A productivity boosting rotary forge that can provide up to 90% materials savings compared to conventional machining is being shipped from Scotland to a world leading forging company in Sheffield, consolidating a research partnership with the University of Strathclyde's Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) – part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS).
This move is the first official collaboration between Independent Forging and Alloys (IFA) in Sheffield and the AFRC – a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult network – which opened an outreach office in Sheffield last year to support the region's forging and forming sector.
Michael Carlisle, Business Development Manager, Independent Forgings and Alloys, said:
Independent Forging and Alloys is exceptionally proud to have been selected as the recipient of the RFN-200T-4 machine. We are incredibly excited about its imminent arrival at our facility here in Sheffield – which of course, is the heart of the UK steel industry. We can see many cross-sector applications for this technology – from aerospace and defence to top-end automotive. The possibilities for customers are tremendous – both for current part cost reduction and the development of emerging parts such as electric vehicle transmissions systems. IFA is in an ideal position to build on the great work already completed by the AFRC, and together we can take the machine and the capability forward to maximise the benefit for UK industry.
Helen Lightbody, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Strathclyde's Advanced Forming Research Centre, commented:
The Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) is delighted to confirm that the rotary forge will be moving to Independent Forgings and Alloys. The rotary forge was installed in the AFRC in 2014 and was used to support and deliver several projects critical to the aerospace sector. The relocation is expected to lead to significant strategic partnerships for both IFA and the AFRC. The research centre will continue to have access to the equipment should the need arrive and will be able to work with the IFA staff to further developments in this area. IFA has been identified as a key partner of the AFRC within the Sheffield forging community and this equipment move will help support and grow this relationship.
The forge has spent over seven years at the world-leading research centre and can provide up to 90% material savings compared to conventional machining by forming flanged components from hollow tubular workpieces.
By situating the machine within IFA, some of the world's leading metallics manufacturing businesses within Yorkshire and the wider UK will work with IFA on the new equipment providing opportunities to explore resource efficient methods of manufacture resulting in lower costs and less materials waste.
At the same time, the IFA's current links with various global industries such as aerospace, oil and gas, and defence will provide a broader customer base for the machine's capabilities.
The machine will be delivered to the IFA's facility in early June and will become fully operational later in 2022.
IFA, founded in 2001, is situated in the heart of the UK steel industry and has built upon centuries of local forging expertise to become a leading provider of open-die quality forgings and precision closed-die forgings.
Rotary forging is an incremental metal forming process that offers excellent benefits over conventional forging processes, including a massive reduction in forming load, relatively low energy cost, high material utilisation, better material formability, and increased flexibility.