Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, officially launched building work on the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC).
Her Majesty donned a set of virtual reality glasses to remotely activate a digger from inside the AMRC's MANTRA (Manufacturing Transporter). MANTRA is a customised lorry and trailer designed to give aspiring young engineers a hands-on experience with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, including a 3D virtual reality system used for product design, simulation and training. The Nuclear AMRC is a new collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester, with the backing of the Government and leading companies involved in building the new generation of civil nuclear power stations. Based on the same collaborative model as the AMRC, the Nuclear AMRC will help UK companies become global leaders in the production of components and systems for the new generation of nuclear power stations.
The Nuclear AMRC building will sit alongside the established AMRC Factory of the Future, on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire. A former colliery site, the Advanced Manufacturing Park is now a national hub for high-technology manufacturing businesses.
The Nuclear AMRC will incorporate 8000 sq m of factory-scale research facilities, aboratories, and office and meeting space. The building is scheduled for completion in Autumn 2011. The manufacturing research facilities in South Yorkshire will be complemented by expanded research laboratories at the University of Manchester.