Boost for high value manufacturing in Wales

22 August 2016

Cardiff University experts are set to take a leading role in a new £14m EU-backed operation designed to stimulate transformational and sustainable growth in the high value manufacturing industry in West Wales and the Valleys.

The operation, entitled ASTUTE (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) 2020, is led by Swansea University and brings together expertise from across Welsh universities to support the development and adoption of advanced technologies, increasing competitiveness and driving growth.

Funded by the Welsh Government’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) the operation will boost industrial research, development and innovation using the expertise of academics and highly qualified technical experts.

The Cardiff ASTUTE 2020 operation team is a collaborative multidisciplinary group of researchers from across the University led by Professor Rossi Setchi from the School of Engineering and supported by co-directors Professor Mohamed Naim from Cardiff Business School and Professor Ian Weeks from the School of Medicine.

The team has already started work on collaborative research operations with several Welsh manufacturing companies.

Professor Rossi Setchi, School of Engineering, said: “The ASTUTE 2020 operation is a conduit which will translate world-class academic research into impacts that expand and maintain high value manufacturing in key areas of Wales.”

The future challenges for Welsh manufacturing are many and varied and include: increased adoption of robotics and automation; use of advanced materials; leveraging the internet of things and industry 4.0; embedding innovative new technologies in smart manufacturing processes; and creating resilient supply chains.

These are just some of the key areas that will be addressed by experts supporting ASTUTE 2020.

Launching the £14m project, the Welsh Government’s Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford AM said: “This is yet another example of the importance of EU funds for our economy. Our priority is to get the best deal for Wales in the forthcoming negotiations over the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU. This includes safeguarding all the funding to which Wales has access.”

Paul Davies, CEO of Industry Wales which brings together companies and expertise in key manufacturing sectors including automotive, aerospace and electronics, added: “We welcome this important initiative to assist manufacturing companies in North and West Wales and the South Wales Valleys.”