Two Staffordshire manufacturers have become early adopters of a pioneering new £10 million facility designed to put the Midlands at the forefront of innovation in ceramics.
Both Churchill China and Johnson Tiles are partnering on projects focused on efficiency and sustainability with The AMRICC Centre, which is based at Stone Business Park.
The centre, which opened this year, enables organisations to trial new products at the commercial pilot scale backed by cutting-edge equipment and specialists in the sector.
It is a legacy of the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group’s £18.27 million four-year research programme, funded by the Government under UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund.
Specialist materials solutions company Lucideon has championed the Centre, investing more than £4 million to support it – including £800,000 to back the initial bid to get it off the ground and significant investment to host and manage the facility.
Stephen Dixon, Managing Director of Johnson Tiles, said: “The AMRICC Centre is a really exciting development.
“Having close-to-hand a facility that enables us to work with some of the best materials scientists, both in the UK and worldwide, and to have a research and development centre on our doorstep that we have easy access to means, for the first time ever, we are in a position to develop and move forward with new material ideas with some of the biggest brains and some of the best facilities.”
Steve Burns, Churchill China’s Head of Engineering, added: “The Centre enables us to look at the market and how we can best bring the products to the customer, without risk to the business in terms of trials, errors, production, and processes.
“The information and the tools that are available to us as a business are huge.”
AMRICC features an equipment suite with over 350 pieces of high-value technology, which collectively provide unique capabilities for users. This is coupled with the expertise of scientists, engineers, data scientists, and computational modellers who can help turn innovative ideas into market-ready technologies.
The Centre also partners with universities to provide an educational facility to train and develop material scientists for the future.
The AMRICC Centre CEO Dr Cathryn Hickey, pictured above, said: “The advanced ceramics sector is projected to be worth £143 billion this year globally, and The AMRICC Centre places the region firmly at the forefront of the industry to maximise this opportunity.
“2023 has been a landmark year for us, as we brought the state-of-the-art facility to life, to help secure a global position in this multi-billion-pound marketplace.”