Brunel to host metal engineering centre

Brunel University is to host a £9m metal engineering centre aimed at advancing new ways of manufacturing and using metals more sustainably and cost effectively.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre is aimed at making a significant contribution to the metals industry, which is worth £17bn a year to the UK economy.

Prof Zhongyun Fan will lead the Liquid Metals Engineering (LiME) Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre.

‘The UK metal industry employs 400,000 people, with more than 29,000 metals-based enterprises around the country,’ he said. ‘Much of the UK economy is built on metals and many of our key manufacturing industries depend on a supply of high-performance metallic materials that enable them to compete internationally.’

Fan added that the centre will aim to safeguard the role of the metals industry by developing manufacturing technologies that cut carbon emissions, reduce energy and save millions of tonnes of natural resources without jeopardising efficient metal production.

‘We have a specific vision for the future of solidification science, materials processing technologies and a sustainable metallurgical industry,’ he said. ‘Our vision for the future metallurgical industry is full metal recirculation through advanced technologies for reuse, remanufacture and recycling of secondary metals.’

A total of 15 industrial partners from across the supply chain, as well as industry trade bodies and knowledge transfer networks, will work with the research project.

Birmingham and Oxford universities are also partners in the LiME Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre, which will operate as a single entity across the three universities.

Investment from the EPSRC will total £4.5m over a five-year period starting next month; the industrial partners will contribute a further £4.6m.