The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) has been granted £16.5m to establish a major engineering facility that will create up to 34 jobs.
FutureForge, funded by the UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme (delivered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute), Scottish Enterprise and the AFRC’s High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult funding, will adjoin the Renfrewshire-based centre and will revolutionise the global hot forging sector.
Set to begin operating in 2020, FutureForge will be the world’s most advanced hot forging research platform and will include an industry 4.0 ready demonstrator.
It will see the AFRC work with companies in the aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, energy, nuclear and rail industries helping companies to increase their global competitiveness. The facility will help generate around £40m of new collaborative R&D projects over 10 years, creating up to 34 new jobs.
Scottish Government minister for trade, investment and innovation, Ivan McKee said: “I’m delighted to see this latest development for the AFRC. The new facility will put Scotland at the forefront of the latest industrial revolution, helping some of the most traditional manufacturing businesses and their supply chains embrace the latest in digital technologies. When I visited the centre last month, I was able to hear first-hand how the funding will be invested to develop this world leading technological capability.
“Today’s news follows our announcement eight months ago that we are investing in a £65m National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) in Renfrewshire, also in partnership with the University of Strathclyde. This latest project by the AFRC in the region highlights once again the importance of Scotland as a centre for cutting-edge manufacturing technology and demonstrates our world leadership ambitions.”
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “This new facility will be a real asset for the AFRC and its business partners, bolstering its already impressive capabilities and enabling further research collaborations to produce tangible impact for industry.
“It demonstrates Strathclyde’s commitment to working together with industry on research, development and innovation and making Scotland a leading centre of manufacturing excellence.”
Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Chair at the AFRC said: “This is an exciting time for advanced engineering and manufacturing in Scotland.
“This is the third big announcement in the past year and the country’s reputation as being the go-to place for the development of the next generation of manufacturing technologies is strengthening.
“I’m thrilled that the Advanced Forming Research Centre is at the heart of all manufacturing R&D in the country and the FutureForge facility will see us transform the $268billion global forging supply chain. Taking it from a black-art with centuries of tradition and turning it into a competitive industry with advanced digitised capabilities fit for centuries to come. This project really will help secure the future of an industry that is vitally important to the wider manufacturing sector across the globe.”
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