Metals processing cash boost
A facility for research into primary metals processing at the University of Sheffield, UK, has received a £5.5m grant from the UK’s EPSRC.
The University’s Institute for Microstructured and Mechanical Process Engineering (IMMPETUS) works with major metals processors in the UK to improve efficiency. ‘We bring a systems engineering approach to metallurgical research,’ says Professor Mark Rainforth, Director of the Institute.
The team is working with Timet, a titanium manufacturer based in Birmingham, to improve the properties of titanium for the aerospace industry so that it can withstand fatigue and compete with composites.
Steel giant Corus, based in London, is another company collaborating with IMMPETUS. The business aims to produce high strength steels for lightweight automotive components to reduce carbon emissions.
The Institute uses a combination of physically based models (a computer-based programme that simulates physical conditions) and intelligent systems engineering to produce a hybrid models process that predicts and controls manufacturing, saving time and money.
‘There are plenty of models that take forever to run and only give you broad brush answers,’ explains Rainforth. ‘[This grant] will help us deliver better models. Companies should then be able to introduce products more quickly because we can tell them what trials to do and how to do them. This should also reduce rejection rates as the numbers of products failing to meet specification is far less.’