FutureForge - view
the progress of the
Justin Burns reports on the
FutureForge development, a
new facility at Strathclyde
University’s Advanced Forming
Research Centre (AFRC) that
will open in June 2021 and
is aiming to revolutionise the
historic hot forging sector
The future of hot forging
The new £20 million advanced
manufacturing facility at the Advanced
Forming Research Centre (AFRC) ( www.
is.gd/9NMkFV ) – FutureForge – will give a
boost to Scottish manufacturing and help
create the ‘forge of the future’ and develop
new ways of making metals for industry.
The development was rst revealed in
August 2018, when the AFRC announced it
had secured investment for the project and it
was scheduled to open at the end of this
year. However, due to the impact of the Covid-
19 pandemic, commissioning and installation
will not now be completed until June 2021.
An update on when the facility will be in
full operation along with the capabilities and
opportunities that FutureForge will bring for
Scotland and the AFRC, were discussed
during a National Manufacturing Institute
Scotland (NMIS) webinar – ‘FutureForge:
Shaping the future of hot forging’.
Funding for the new facility has come
through a combination of the UK Aerospace
Research and Technology Programme,
Scottish Enterprise and the centre itself via
the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult.
FutureForge is forecasted to generate around
£40 million of new collaborative research
development projects over the next 10 years
and also create 34 new jobs.
The facility will put Scotland at the
forefront of the latest industrial revolution –
Industry 4.0 – helping traditional
manufacturing embrace the latest in digital
technologies and revolutionising the global
hot forging sector, which is one of the most
traditional and important supply chains.
Knowledge exchange fellow, forging and
incremental technologies team and
FutureForge programme leader Marcos Perez,
gave a presentation during the webinar. He
explains that the development will comprise
of a tri-modal 2,000 ton hydraulic press and
ancillary equipment, including gas and electric
furnaces and a manipulator to the AFRC. This
will increase the centre’s capability, while
also providing cost-effective accelerated
validation capability for high integrity forged
products for industry.
The tri-modal capabilities will enable the
challenging hot forging processes of open die,
closed die and isothermal forging, at an
industrially representative scale under one
single press platform.
Academics at the advanced hot forging
research platform at AFRC will work alongside
companies in the aerospace, automotive, oil
and gas, nuclear and rail industries to boost
their competitiveness and high value
The university says FutureForge will be the
“world’s most advanced hot forging research
platform” and will also include a one-of-a-kind
demonstrator for Industry 4.0, the
technological framework intended to
transform manufacturing plants into “smart
factories” of the future.
Digital simulation is crucial in order to
boost innovation, helping metal forming
companies to remain highly competitive.
Restricting the numbers of prototypes and
detecting manufacturing defects allows for
solutions that reduce development cycles and
THE FUTURE OF FORGING
Manufacturing is going through
unprecedented rate of change according to
the AFRC, especially the data-driven space
and the advanced hot forging platform with its
capabilities for data collection and
22 January 2021 | www.machinery.co.uk | MachineryMagazine | @MachineryTweets