The University of Nottingham and BAE Systems have formalised a strategic partnership which will see the organisations collaborate on developing new and innovative digital manufacturing technologies.
The University is a recognised leader in Industry 4.0 technologies and has extensive capabilities including additive layer manufacturing, lightweight materials, metrology and digital approaches to design and manufacture, as well as sustainable energy and power management systems.
Applying 4.0 knowledge to BAE’s industry sectors
Professor Andy Schofield, Programme & Technology Integration Director, within BAE Systems’ Air Sector, said: “We’ve had a strong partnership with the University of Nottingham for a number of years, with our teams working closely together to jointly develop next generation manufacturing capabilities that will transform the future of aircraft production. We look forward to deepening our relationship and exploring how the University’s world-class Industry 4.0 knowledge and research capabilities can be applied to other areas of our business.”
Professor Svetan Ratchev, Cripps Professor of Production Engineering and Director of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham, said: “Formalising our strategic partnership will allow us to translate the latest research results into industrial applications, develop new technologies and deliver major societal, environmental and economic impact. It will also provide our students with more exciting opportunities to gain valuable industrial experience, enhance their knowledge and develop their future careers.”
Partnership established through ‘cobotics’
Confirmation of the formal partnership follows a sustained period of successful collaboration in key technological areas such as ‘cobotics’, which enables people and robots to work in co-operation on complex tasks. This partnership originated from the Integrated Autonomous Assembly Demonstrator, a prototyped robotic assembly of aircraft structures and used data from digital designs to optimise the manufacturing processes. The University of Nottingham led this work with input from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
Nottingham, together with the company’s other strategic university partners, are also active in research into sustainability, particularly in energy management. This is of great importance to BAE Systems, with the business setting a target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions operations across its operations by 2030 and will also support the development of sustainable technologies for its customers.
BAE Systems continues to develop its UK university partnerships, with Nottingham becoming the Company’s sixth strategic university partner. This builds on existing partnerships with Cranfield University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Manchester, the University of Southampton and the University of Strathclyde.