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14 March 2008 PR 08/33

Universities join forces to tackle UK manufacturing challenges

Loughborough has joined forces with the universities of Nottingham and Sheffield to launch a Centre of Excellence in Customised Assembly (CECA) - a leading centre dedicated to improving complex assembly processes for manufacturers.

CECA has been established to provide cost-effective assembly solutions for aerospace, defence, pharmaceutical/medical, device and niche automotive supply chains. It works with UK manufacturers to improve their global competitiveness by using the latest technology to develop cutting edge assembly techniques. This will decrease assembly time, increase accuracy, maximise quality and reduce costs. The initiative is backed by a number of industrial partners including Rolls-Royce, Boeing, the Ford Motor Company and Messier-Dowty.

CECA has three unique Technology Centres that provide services to industry, such as testing, consultancy, hands-on training and R&D projects. Loughborough University is home to the CECA’s Digital Engineering Technology Centre.

Professor Weston from Loughborough’s Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering is leading the University’s involvement in the CECA. He said: “The Digital Engineering Technology Centre at Loughborough is the only centre in the UK that focuses exclusively on assembly improvements. CECA’s pioneering expertise and next generation ‘industry standard’ software tools enable the creation of virtual models to deliver maximum manufacturing and production efficiency, whilst minimising solution realisation, implementation and subsequent operational costs.”

Professor Keith Ridgway, CECA Academic Director and Director of the University of Sheffield’s AMRC with Boeing, said: “CECA is a pioneering collaboration between industry and academia that’s delivering the latest assembly technologies to manufacturers. It’s a ground-breaking example of an industrial-quality research and development facility assisting and enhancing the capabilities of British manufacturing.”

Stephen Burgess, Manufacturing Process and Technology Director at Rolls-Royce Plc, said: “CECA is the type of innovative, demand-led inititive that we want to see coming out of our universities. It is planned that the Centre will provide mature technology that should have a real impact in UK factories and will offer a unique, open-door resource for industry.”

CEAC was officially launched by Perry McCarthy, the Formula One test driver and original ‘Stig’ from BBC’s Top Gear, in February. The launch event was held at the Rolls-Royce Factory of the Future, home to the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing.

During the launch, academic experts in assembly highlighted the fundamental challenges and opportunities facing UK manufacturers and explored how collaborations between industry and academia can develop solutions to increase industrial competitiveness. The launch also included demonstrations of cutting-edge assembly equipment, allowing attendees to see how they might benefit from CECA’s expertise.

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Notes for editors:

  1. For more information on the work of the Centre of Excellence in Customised Assembly (CECA) please visit http://www.ceca-uk.com/

  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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