New R&D steel facility opens at WMG

Professor Claire Davis (WMG), Alicia Law (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Nick Abell (CWLEP) and Jonathan Browning (CWLEP)

New R&D steel facility opens at WMG

Businesses of all sizes in Coventry and Warwickshire can take advantage of a state-of-the-art facility to develop the next generation of lightweight steel products.

WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) at the University of Warwick has created a cutting-edge research, design and skills infrastructure zone in its Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Centre.

Its work is focused on supporting the development of new lightweight steel products as well as building an environment to develop the next generation of experts in this specialist field and can be accessed by SMEs as well as global businesses.

The three-year project has received £1 million of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to buy key R&D equipment and a further £1 million from WMG which includes industry funding.

Professor Claire Davis, of WMG, said 30 businesses would be supported in developing new high-value steel products which would involve safeguarding 40 jobs.

She said: “This project will create a range of facilities for companies, however large or small, in Coventry and Warwickshire to understand every aspect of the steel process and develop new products.

“This will mean businesses can forensically analyse all the aspects involved in the processing of their products and can re-design if necessary to make them better.

“We have a dedicated support programme to introduce companies to materials opportunities to understand how they can be applied to create new products or improve existing products.

“This is a really exciting sector and having this dedicated facility means we can improve the skills of people working in the industry.”

Jonathan Browning, chair of the CWLEP, said it had been interesting to see the state-of-the-art equipment and research facilities.

“The Local Growth Fund is making a real different to projects throughout Coventry and Warwickshire and this involves one of our key priorities – advanced manufacturing and engineering,” he said.

“The facility will increase engagement with SMEs as well as worldwide companies and will provide practical, high-level support in research and design to keep the UK leading the steel research agenda.

“This project at the University of Warwick is not just about funding equipment, it is about improving products and the knowledge of businesses involved in the sector. It was a really interesting visit and I am sure it will lead to the creation of more innovative products.”