Friday, May 6, 2016

News: William Cook joins the cast at AMRC


William Cook, the UK's largest steel casting group, has joined the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) as a partner.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

With factories in Sheffield, Leeds and Co. Durham, William Cook can trace its history back over nearly 175 years. The group manufactures sophisticated components, assemblies and systems for a wide range of applications, has substantial research, development and design resources and includes global energy, transport and defence groups among its clients.

The decision to join the AMRC follows the University of Sheffield's acquisition of Castings Technology International (Cti) in 2014. Since then, it has been split into two organisations; AMRC Castings, which focuses on research and development, and Cti Ltd, which carries out commercial work.

Cti developed a speciality in helping castings companies to solve problems and improve production. The organisation also supplies the high value manufacturing sector with low volume, precision steel, superalloy and titanium castings that would otherwise be difficult to source.

AMRC Castings develops new castings technologies and provides design and manufacturing consultancy services.


Andrew Cook CBE, chairman of William Cook, said: "I was surprised and encouraged to see the level of practical help the AMRC can give companies that are keen to explore the possibilities of working with new materials, in new sectors and with new technologies.

"I'm looking forward greatly to William Cook playing a part in the AMRC's world class centre. We are keen to utilise AMRC Castings' research facilities and also the AMRC Training Centre."

Prof Keith Ridgway CBE, Executive Dean of the AMRC, added: "We are delighted to welcome one of the UK’s most successful steel founders and engineers as a partner.

"In the recent past William Cook has invested substantially in research and technology that has allowed it to move into more challenging, higher value markets. By mobilising AMRC Castings' expertise, we hope to help the group build on that achievement by further increasing its competitiveness and expanding into even more technically advanced areas."

William Cook prefers to design and manufacture its products in-house. It supplies extreme specification, heavy duty safety critical components to the energy sector, including wellhead and down-hole equipment for the oil and gas industry, and nuclear reactor and steam turbine components. It also supplies the defence and rail sectors.

Membership of the AMRC is open to any company which works in a complementary area or which wishes to participate in the support of its research programmes. Tier 1 membership costs £200,000 per year and gives partners an individual seat on the board and the opportunity to influence the direction of future research. Tier 1 members participate in, and obtain the results of, all generic projects. Tier 1 members can also propose specific projects which are presented to the board for approval.

Tier 2 membership costs £30,000 per year and members participate in, and obtain the results of, all generic projects. Tier 2 partners are represented by a single board member.

A £7m government grant as part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership is funding a new facility, currently under construction on the AMP, which will allow companies within the aerospace industry to develop the capability to melt and manufacture large scale titanium castings in the UK instead of this work being carried out abroad.

The biggest furnace for casting Titanium aerospace components in Western Europe is to be installed at AMRC Castings' headquarters later this year.

William Cook website
AMRC website

Images: AMRC


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