17 June 2015

  |  CBI Updates Team


AME Institute – the UK's first 'Faculty on the Factory Floor'

Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing have built on their existing relationships to set up a £32m Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) on a Unipart manufacturing site.

AME Institute – the UK's first 'Faculty on the Factory Floor'

The new 1700 square metre building is part-funded by £7.9m from the HEFCE Catalyst Fund. The Institute has been developed to help provide a pipeline of skilled engineering graduates and accelerate next generation powertrain-related technologies for automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, rail and renewables.

Over £2.5m investment in equipment enables new technology in priority areas such as fuel systems and powertrain to be taken through technology readiness levels (TRLs), supporting delivery of new products and research outputs that allow both Unipart and the University to position themselves amongst their world-class peers. The facility houses state-of-the-art robotics and metrology equipment, CNC tube manipulation machinery and simulation software.

A co-located team of university researchers and Unipart engineers work together in AME on projects aligned to Unipart’s technology roadmaps. A professional approach to project management and customer focus, as well as business metrics and KPIs, ensures delivery on commitments for both organisations.

The Institute enables undergraduates to apply theory learned in the classroom by working on live projects on the Unipart shop floor. The experience a graduate might gain from a placement year in industry or in a graduate training programme is embedded throughout the new three-year BEng and four-year MEng courses in Manufacturing Engineering.  There is also a one-year MSc course.

The aim is to ensure that engineering graduates gain the practical experience they need to manufacture products and improve and innovate processes.

Studying at AME is split into two 16-week semesters each academic year, with students focusing on specific industry disciplines and then working in teams to apply what they have learned to commercial shopfloor projects.

Over the course of three years this will include manufacturing processes and materials, quality and metrology, advanced manufacturing and automation, design and sustainability and strategic management. In the final year, they will have the choice to specialise in lean systems and production control or engineering materials and manufacturing technology.

Carol Burke FREng, Managing Director, Unipart Manufacturing Group, explains:

“There is a real buzz in our new facility, with researchers, engineers and students working alongside one another. This will be central to driving change, developing my employees and creating growth in the business through innovation and new technology.”

Wendy Garner, Associate Head, Department of Mechanical, Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering, Coventry University, comments:

“The courses have been designed to meet industry’s need for graduates who can have an immediate impact on the shopfloor and also help to ensure our students gain skills that accelerate their own career paths. The students are learning on cutting-edge technology, not to mention working with Unipart engineers who have years of experience. It’s a real win-win situation for them.”