The facility will be built next to Factory 2050 at the AMRC. Credit: University of Sheffield

Ground broken on Sheffield’s Compass centre

Contractor Henry Boot is to deliver the £80m research facility at the University of Sheffield, on which Boeing is the lead partner.

The 29,700 sq ft centre will will house the Boeing-led Isothermic High-Rate Sustainable Structures (IHSS) project dedicated to developing and testing new technologies needed to meet future demand for lighter commercial aircraft and help the aviation industry try to reach net zero by 2050.

Support for the Composites at Speed and Scale (COMPASS) facility, at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, includes a £29.5m grant from the government’s Aerospace Technology Institute programme for the latest equipment for the broader benefit of aerospace and other industries.

A further £20m comes from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), Sheffield City Council, University of Sheffield and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Along with Boeing, other partners include Spirit AeroSystems and Loop Technology.

Cllr Martin Smith, chair of the economic development and skills committee at Sheffield City Council, said: “This is a great opportunity to develop new lightweighting technologies for the aerospace industry, not only offering the potential to decarbonise air transport, but is also a brilliant long-term opportunity for the Sheffield economy.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this investment bring jobs and new prospects to the people of Sheffield and across the region.”

Compass  builds on the AMRC’s well established composites and automation capabilities to de-risk the development and manufacture of high-rate, large-scale composite parts, providing the wider UK industry with an open-access facility to develop, demonstrate, test and validate new composite manufacturing technologies and capabilities.

The IHSS project will centre around automated dry fibre and resin infusion advanced manufacturing methods, which enable high manufacturing rates and increase production efficiency.

Professor Koen Lamberts, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We are excited to break ground on the new COMPASS building, which will put South Yorkshire at the forefront of UK aerospace manufacturing.

“The facility is very important for our region. Not only will it create jobs, bring investment and drive innovation and growth, it will play a major role in helping to reduce the environmental impact of commercial aviation by making planes lighter. We are proud to be working with our long-standing partner Boeing on this project, which is another huge boost for our region.”

Boeing president Maria Laine and CTO Todd Citron with AMRC chief executive Steve Foxley. Credit: University of Sheffield

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