Advanced Forming Research CentreAFRC expands collaboration network with five new members

We recently welcomed five new members to the AFRC, each bringing with them a diverse blend of digital and manufacturing know how.

Simufact, James Durrans Group, Wallet Services, Lanner and Virtek have all confirmed tier two membership at the centre, providing them with a platform to showcase their products and services across the centre’s wide network of industry specialists.

Each of the firms will add to the centre’s capabilities through the provision of cutting edge equipment, software and expertise, which will be used throughout relevant AFRC projects.

Industry leaders in simulation software

Simufact, an MSC Software company, is an industry leader in simulation software for the metals and manufacturing industries. Its products will enhance the AFRC’s metal forming, mechanical and thermal joining operations, as well as its additive manufacturing capabilities.

Through adopting the latest in modern simulation toolsets, the AFRC and its customers will benefit from cost savings by using Simufact’s software programmes to test certain operational procedures online first.

Ian Tasker, Regional Manager at MSC Software said: “This is an exciting new venture for us at MSC Software. Our Simufact product solutions can optimise manufacturing processes by reducing costs and time to market.

“It’s hoped that this new partnership will allow us to help even more customers with their manufacturing simulation needs.”

Another company paving the way in simulation software, Lanner brings with it a discrete events simulation capability through the provision of software and training licences.

Enabling development of full production line predictive digital twins, it’s technology will help the AFRC and its customers address complex business challenges by highlighting potential areas that could constrain production.

Oliver Bird, Business Development Director at Lanner said: “This is an exciting time of change for businesses in every industry. The urgency to drive improved customer value at lower cost through the use of new disruptive digital technologies, including Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, is forcing the rapid creation of new operating models in every sector and every geography.

“We are delighted that our partnership will help the AFRC and its customers keep abreast of the latest in predictive simulation technologies,” he adds.

Exploring the benefits of blockchain

The AFRC’s growing reputation in digital manufacturing technologies has been further enhanced with the welcome addition of blockchain development company, Wallet Services.
Realising the opportunities for blockchain technology in digital manufacturing, the AFRC has helped the firm access funding and key contacts within the industry to support further proof of concept activity.

The partnership offers the centre an exciting opportunity to explore the benefits of blockchain along with the cross-sector applications of distributed ledger technologies.

Blockchain is a digital ledger technology that can be used to store and record transactions. Records along the chain are stored and distributed across nodes in the network, where it’s very difficult to falsify data.

This makes it a secure and transparent way to record transactions and service records, which could have big implications for the manufacturing industry and its management of supply chains.

Dr Hannah Rudman, Director of Transformation at Wallet Services said: “This is an exciting time of change for businesses in every industry. Disruptive industrial digital technology is changing the way we all work. The support we’ve received from the AFRC so far has been tremendous.

“The new partnership will allow us to work with the centre and its customers to streamline, simplify and secure digital technologies by accelerating the use and harnessing the benefits of blockchain technology.”

Facilitating forging

The new partnership with James Durrans, a global supplier of lubricants for the forging industry will provide the AFRC with access to lubricants for specific forging project requirements.
James Durrans will also gain valuable exposure to potential new customers involved with relevant projects at the AFRC - a world leader in forging technology research.

Steve Sherry, Sales Manager at James Durrans Group, said: “This partnership provides us with an opportunity to reach an influential audience of specialists, to share knowledge and to connect with decision-makers from leading companies around the world.”

Leading laser technology

Virtek is the global leader in intelligent vision-based laser projection and inspection solutions, configured to help make complex manufacturing processes simpler, safer and more efficient.

A welcome addition to the membership at the AFRC, the firm is the first to link to the soon to be opened Lightweight Manufacturing Centre (LMC) and has provided laser projection facilities that will enhance the capabilities there.

Andrea Andrade, Virtek said: “We’re delighted to become new members of the AFRC and look forward to working with the team there to showcase our world leading vision-based laser projection and inspection solutions across their established network of industry specialists.”

Helping businesses of all sizes

Dr Lynne O’Hare, Commercial Director at the AFRC said: "These new members are leaders in their respective fields that will help us enhance our world-class reputation and capabilities in manufacturing research.

“The broad scope of the new members also reflects the diverse range of activity the centre is involved in across the UK’s manufacturing sector and highlights how the AFRC helps companies of all shapes and sizes.”