New Technology Director targets £5m research fund for AME
The new Technology Director of the UK’s first dedicated ‘faculty on the factory floor’ has set his sights on securing up to £5m of funding this year to help develop the next generation of fuel rails and powertrain systems.
James Simester joins the £32m+ Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) from Jaguar Land Rover and will be responsible for developing new forming, joining, metrology and simulation processes.
He will also be charged with co-ordinating a team of industry 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.
The long-term aim is to develop cutting edge technologies that can be used to give UK industry a competitive advantage in delivering lighter, cleaner and more efficient vehicles.
“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,” explained James.
“The initial focus will be on the automotive sector with the intention of applying the cutting edge research and advanced manufacturing and engineering capability to other sectors, such as aerospace, power generation, oil and gas and rail.”
He continued: “We have the capacity to deliver over £5m of research projects in the first year and we are already well on the way to securing our first two tranches of funding.”
The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering – a collaboration between Coventry University and Unipart Manufacturing Group – is set to pioneer a new higher education model for manufacturing degrees, offering a blend of innovative activity-led teaching, product development and research to create a unique learning environment.
Construction work on the 1,700 square metre, state-of the-art manufacturing and R&D space in Coventry has just started and will be the focal point of training 40+ undergraduates and postgraduates in the first year.
One of the Technology Director’s first tasks was to agree more than £2m of investment in the latest machinery to fit out what is being described as the ‘UK’s first dedicated faculty on the factory floor’.
“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,” explained James.
“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.”
James brings to the role more than 15 years experience of working at Cosworth and Jaguar Land Rover. The Graduate Engineer has secured a number of notable achievements during his career, including gaining process and product approval for the manufacture of engine components and significant involvement in the successful launch of the new Range Rover Sport.