New research centre will help manufacturers improve efficiency

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A specialist research centre dedicated to finding ways to help businesses improve manufacturing has been set up as a collaborative partnership between Teesside University, the Institute for Manufacturing at Cambridge University and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

The Centre for Resource Efficient Manufacturing Systems (REMS), is based at Teesside University and will research and investigate manufacturing processes and supply chains to help companies improve production processes by reducing emissions, saving time, reducing cost and minimising the resources they use.

The centre has a unique approach that combines the business-facing expertise of Teesside University, the research skills of the Institute for Manufacturing and the manufacturing innovation abilities of CPI at Wilton in Redcar.

A number of UK based companies have already expressed an interest in working with the centre to understand their supply chains and investigate ways in which they can improve their whole manufacturing system to increase efficiency and reduce resource consumption.

The Centre's director is Dr Graham Hillier, the Director of Strategy and Futures at CPI, who will work with recent appointments Dr Richard Court and Callum Campbell as well as PhD student Mangesh Gharfalkar.

Dr Hillier said: "There is a finite amount of raw materials in the world and, at some point in the future, some of the most important could start to run out. The challenge is to use the resources we have as efficiently as possible. The REMS Centre will work with companies to help them to understand how to make better products with lower environmental impact while still making enough money to succeed economically - in short to become more resource efficient.

"Many companies are aware of what needs changing but are afraid of making that change. At the Centre, we want to do the research that will give them the models to demonstrate the real improvements that can be made and convince them to make the change.

"We want to link together a lot of different disciplines to demonstrate how whole manufacturing systems work. Even if a company is only a small part of a system, it can do things to make its operations run smoother and to make the whole supply chain run better."

Dr Court added: "As well as using traditional engineering research methods we'll also be utilising the University's IT and digital expertise to build models and help us to explain what is happening in a manufacturing process."

Callum Campbell said: "This is a very complicated area and in the past, much of the research has been very qualitative with a lot of people talking around the subject but with nothing solid or quantitative for evidence.

"We want to provide robust data to show industry what is happening in their manufacturing processes and how they can be improved."

The Centre for Resource Efficient Manufacturing builds upon Teesside's strong reputation for supporting business.

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