"World's Most Advanced Factory" to be Built by Interserve

The task of building of what has been described as “the world’s most advanced factory” has been awarded to Interserve Construction. The next-generation manufacturing site will serve the aerospace industry, and be based in Sheffield, Northern England. As a construction project, it is worth a total of £43 million.
The Factory 2050 project will result in a omponent research factory and an assembly that is fully reconfigurable. Using an advanced design, it will be able to quickly switch between production of different components, including one-off parts. Making these changes will be much quicker, more efficient, and more practical than it is in current, standard factories. This will be the first factory of its kind in the UK.
According to Interserve’s Yorkshire Divisional Director, John Gittins, “This isn’t just another project for Interserve, it is the opportunity to work on a truly world class project that will help to ensure the region remains at the forefront of the advanced manufacturing sector.”
Gittins also praised the design of the building, which he said was “unique, and said that “the completed project will provide a superb environment for both researchers and engineers.”
Like much of Northern England, Sheffield has an industrial past with a long history as a major manufacturing centre, particularly during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. While the city’s economy has diversified in more recent times, it remains a major manufacturing centre and the advanced Factory 2050 is expected to help maintain this status.
A number of cutting-edge technologies will be combined to bring this about. These include unmanned workspaces and flexible automation. The factory will also make use of advanced robotics, able to be programmed off-line in a virtual environment and then operate on a plug-and-play basis. The site will also make use of new tools for training and programming, man-machine interfaces and flexible, automate 3D printing systems.
Factory 2050 will be located at Sheffield Business Park and will form the beginnings of the University of Sheffield’s new Advanced Manufacturing Campus. Over the next 7-10 years, it is hoped that the new campus will lead the University of Sheffield to construct new research facilities that could total up to a million square feet in area.
Construction work on the Factory 2050 project is scheduled to begin later this month. Work is expected to be completed by Autumn 2015. According to Gittins: “During the construction phase we will adopt a considerate approach as always to minimise disruption and keep all stakeholders updated in respect of project progress.”
Gittins went on to say that Interserve “Will also develop a bespoke plan to maximise local small and medium enterprise involvement and generate as many employment and training opportunities as possible to provide a real legacy for the surrounding area.”
Matthew Scott