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Embedding transformational and sustainable growth in Welsh high value manufacturing industry

19 August 2016

High-value manufacturing in progress

Cardiff University is a partner in a new £14m EU-backed operation to stimulate transformational and sustainable growth in the high value manufacturing industry in West Wales and the South Wales Valleys.

The operation, entitled ASTUTE (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) 2020, will bring together world-leading expertise from Welsh universities to work with manufacturing industry in Wales to facilitate and support the development and adoption of advanced technologies, increasing competitiveness and driving growth.

The operation has been funded by the Welsh Government’s European Regional Development Fund and the participating higher education institutions. The five-year ASTUTE 2020 project, led by Swansea University in partnership with Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University, and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, will support industrial research, development and innovation using the expertise of world class academics and a team of highly qualified technical experts.

Announcing the launch of the project yesterday, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford commented “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.”

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 ASTUTE 2020.

Professor Rossi Setchi, Leader of the High Value Manufacturing Group at the School of Engineering said: “The ASTUTE 2020 project 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 Cardiff ASTUTE 2020 project team includes a collaborative multidisciplinary group of researchers from across all three colleges of Cardiff University, led by Professor Rossi Setchi from the School of Engineering and supported by co-directors Professor Ian Weeks from the School of Medicine and Professor Mohamed Naim from the Cardiff Business School. The team has already started work on collaborative research projects with several Welsh manufacturing companies.

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

Further information about the operation is available on the ASTUTE 2020 website www.astutewales.com

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