Advanced Forming Research CentreIndustry case studies

Tinsley Bridge Group

Forging process review results in increased productivity, higher quality parts, 10% longer tool life and paves the way for automation


Family-owned Tinsley Bridge Group in Sheffield manufactures components for the automotive, nuclear, rail, defence and energy sectors. Offering 175 years of materials experience, it uses upset forging and open die forging among its manufacturing processes.

Customer challenge

Tinsley Bridge was exploring automating its forging processes to boost productivity.  It’s essential that procedures and processes are repeatable and accurate before embarking on automation and it was keen to examine its current operations before investing in new technology.

What did the AFRC do?

Two members of the AFRC’s Forging and Incremental Technologies Team visited the plant where they conducted an Innovate UK funded automation review.

They conducted a walk around on the forging line used to make safety products for heavy vehicles and reviewed operations on various presses within forging cells, along with a bending operation and associated heat treatments.

A comprehensive report was then created for Tinsley Bridge, including useful contacts and key recommendations for improving processes and boosting efficiency before it continues with the journey towards automation.

Key recommendations included clamping improvements within the tooling holding parts in place during forging to make the process more efficient. The introduction of lubrication would also extend tool life and reduce die wear, while making it easier to release components from tools, which would speed up the forging process and further enhance efficiency.

Switching from gas burners to infrared die heating would also be more efficient than using an open flame due to increased time to reach target temperatures, further improving part quality and die life.


A number of the AFRC’s recommendations have been implemented, helping Tinsley Bridge to prepare for automation while also improving part quality and productivity and extending tool life by more than 10% with the use of lubricants, resulting in significant cost savings.