Boeing soars into Sheffield to see AMRC in action
General manager of Boeing Portland, Dave Hyem and his team recently visited the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), to see first-hand the research and development work that will support operations at Boeing Sheffield when it opens later this year.
The facility is the first to be built in Europe for aerospace giant Boeing, who chose Sheffield based on its longstanding partnership with the AMRC, its skilled workforce and investment in research, training and development.
The R&D programme Boeing has embarked upon with the assistance of the AMRC is developing the new manufacturing techniques that will enhance production efficiency and reduce costs whilst maintaining quality. These game-changing technologies will be utilised in the production of actuation system components for Boeing’s Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX and 777 aeroplanes at Boeing Sheffield.
Head of the AMRC Machining Group, Matt Farnsworth, said the visit was "a great opportunity for the team to see the R&D programme in action" and showcase its successes and goals for the next 18 months, in which the AMRC will continue to support Boeing Sheffield as the manufacturing processes are embedded and matured on site.
The visiting party saw demonstrations of the manufacturing processes and technologies being developed and met with some of the team that will make up the core of Boeing Sheffield’s staff, including some of the Boeing apprentices currently training at the AMRC Training Centre.
James Needham, senior manager of operations for Boeing Sheffield will work closely with Dave Hyem and his team when Boeing Sheffield opens: “It’s great to host the Boeing team at the AMRC; they have been keen to come and see the research work that is underway and understand how the AMRC model of collaborative industry and academic research is so successful.
“The AMRC are maturing the technology and manufacturing processes that will underpin operations in Boeing Sheffield and the AMRC will be able to support Boeing’s ambitions to expand in-house production selective technologies.”
During the demonstrations Dave said it was clear the AMRC had evidenced in perfect clarity how the development of the programme was progressing so Boeing could see the milestones being achieved.
AMRC Project Engineer Beth Cousins and Boeing Apprentice Joel Knowles demonstrated a machining process for one of the components and the gains the AMRC has made by optimising the cycle times for its production.
Beth has also been working with the Boeing apprentices to familiarise them with the machining programmes and capabilities, ready for the start of operations at Boeing Sheffield: “We want them to be straight out of the starting lines when Boeing Sheffield opens, so they can walk through the door on day one and be confident they know the production processes inside out.”
Joel said working with Beth and the AMRC team has given him insight and perspective into the manufacturing processes: “It’s given me a great head start in training and I’ve been able to see how wide in scope the programme of work is that will take place in Boeing Sheffield. It’s exciting to have had the opportunity to be part of the future of such an incredible company as Boeing, straight from school.”
Beth reiterated Joel’s enthusiasm: “The work has been so exciting, not many people get the opportunity to do such vital work and it is satisfying to see it coming to fruition.
“It’s great to see the Boeing team’s interest in the processes being developed from a shop-floor level; everyone is so keen to see the progress we have made.”
Dave added: “Witnessing the research and development programme here at the AMRC that will support Boeing in-house production gives me great confidence that we will be executing a successful plan with Boeing Sheffield, as operations get underway when it opens later this year.
“It was inspiring to meet with some of the team that will form the core of Boeing Sheffield, especially our apprentices; and see their level of capability and passion for the job. It’s been a pleasure to be here at the AMRC and see the work being done.”