future Metrology Hub.

The UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has unveiled funding of £11m towards the new advanced manufacturing hub with a focus on metrology – the science of measurement – in a bid to enable net zero manufacturing.

Led by academics at the University of Huddersfield, it will aim to develop ground-breaking technologies to enable advances in capability for process monitoring and control.

A total of £8m will come directly to Huddersfield as part of the new Hub, making it one of the largest research grants the university has ever received. The total value of the project as a whole is expected to reach £24.3m when funding from the consortium and other partners is factored in.

Expert in the field of advanced metrology Professor Dame Xiangqian (Jane) Jiang leads the project, which is based at the university’s Centre for Precision Technologies (CPT) and will run for seven years.

The new hub, which will be known as the Future Advanced Metrology Hub for Sustainable Manufacturing, includes research spokes selected for their specific expertise at The University of Southampton, The University of Oxford, Heriot-Watt University and Queen’s University Belfast.

In addition, the project will involve innovation spokes at catapult centres the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham, as well as the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, which also has a North of England base on campus in Huddersfield.

More than 25 industrial partners, including Renishaw, Machine Tool Technologies (MTT), Taylor Hobson, Cummins and Siemens, are also part of the project.

Metrology underpins the entire scope of manufacturing. Product verification and the constant drive for accuracy, speed, cost, reduced waste, reduced energy usage and enhanced product quality has seen measurement technologies become a crucial tool in enhancing manufacturing sustainability.

Ultimately such advances in metrology have the potential to achieve major changes in autonomous assembly, reducing industries’ reliance on cheap international labour.

Professor Jiang, who is a Professor of Precision Metrology at the university, the chief scientist at the CPT and director of the current Future Metrology Hub, said: “This new Hub brings together a consortium of world-leading experts in metrology to address the significant challenges the manufacturing sector faces in meeting net zero goals.

“The critical mass funding support from EPSRC is a reflection of the consortium’s research strength and capacity to deliver groundbreakingly new technologies.”

Professor Bob Cryan, vice-chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, said: “It is a testament to the research excellence of our team of scientists at the Centre for Precision Technologies that the University of Huddersfield has been selected to be at the centre of advancements in sustainable manufacturing by leading this new Metrology Hub.

“I look forward to the new Future Advanced Metrology Hub for Sustainable Manufacturing and the world-class innovations it will make.”