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Swansea University Astute 2020



The ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation.

The customer

The ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation led by Swansea University in partnership with Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University & University of Wales Trinity Saint David will support industrial Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) through world-class academics and a team of highly qualified technical experts and project managers.

The five year operation has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the participating Higher Education Institutions. As part of this operation, the College of Engineering at Swansea University tendered for a £500,000 system to enable the ASTUTE 2020 research team to achieve the best possible computational engineering solutions.

The challenge

This was the first time the research team had bought its own machine. While some members of the team had prior experience of HPC procurement, some key team members had none and no one had experience of procuring and installing a large solution. And, of course, the University was working to a tight timescale because delivery had to be within their financial year.

What did Red Oak do?

Red Oak’s job was quite simply to do everything possible to help the supplier and the customer to achieve a high quality installation within the tight deadline.

Mark Thomas took the lead as the Red Oak project manager; he clearly understood the customer’s expectations and interfaced very effectively with the supplier, in particular working out the best way to meet the University’s timescale.

Mark could relate to the University environment and helped the key personnel to define processes and to anticipate what documentation would be helpful post-installation.

When problems and delays cropped up, Mark kept the project on track and made sure things happened.

Chris Downing undertook the commissioning process. His proactive response to resolving technical challenges impressed the customer and he made sure that he liaised with the University’s technical personnel so that the research team would be able to exploit the use of all the technologies they had bought.

What did the customer think?

“Red Oak made the whole project go smoothly and they understood our expectations. Mark was very friendly and approachable and showed a high level of professionalism. Chris put a lot of effort into the commissioning and it was hugely appreciated.”

Dr Sam Rolland

Senior Lecturer, College of Engineering