Aerospace Research Centre at MTC handed over

A £30 million Aerospace Research Centre next to the pioneering Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry has been formally handed over by construction company Wates and Midlands-based project manager Gleeds.

The centre, on the MTC’s Ansty Park site, is set to provide a national facility for ground breaking aerospace research in the heart of the UK. MTC engineers will work with experts from the world’s major aerospace companies on projects which will define aerospace technology for the future.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has provided £15.2 million funding for the new aerospace facility through the Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Innovate UK, formerly the Technology Strategy Board. This investment has been matched by funding from industry.

The Aerospace Research Centre forms part of the MTC’s research and development campus which will also include the MTC’s soon-to-be-completed Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre which will tackle manufacturing skills shortage by training manufacturing engineering apprentices on a sponsored or part-sponsored basis, up-skilling manufacturing engineers, and developing graduate engineers and industrial designers.

The new Aerospace Research Centre is part of an ambitious £90 million expansion plan for the MTC as it embarks on a strategy to lead and establish cultural changes in developing and nurturing the skills needed for future technologies.

The facility, designed by The Fairhursts Design Group, aims to complement the adjoining MTC building – by the same architects – and provide, within an inspiring campus-style setting, a world class environment to develop and demonstrate new technologies and manufacturing processes. The scheme is aiming to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.

The MTC opened in 2011 and is a partnership between some of the UK’s major global manufacturers and three forward-thinking universities: Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough as well as TWI Ltd.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.

MTC chief executive Dr Clive Hickman said the new Aerospace Research Centre will provide a hub for leading edge aerospace research in a real manufacturing environment.

“The existing Manufacturing Technology Centre, the Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy and the Aerospace Research Centre, along with other exciting facilities, will provide a world-class environment to develop and demonstrate new technologies and manufacturing processes on an industrial scale in partnership with industry, academia and Government,” he said.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre’s growth has far exceeded early expectations, hitting many of its targets five years early

Clive Hickman added, “Our incredible growth from a standing start is based on work generated by our growing membership who have shown faith in us to deliver new processes for them, as well the support of our research partners and the commitment of MTC employees. We have developed a strong aerospace, automotive and ICT expertise and we are active across several industrial sectors.”

Gleeds director for the Midlands, Lindsay McCombe said, “Gleeds is a proud member of MTC’s construction management team. The Aerospace Research Centre is a truly inspiring space and offers a unique opportunity for the UK to make its mark on global aerospace technology. Innovation hubs such as this are exactly what we need to support continued economic growth and recovery.”