This month, the ASTUTE partnership is celebrating a huge milestone with 1st May marking 10 years of successful operation, engagement with over 500 companies, and support to more than 370 businesses across Wales to address manufacturing challenges.

ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) is a university partnership of five Welsh higher education institutions, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The project aims to de-risk the use of Future Manufacturing Technologies by enabling greater levels of business innovation through collaboration between industry and academia with the ultimate aim of improving the prosperity of the region.

Thanks to the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the support from Wales’ Top Higher Education Institutions (HEI), ASTUTE has delivered high impact collaborations over the years, providing greater levels of business innovation.

With a passion for supporting Welsh manufacturers, the HEI partnership, led by Swansea University in close collaboration with Aberystwyth University, Cardiff University, University of South Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, has brought together world-class academics, highly qualified technical experts and project managers to deliver industry-led Research, Development and Innovation. As a result, companies have invested over £14.4 million to embed advanced and sustainable technologies and implement improvements into their manufacturing processes and created or safeguarded over 270 jobs, contributing significantly to the Welsh economy.

ASTUTE has established strong collaborative relationships with Welsh companies across a variety of sectors like aerospace, automotive, medical, and food and drink over the years: e.g. Crossflow Energy Co Ltd. on a novel horizontal axis, off-grid, wind and solar energy solutions, Frontier Medical Group on their sustainable manufacture, drop-proof of sharps containers, Gomer Press on historical data analysis to optimise current production workflows, Affresol Ltd. on the manufacturing and production of Thermo Poly Rock from a high percentage of recycled materials, Cyden Ltd. on their technological innovation for skin-friendly hair removal products and Cintec International Ltd. o their unique anchoring and reinforcement system to be employed in earthquake-susceptible constructions worldwide. Over 280 industry-academia collaborations have resulted in more than 500 new or improved products or processes launched.

Major Port Talbot manufacturer of industrial instrumentation for the oil, gas and other processing industries, British Rototherm Company Ltd., has been working with ASTUTE 2020 to use ASTUTE’s acoustic modelling capabilities to predict noise levels from orifice pressure reducers. Following extensive experimental testing carried out by British Rototherm Company, as a result of the collaboration, the company has achieved market-leading capability in noise prediction for orifice pressure reducers, employed new staff, invested in new machinery and won additional contracts.

Managing Director Oliver Conger highlights the positive interaction between his company and ASTUTE 2020 in a project spotlight video: “ASTUTE 2020 have a significant amount of technical capability, they have access to programs, and software and resources that a company such as Rototherm doesn’t have. They can help to provide confidence to take something on that you wouldn’t have gone forward with." The video can be viewed here.

Speaking about ASTUTE’s 10th anniversary, Professor Johann Sienz, Operation Director said: “We are very proud of the success and economic impact that we have achieved over the last 10 years in close collaboration with companies, providing the manufacturing sector with vital access to academic and our team of highly qualified technical experts, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, demonstrating the potential of well-planned, impactful collaboration between academia and industry for driving forward research and innovation in an advanced manufacturing eco-system.”

The ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation (2015 – present), supporting manufacturing companies across Wales, has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the participating Higher Education Institutions and is led by Swansea University in collaboration with the Universities of Aberystwyth, Cardiff, University of South Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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