Strathclyde & the Weir Group

Who's involved?

The University of Strathclyde and the Weir Group plc, a Glasgow-based company with a highly successful record of innovation in the oil and gas industry.

What's involved?

Strathclyde and the Weir Group working closely on a range of joint projects, including an advanced design methodology and the recent formation of the Weir Advanced Research Centre (WARC) at Strathclyde. This forms an integral part of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, bringing academia, research and industry together in state-of-the-art facilities in the heart of Glasgow.

Professor Donald Mackenzie, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Strathclyde, said:

The Weir Advanced Research Centre is a result of our long-standing partnership with the Weir Group and will be an integral part of the Technology and Innovation Centre at Strathclyde.

Why the approach?

In light of recent acquisitions in the US, the Weir Group recognised the need to differentiate itself from competitors through structured investment in research and development and knowledge exchange.

The company also understood that traditional design methodologies have reached their limits of applicability.

The Weir Group determined that to maintain safe and efficient operations, and extend their competitive advantage, they needed an advanced design methodology that was significantly beyond current industry practice.

Why Strathclyde?

The Weir Group has worked in partnership with Strathclyde for a number of years on a range of consultancy and research projects. It was, therefore, natural for them to seek the advice of our recognised academic expertise.

Keith Cochrane, Chief Executive, Weir Group plc, said:

Strathclyde is a leading technological university and Weir is delighted to be strengthening the long-standing partnership we have enjoyed with Strathclyde.

How we helped

Research and Development activities we’ve worked with the Weir Group on include:

  • mechanical design reviews
  • manufacturing process reviews
  • material testing and assessment programmes
  • new product design projects
  • product life optimisation

The University also developed a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for the Weir Group, centred on a 12-session online module and accessible to the company’s more than 13,000 staff around the world.

Successful outcomes

Existing research and development provided by a Research Exploitation Partnership (part of the University’s Company Escalator Programme allowing company staff and University staff to be cross-seconded for projects) and CPD have made a large contribution to new product design and development.

The Weir Group is funding the WARC with an initial investment of £1.9 million over three years and continuing investment thereafter. This funding will also create four PhD studentships per year.

The knowledge transfer works in two directions: there is the transfer of advanced research outcomes and staff skills from Strathclyde into industry design and manufacture. In return, University staff gain invaluable insight into industry best practice.