01 August 2017

AFRC forges new path for UK manufacturing

The Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) at the University of Strathclyde has made a £2.3 million investment in new kit.

The centre has purchased a radial forge from Austrian machining company GFM GmbH, which it says will be the only machine of its kind available in the UK for R&D and demonstration purposes.

The AFRC will use it to trial and prove the viability of new ways of manufacturing parts for hip implants, automotive transmissions, and aerospace components, among other products.

The radial forge, which has been developed specifically for the AFRC, will enable manufacturers to try new alloys and other materials in a range of applications. The machine also offers induction heating, which allows it to control how parts are being heated, be more flexible, and produce components more quickly.

NOTE: The video above is a 360 degree video of the forge in action. You can move the camera by clicking on the arrow pad in the top left-hand corner.

Explains AFRC Senior Manufacturing Engineer Dr Alastair Conway: “Having access to this machine could be a real step-change for a number of UK industries, not least the aerospace, automotive, and medical sectors. While we’ll be helping companies in these areas to understand alternative manufacturing routes, we’ll also be working with others to see how markets, such as oil and gas, could benefit.

“Radial forging is a technology not widely used in the UK. However, by working with a range of materials and proving the advantages the process offers over traditional hammer and drop forges, we hope to show that they could help our manufacturing industries compete more effectively on the international stage.

“The AFRC is uniquely positioned to do this – we can test, understand, and demonstrate the process to industry, de-risking the prospect of investment. We’re confident that, once industry sees the benefits, this could lead to greater adoption of the technology across the UK.”

Adam Offord

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