A partnership that dates back to the founding of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is set to bear new fruit for UK companies, following a multimillion pound investment by Nikken Kosakuso Europe.

The company, which specialises in high accuracy tooling solutions, rotary tables and high precision setting and optimisation technologies for machine tools, was one of the first partners to back the embryonic AMRC when it was established at the start of the new millennium.

Now, it has opened a new demonstration and customer support centre, the Nikken Innovation Centre Europe, down the road from the AMRC. A total of £4 million has been invested in the new development and the company plans to invest a further £3 million on a second phase of development by the middle of 2017.

The new development is Nikken’s first research and development facility outside Japan and will complement facilities at the neighbouring AMRC. It will also be the headquarters for Nikken’s UK operations and seven subsidiaries stretching from France to Sweden and Germany to Turkey and South Africa, which support customers in 28 different countries.

Group managing director of Nikken Kosakuso Europe says: “We have been part of the AMRC from the outset. We share the same philosophy and the cross fertilisation between the two organisations is fantastic. We have a great collaboration and the AMRC is training our four apprentices, whose numbers we hope to increase to 10 over the next five years.”

Tony Bowkett says one of the key reasons for the development is companies are no longer willing to invest in new tool and workholding solutions based solely on what they read in a catalogue and what the supplier tells them. Instead, they want the reassurance of seeing the technology used to make components similar to their own products on the machines which they themselves use.

Nikken has deliberately opted to invest in machines that complement, rather than replicate those at the AMRC, acquiring what is generally lighter-weight equipment. Machine tools installed on site include: Bridgeport XR1000, Hardinge GX480, Fanuc Robodrill D21 and Brother Speedio RX450 X1 vertical machining centres; Doosan NHM 6300 horizontal machining centre; Mazak Integrex i300 universal machining centre.

Source: machinery.co.uk from machinery.co.uk

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