An example of a robotics and collaborative research cell at AMRC. (Credit: AMRC)

The AMRC Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) has opened a new facility designed to enable smaller companies to more easily conduct research into machining and assembly technologies on a new ‘reconfigurable factory’ research cell.

Factory 2050 is built for IMG to conduct collaborative research with industrial and academic partners into reconfigurable robotic, digitally assisted assembly and part inspection technologies. The facility is capable of rapidly switching production between different high-value components and one-off parts.

With the introduction of a reconfigurable factory demonstrator, SMEs will have access to a generic research and development cell, where they can work with IMG engineers on manufacturing projects designed to take the risk out of testing new technologies and processes before putting them into production.

The new cell is the result of a previous project conducted by IMG to produce a small scale, totally reconfigurable factory floor demonstrator. That project is now being scaled-up for industrial use into a full-scale production cell with multiple tools, grippers and sensors.

As a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the AMRC is open to work with any business, big or small. IMG want small businesses to think of the AMRC as a sandpit, where they can prove-out automation or robotics, or new manufacturing processes at low-cost and with low-risk.

IMG wants to challenge the perception that robotics, automation, and the introduction of digital manufacturing technologies aligned with the “4th industrial revolution” are just for big businesses with deep pockets.