The new facility, FutureForge, will adjoin the university’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and aim to revolutionise the global hot forging sector when it begins operating in 2020.
It will be the world’s most advanced hot forging research platform and will include a one-of-a-kind, industry 4.0 ready, demonstrator.
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 £40 million of new collaborative R&D projects over 10 years, creating up to 34 new jobs.
The project is 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.
Ivan McKee, Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, 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 £65 million National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland 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, University of Strathclyde principal and vice chancellor, 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, AFRC executive chair, 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 $268 billion 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.”
Linda Hanna, Scottish Enterprise managing director of strategy and sectors, said: “Scotland is already leading the way across the UK in metal forming research, manufacturing technology and innovation. This investment, however, will develop a unique forging capability, not available anywhere else in the world.
“It will help companies across Scotland develop next generation light weight products and give them increased competitive advantage in a global market place.
“Together with the AFRC, we are focussed on achieving the ambition to grow Scotland’s high value manufacturing sector through increased innovation, productivity and investment. Today’s announcement forms a key part of that action plan.”