World unique research hub set to transform the global forging sector

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The world’s most advanced research and innovation hot forging platform is opening today (21 March) at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), connecting the $75bn global forging sector with the Scotland-based team and industry-scale testbed no matter where they are in the world.

Based in Renfrewshire, FutureForge is a world-unique platform for hot forging innovation with advanced industry 4.0 capabilities that enables companies from overseas to connect in real-time with the AFRC remotely and benefit from the skills and expertise of its people, along with the ground-breaking R&D equipment.

FutureForge comprises a tri-modal 2,000 tonne press offering open die, closed die, and iso-thermal forging capabilities, instantaneous data analytics through a state-of-the-art control room, two furnaces: one powered by electricity and the other by gas, and a custom-built smart robotics manipulator arm.

The platform provides a safe and secure data rich research arena in which the forging industry can de-risk the development of new products, processes, and technologies for easier adoption on the shop floor.

Professor Brad Wynne, director of the Advanced Forming Research Centre, said: “With the largest hot forging press of its kind, dedicated solely to R&D, unparalleled connectivity capabilities, and over a decade of experience in materials science, the Advanced Forming Research Centre is in a unique position to help the forging industry embrace net-zero, unlock energy savings, accelerate productivity and ultimately transform and secure this vitally important industry for future generations.

“FutureForge will unlock a valuable opportunity for forgers to explore modern processes and new integrated digital technologies that could have a significant impact on global manufacturing.

“We want to help companies push the boundaries of what is currently possible and see the difference that digital science and the smarter use of technology can make to business operations and the sector as a whole.

“By modernising and future-proofing the UK’s forging industry we are helping to make it more competitive and resilient to global challenges such as supply chain issues and rising energy costs, as well as helping to secure jobs for the future by making forging houses safer for workers and ultimately a more attractive career choice.”

FutureForge is underpinned by the AFRC’s world-leading expertise in materials science and companies using the facilities will also benefit from the wider capabilities of the NMIS Group.

The multi-million-pound investment is supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and Scottish Enterprise.