Three new research centers for advanced engineering and industrial technologies, such as additive manufacturing, have opened within the University of Sheffield.
The £47 million facilities, which are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UK Research and Innovation, and the University of Sheffield, will help companies develop new technologies to cut costs and lead times, creating more efficient industrial processes.
“Each center will build upon the UK’s scientific research leadership to equip industry in the key priorities of the Government’s Industrial Strategy so that we have a high-skilled, high-tech, high-performance economy which is fit for the future,” said Jake Berry, Member of Parliament for Rossendale and Darwen and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse proposal.
The high-technology, advanced manufacturing facilities
Located within the Sheffield City Region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, the three centers include the Royce Translational Centre (RTC), the Laboratory for Verification and Validation (LVV), and the Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research Centre (ICAIR). The 3,000 sq.m high-technology facilities, joins the previously established Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) – a factory which developed a new patent-pending hybrid 3D printing process with Boeing for manufacturing polymer components.
The RTC will focus on evolving novel materials and processing techniques for trial in the industry and is currently collaborating with companies such as Siemens, Renishaw, Arcam, Aconity3D, Liberty Steel, Metalysis and Metron. Metron Advanced Equipment Limited, based in Derbyshire, is working with the RTC to produce aerospace and automotive parts, such as jet engine components and turbochargers, from Titanium Aluminides (TiAl) using additive manufacturing.
Furthermore, the LVV will enable research into the optimal design and operation of advanced engineering structures when exposed to real-world vibration and environmental conditions. On the other hand, the ICAIR will facilitate investigations into the power of optimization, data, AI, robotics and advanced manufacturing techniques for the field of infrastructure to increase industrial productivity.
“I’m proud to work closely with the University of Sheffield and applaud the standard of research, of ambition and of innovation that has made these new engineering centers a reality,” explained Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region.
The University of Sheffield accelerates 3D printing technologies
Research stemming from the University of Sheffield has consistently demonstrated the innovative capabilities of industrial additive manufacturing. Last year, the university’s departments of Mechanical and Electronic & Electrical proposed an alternative high-speed metal 3D printing technique to surpass existing laser melting methods.
Following this, Dr. Nick Weston from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Sheffield led the development of FAST-forge, a disruptive technology that decreases costs of 3D printing materials through powder or particulate two-step processing.
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Featured image shows an aircraft within the University of Sheffield’s research facilities. Photo via the University of Sheffield.