Forming research

A £25m research centre to create state of the art manufacturing technologies for the UK’s aerospace, energy, marine and automobile industries will be opening near Glasgow airport in early 2010.

A £25m research centre for creating state of the art manufacturing technologies for the UK‘s aerospace, energy, marine and automobile industries will open near GlasgowAirportin early 2010.

The Advanced Forming Research Centre will develop forming and forging technologies to support the design and manufacture of new products, including components and structures for aircraft wings and body parts, engines, cars, ships, medical devices, power generation and wind turbines.

The centre is a collaborative venture between the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise and engineering firms including Boeing, Mettis Aerospace and Rolls-Royce.

The group hopes the centre will make the UK’s engineering sector even more competitive globally by delivering advanced products to the market quicker and more cost effectively.

The bespoke building at Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, will house machinery such as hot and cold presses and metrology, metallurgy and material-testing equipment, all designed to enable the university’s researchers to engineer new technologies on production-scale equipment.

It is also hoped the new centre will attract more researchers to the region, including a new professor funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s ‘Star Appointment’ scheme.

Scotland has a strong record of innovation in engineering and science, through the work of pioneers such as James Watt,’ said Scotland‘s first minister Alex Salmond.

‘The £25m Advanced Forming Research Centre will help strengthen this reputation, with the establishment of a world-class research facility that will work with the world’s leading international engineering and technology companies.

‘This new centre highlights Scotland’s commitment to being at the forefront of developing new technologies.’

Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde, said the Advanced Forming Research Centre will set new standards in design for the manufacturing industries and help the centre’s members compete on the world stage.

‘Our work will be informed by a global network of researchers to ensure we are continually at the forefront of new technology, and research will be driven by the needs of our industrial partners,’ he said.

‘We are very proud of our history of working side-by-side with industry and commerce and the centre is a good example of how universities can work with global companies to bridge the gap between fundamental research and industrial application.

‘The investment by the university, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government and our partner companies highlights the importance of engineering to the wider economy.’

The centre will be managed by the university and will carry out a programme of core research in collaboration with its current 10 members, as well as further research commissioned by companies around the world.

The centre will work on blue-sky products to lay the foundations of future forming and forging technology, as well as trouble-shooting established industrial processes.

The backers of the centre estimate that the worldwide market for the rapidly developing forging industry will grow to $55.7bn (£36.66bn) by 2010.