The Future Metrology Hub, which has received £40 million in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry, recently launched at the University of Huddersfield.
At the launch event, the Hub’s Director, Professor Dame Xiangqian (Jane) Jiang, said that metrology is critical to modern manufacturing and pledged that the technology she and her colleagues develop in the lab – such as sensors and artificial intelligence control systems – would be geared up for use in the real world of industry.
She stressed the need for inter-disciplinary collaboration across a wide range of sectors. “That is what the Hub is all about,” she said and added that its goal was a transformation in UK manufacturing performance.
The Hub will be based at the university’s Centre for Precision Technologies with other universities – including Sheffield, Bath and Loughborough – contributing research in specialised areas.
The National Physical Laboratory, which has its regional base at the University of Huddersfield, is also a collaborator, and there are 29 industrial partners, including leading firms such as Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, GKN Aerospace, BAE Systems, Siemens, Reliance Precision, Carl Zeiss and Renishaw.
Renishaw’s group engineering director, Professor Geoff McFarland, gave the keynote address at the launch day. He described the trajectory of modern manufacturing, with its “intelligent factories with zero waste and optimal efficiency using automated processes”. Metrology was crucial to this, said Professor McFarland, describing the science as “one of our best manufacturing tools”, and it needed to have a presence on the shop floor.
Renishaw has more than 1,500 patents and patents pending, said Professor McFarland. “But we don’t have all the answers and there are more and more questions. And that is why we are involved with this wonderful Hub.”