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£4m research funding boost for Welsh manufacturing sector

Credit: Astute

Manufacturing businesses across Wales can remain at the forefront of innovation, thanks to £4 million of EU funding announced by the Welsh Government.

The extra support will build on the success of Wales’ top higher education Institutions industry-led research partnership by extending the ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation.

Led by Swansea University in collaboration with Aberystwyth University, Cardiff University, the University of South Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, ASTUTE 2020 has been collaborating with industry for ten years, delivering high impact demand-led research, development and innovation within the manufacturing sector across Wales.

Thanks to the additional funding from the European Regional Development Fund, ASTUTE 2020 can continue to support businesses until September 2022.

ASTUTE 2020’s world-class academics and highly qualified technical experts utilise a multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses research, latest innovations, specialist expertise and state-of-the-art facilities.

The team supports businesses to de-risk and implement change, exploit new and existing opportunities and develop sustainable products and services through integrated application of knowledge, information, equipment, materials and people.

Professor Johann Sienz of Swansea University, ASTUTE 2020 Operation Director, said:

“The uniqueness of ASTUTE 2020’s support is aimed at meeting the industrial need of improving the use of resources through manufacturing processes and managing the supply chain of products and services.

Our longevity is a testament to the manufacturing sector, embracing the importance of research and collaboration. The additional funding will provide the manufacturing industry with vital access to impactful partnerships between academia and industry.” 

Minister for Economy, Transport, and North Wales, Ken Skates, said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has shown how incredibly important it is our manufacturing sector has the support and resources it needs to adapt its processes and operations as required.

“I am delighted this funding will support the sector and am confident it will help us find important, innovative solutions as we continue to navigate this public health crisis and shape life after it.”

Most recently, FSG Tool & Die Ltd. based in Rhondda Cynon Taff collaborated with the ASTUTE 2020 team with great success, further developing the company’s understanding of manufacturing aluminium food containers.

FSG Tool & Die, Managing Director, Paul Byard, said:

“ASTUTE 2020 has helped FSG to develop forming tools to effectively produce aluminium foil trays consistently. The Computational and Design of Experiments approach has advanced our knowledge to understand certain design limitations, minimise variation and improved the manufacturing process.“

The ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation, supporting manufacturing companies across Wales, has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the participating Higher Education Institutions.