ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) is a multi-university partnership of five Welsh Higher Education Institutions, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Working with the high-value manufacturing industry across Wales through effective collaboration with academia, by applying advanced engineering knowledge to manufacturing challenges, aiming to drive productivity and growth with the industry.

Instrumental music in the background.

ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) logo.

Drone footage of Swansea University Bay Campus.

ASTUTE 2020 Higher Education Institution Partner logos - Aberystwyth University, Cardiff University, Swansea University, University of South Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

European Regional Development Fund logo.

Footage of the buildings at the Swansea University Bay Campus with a view looking over to the Port Talbot steelworks.

Swansea University, College of Engineering building leading onto an ASTUTE 2020 Project Officer looking at a computer screen with computational modelling simulations on it.

ASTUTE 2020 project officer looking down a microscope and a Kuka industrial robot moving about in sequence.   


My name is Chris Loynes and I’m the factory manager at Lyte Ladders & Towers based in Swansea. Lyte have been manufacturing a range of glassfibre and access equipment for over 65 years.

We initially approached ASTUTE 2020 back in 2012 and have been collaborating with the team ever since on various research projects. This allowed us to develop and understand pre-welding processes and exploiting ASTUTE 2020’s research expertise to further our own knowledge. 

Lyte Ladders & Towers Logo.

The Exterior of Lyte Ladders & Towers Manufacturing Facility based in Swansea and lorry with branding.

Footage of Chris Loynes – Factory Manager at Lyte Ladders & Towers being interviewed in front of ASTUTE 2020 banner and ASTUTE 2020 case studies and brochures on the desk. 


Interior footage of the manufacturing factory floor at Lyte Ladders with Lyte staff working at different production stations. Different sized ladders assembled. 

Welder at Lyte Ladders welding a ladder and a ladder moving along the production line in the factory.


We had difficulties in optimizing the robot welding process, resulting in a high number of defects, costing time and money for the business.

ASTUTE 2020 were able to support us with their expertise in advanced materials, computer modelling and manufacturing systems. The collaboration has allowed us to move from manual welding to more sophisticated automation for ladder manufacturing and scaffold towers.    

Footage of the equipment and production stations at Lyte Ladders. Shelves of scaffold tower parts and staff inspecting the tower parts.

Chris Loynes, Factory Manager describing the expertise that ASTUTE 2020 provided.

ASTUTE 2020 Project Officer looking down a microscope analyzing materials and then an ASTUTE 2020 Project Officer reviewing computational modelling simulations of the ladder joints. Remote control unit for the industrial robot based at the College of Engineering, Swansea University, robot moving in sequence.  

00.01.26 As a direct impact of the collaboration, we have been able to increase our work force; employing seven new people; we’ve been able to expand our existing product range as well as introduce new products to the market. Chris Loynes, Factory Manager at Lyte Ladders, speaking about the collaboration, moving onto footage of Lyte employees working at the facility, moving ladders, drilling holes and bolting ladder parts together.

The knowledge and understanding of our manufacturing challenge and the research conducted by the team allowed us to have confidence in the project being delivered successfully.

Without ASTUTE 2020’s support we wouldn’t be adopting advanced manufacturing technologies so quickly in order for us to improve the welding division of the business to ensure a long term future for the company in West Wales and the Valleys.

Ladders packaged and ready for distribution at Lyte facility. Lorries waiting and Lyte Staff moving ladders onto the lorries for distribution. Robotic welder in action, welding a ladder together and automatically turning the ladder. Lyte staff ensuring the Lyte Pod is secure.
00.02.05 It was great to know that there is expertise right on our door step in Swansea. We’ve had a great experience working with Swansea University and we’d like the partnership to continue. An External shot of Lyte Ladders & Towers manufacturing facility. Chris Loynes, Factory Manager highlighting the great experience Lyte have had with ASTUTE 2020 at Swansea University with ASTUTE 2020 banner in the background and ASTUTE 2020 case studies and Lyte Ladders brochures on the desk.
00.02.17 Instrumental music

ASTUTE 2020 partner logos – Aberystwyth University, Cardiff University, Swansea University, University of South Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

ASTUTE 2020 and the European Regional Development Fund Logo.

ASTUTE 2020 website link.