Drives and Controls Magazine
£7.5m advanced manufacturing facility opens in Belfast
Published:  22 June, 2018

Queen’s University Belfast has opened a £7.5m advanced manufacturing technology facility, as part of a new Centre for Intelligent Autonomous Manufacturing Systems (i-AMS), which will lead innovation in new technologies for advanced manufacturing. Researchers spanning the disciplines of engineering, computer science, applied mathematics and psychology, will work together in i-AMS to tackle challenges faced by industry and to help make Industry 4.0 a reality.

“The centre and facility are spearheading the computerisation of manufacturing,” says i-AMS director, Professor Seán McLoone. “This includes the use of advanced data analytics, machine learning, intelligent system and autonomous robotics concepts, digital manufacturing and human-robot interaction.

The facility will provide Northern Ireland with a link to the UK High Value Manufacturing Catapult and research technology organisations, as well as the emerging Irish Manufacturing Research Centre. All are helping to bridge the gap between technology concepts and commercialisation.

“Both i-AMS and the new facility are already making a difference to the advanced manufacturing community in Northern Ireland and the UK,” says Professor Mark Price, pro-vice-chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen’s.

From left: Claire McAlinden, Director of Operations for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences; Professor Adrian Murphy; Professor Seán McLoone; and Colm Higgins, Head of the Northern Ireland Technology Centre, all from Queen’s University Belfast.

“The facility allows us to address the challenges that industry is currently facing and plan ahead to meet future needs,” he adds. “It also provides an opportunity to train the next generation of experts in manufacturing.”