Regional expertise in a range of cutting edge manufacturing and material technologies is in abundance. This includes high performance machining, near net-shape casting and forming, material joining, surface engineering, composites, laser deposition, bio-materials and ceramics. Companies that have the capacity to manufacture high value, precision technologies making products and components lighter, stronger or faster will be supported by one of the most renowned engineering centres in the world.
Innovation has always been strong in the region, and there is a huge amount of support for research and development. Nine internationally renowned universities offer a wealth of expertise and comprehensive facilities, and collaborate closely with the industry on commercially-focused enterprises. These universities also produce over 11,500 engineering graduates and postgraduates each year, ensuring businesses can tap into a highly-skilled workforce. New investors to the region and start-up businesses are supported by the comprehensive regional supply chain infrastructure of sub contractors and suppliers.
The region is home to several leading centres of excellence including the Advanced
Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the most advanced facility for materials cutting technology in the world. The Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), now acknowledged as the UK’s premier advanced manufacturing technology park, provides world-class solutions to provide advantages for industry. For example, a recent breakthrough at the AMP produced a new titanium alloy, used in the landing gear of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
Businesses around the world have already recognised the importance of the Yorkshire and Humber’s expertise in metals and alloys. Over 170,000 industry specialists, 1,400 engineering companies and world leaders in the sector such as Corus and BAE Systems already have facilities in the region.
The strengths of Yorkshire and Humber’s advanced engineering and materials sector, lie in the production of raw materials used for component manufacture and other areas where high quality, precision components are required. There is also a tremendous heritage in metals, especially around Sheffield where stainless steel was invented. The British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA), also located in Sheffield, promote and develop the manufacture and use of stainless steel across the UK. Companies based in this region can also benefit from a well established base for metal recycling.
The advanced composites industry in the region is growing rapidly and has already built up a world-wide reputation in the aviation, marine and automotive sectors. Companies based in the region, such as Slingsby Advanced Composites and Linear Composites, are supported by an extensive supply chain ranging from thermosetting to cutting, along with the National Composites Network Research Centre based in the South of the region.
Additionally, the region is now at the forefront of composites development, plastics innovation, cutting edge nanotechonology and has been proved to be one of the most cost effective locations in the world for specialist steel production. The region’s nanotechnology industry has exploded in size and now employs over ten thousand people. The NanoManufacturing Institute (NMi) at Leeds University is the leading European centre for research into the nonmanufacturing of high volume consumer products.
With the largest concentration of precision forgers in the UK, Yorkshire and Humber is unique in its supply of special metals and products. Home to the world’s largest Friction Stir Welding machine, Europe’s leading facility to manufacture titanium castings and a unique Vacuum Melting System (the only one of its kind in
the UK) the quality and depth of this sector is enormous.
Sheffield Forgemasters, the world’s leading independent castings and forging company is based in the South of the region have the capacity for pouring the largest single ingot (570 tonnes) in Europe.
Corus Engineering Steels (CES), one of the largest producers of engineering steels in Europe, which has three of its main sites in Yorkshire. The company won a deal to supply 21,000 tonnes of aerospace steels to make landing gear for the new Airbus A380 superjumbo plane, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and military jets. Other international companies include BAE Systems, Doncasters, Firth Rixson and DavyMarkham who have recently been sold to £1bn turnover Indian firm HDO.