The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) was established in 2010 with the objective of bridging the gap between academia and industry. It represents one of the largest public sector investments in UK manufacturing and, after four years of planning and a 16 month build, the 12000m2 facility opened at Ansty Park in Coventry at the end of 2011.
Addressing the significant gap in UK manufacturing technology provision, the so called ‘valley of death’, has long challenged the leading minds of industry and academia. The MTC was created to bridge this gap, by providing collaborative partnerships that take the ideas coming out of academia and look to develop them into commercial reality within industry.
Four forward-thinking founders; University of Birmingham, Loughborough University; University of Nottingham and The Welding Institute began the process of bringing this concept to life. The initial vision for the MTC was ‘to become a world-class global research facility: making the future through transformational manufacturing technology development.’ This would require significant commitment from industry, excellent facilities, access to state-of-the-art equipment, machinery and technology and, most importantly, high calibre people committed to improving the competitiveness of UK manufacturing. Industrial input would be vital to success, and the significant commitment and support from the first three industrial members: Rolls-Royce, Aero Engines Control and Airbus was instrumental in the design and direction of the MTC.
Ansty Park in Coventry was identified as the optimum location, with excellent links to the UK motorway network and easy access to European and global markets from Birmingham and East Midlands airports. A grant of £40m was awarded by Advantage West Midlands and the East Midlands Development Agency, and the four founders now had the challenge to create a facility capable of meeting the diverse and ever-changing demands of UK manufacturing.
When the building officially opened in December 2011, there were 16 industrial members, 44 staff and just a few key pieces of equipment in the ‘workshop’.