Storem [Flickr user], via Wikimedia Commons
James Simester wants to develop advanced manufacturing for fuel rails and power trains.
The new Technology Director of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) in the UK has announced he has his sights set on major investment that could further the development of additive manufacturing technologies in automotive and aerospace applications.
James Simester has joined the £32-million AME from Jaguar Land Rover and has targeted £5 million in funding into exploring advanced methods of producing fuel rails and powertrain systems.
Simester's responsibilities extend to coordinating a team of experts and professors to work in partnership with research organisations, including the EU Commission, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
"I'm very excited about joining AME and playing a role in creating a world class R&D facility that will use the best automation, the best engineers and the best academic minds to create new production lines for fuel rails and powertrain systems," Simester explained.
"The initial focus will be on the automotive sector with the intention of applying the cutting-edge research and advanced manufacturing and engineering capability in other sectors, such as aerospace, power generation, oil and gas, and rail.
"We have the capacity to deliver over £5 million of research projects in the first year and we are already well on the way to securing our first two tranches of funding."
Simester's long-term aim is to drive advanced manufacturing research, bringing the leading technologies of the future to British industry, giving the UK a competitive advantage in delivering lighter, cleaner and more efficient vehicles.
AME is a collaboration between Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing Group and the organisation is set to pioneer a new higher education model for manufacturing degrees, offering a mix of innovative, activity-led education, product development and research, forming a unique, hands-on learning environment.
Construction on the education facility and research and development space in Coventry has begun. The 1,700 sq m space will be the focal point for training more then 40 undergraduate and postgraduate students in its first year.
One of Simester's first tasks as Technology Director was to secure more than £2 million in investment in the latest machinery to fit the so-called 'first dedicated faculty on the factory floor' in the UK.
He said: "We have just signed a deal to equip the new building with the latest robots, CNC tube manipulation, high pressure test rigs and metrology equipment.
"This should create one of the most advanced manufacturing centres in the UK and a perfect environment for the next generation of engineers to learn on 'live' manufacturing projects that will be immediately used by Unipart and its supply chain."