World renowned Scottish forging and forming centre opens office in ‘steel city’
31 Aug 2021
The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, is opening an office in Sheffield.
The region already hosts two other High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centres in the region - the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Nuclear AMRC.
Strathclyde says the new base will effectively bring the research lab directly to the manufacturers, helping South Yorkshire companies tap into its services.
These include world-leading metallurgy capabilities, numerical and analytical process modelling tools and some of the most advanced industry-scale forging and forming equipment in the world, over 260 miles away in Scotland.
The decision to open its first office outside of Scotland marks a prelude to the launch of FutureForge, a £20 million facility that includes the world’s most advanced hot forging platform.
Speaking after the announcement, AFRC chief operating officer Helen Lightbody said:
“Setting up an office in Sheffield is a natural step for the AFRC. It will provide a gateway between our world-leading research expertise and the heart of the UK’s forging community. We can plug into the modelling and simulation facilities in Glasgow but carry out testing on the manufacturer’s shop floor in South Yorkshire.
“Our support can be anything from helping the transition from gas to electric furnaces to reducing energy costs, to exploring ways to meet sustainability targets, improving products and processes, or accessing large scale collaborative research projects with global manufacturing companies.”
A specialist technology centre within the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), the AFRC is the only High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre in Scotland.
Strathclyde has also announced a partnership with North Ayrshire Council and CPI to help future proof key process manufacturing industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food and drink and chemical products.
Its first action will be to provide specialist upskilling courses set to start in autumn delivered through the NMIS Manufacturing Skills Academy.
This partnership involves two of the seven High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres, Scottish Government supported NMIS in Renfrewshire and CPI, which has facilities across the North East of England.
announcement follows on from the success of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, a collaboration between government, industry and academia, which sees CPI and Strathclyde work together to ensure the UK is a technology and innovation leader in pharmaceutical manufacturing. This new facility is set to open in Renfrewshire in early 2022, next to the new NMIS HQ facility, as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.
Leader of North Ayrshire Council Joe Cullinane said: “Manufacturing jobs make up a higher than average proportion of jobs in North Ayrshire. It’s crucial for us to address concerns over regional decline through initiatives such as this. We also see this as having future potential for sustainable employment opportunities for our young people.”