Processing gets hip

An innovative manufacturing technique has been developed by Birmingham University and Advantage West Midlands.


The technique of hot isostatic processing (known as HIPping) enables manufacturers to make complex components directly from powder.


This includes titanium, nickel alloys and more exotic materials such as metal matrix composites and will be used extensively in aerospace, automotive and medical technologies.


The powder is filled into a mould and subjected to heat and pressure, the result being a component that is the exact shape and size, leading to significant cost saving and flexibility in the design of each item.


The £1m project received £500,000 from Advantage West Midlands and continues until next year.


The facility based at the Net Shape Manufacturing Laboratory at Birmingham University is currently working with a number of West Midlands supply chain companies to help them adopt the process.


It is estimated the long-term benefit to the economy could be tens of millions of pounds as West Midlands manufacturers take on the innovative technology which will make them more competitive.


The project is part of Advantage West Midlands’ Advanced Materials Strategy which is aiming to position the region as the UK leader for developing and adopting groundbreaking materials processes.