AFRC targets oil and gas and automotive with new flow former

The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) has made a significant investment in a bespoke forming machine, which will extend and enhance its capabilities in a range of sectors.   

The centre has purchased a VUD-600 vertical flow former developed by the centre’s tier two partner, WF Maschinenbau. The unique piece of kit was designed to meet the AFRC’s customers’ diverse requirements. The machine allows the AFRC, which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, to form intricate components suited to a variety of markets, including the oil and gas and automotive sectors.

The machine’s flexibility allows it to form small parts such as hubs, gear shafts and pulleys. It also has the capacity to form larger products, like alloy wheels, up to a diameter of 800mm and 600mm in length.

The vertical flow former is the second machine the AFRC has acquired from WF Maschinenbau, complementing its existing horizontal STR 600/3. Predominantly used to produce components for the aerospace sector, the STR 600/3 has three rollers, while the new VUD-600 can house up to four, allowing greater flexibility during forming.

The machine, which is being commissioned during March, already has research and development trials lined up which are due to begin in May.

Dr Alastair Conway, Senior Manufacturing Engineer and rotary processes team lead at the AFRC, said:

This new machine marks a big step forward for the AFRC – it will significantly broaden the services we have to offer to our members and customers. It will also open up opportunities for companies, particularly in the oil and gas and automotive sectors, to look at different ways of producing new and innovative components.  

"Our new machine’s ability to form aluminium, nickel and steel alloys at a range of temperatures has already stirred up a great deal of interest: we have trials in the pipeline with a number of companies. After heavily investing in our facilities over the past few years, this latest acquisition reaffirms our commitment to securing the best equipment for our customers, as we ramp up our R&D offering to manufacturers across the country.”