Brunel University has launched a £9million metal engineering centre which promises to rejuvenate the UK's flagging manufacturing sector.
The pioneering Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre - funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - aims to make a significant contribution to the £17 billion a year metals industry through the development of advanced technologies for reuse, remanufacture and recycling of secondary metals.
Professor Zhongyun Fan, Professor of Metallurgy at the University, will lead the Liquid Metals Engineering (LiME) Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre. He said: "The metal industry has traditionally been strong in the UK, but in recent years it has fallen into decline due to the economic downturn and competition overseas. As a sector that employs 400,000 people and brings billions into the economy, the Government has recognised the need to invest in new research and new technologies that will secure a future for key manufacturing industries depend on a supply of high-performance metallic materials."
The UK's manufacturing industry faces huge challenges. While its clients demand stronger, more durable and more lightweight components and structures, the industry must deliver while also minimising energy consumption, carbon footprint and overall environmental impact.
Professor Fan added: "We aim to developing manufacturing technologies that cut carbon emissions by millions of tonnes, reduce energy use by trillions of kilo-watt hours and save millions of tonnes of natural resources every year - without jeopardising efficient production of high-quality metallic materials."
A total of 15 industrial partners from across the supply chain, as well as industry trade bodies and knowledge transfer networks, will work with the research project and contribute a £4.6million to its development. The remaining investment from EPSRC will total £4.5million over a five-year period. The Universities of Oxford and Birmingham are also partners in the project which will operate as a single entity across the three universities.