• Status: Live
  • Funder: Innovate UK
  • Project costs: £634,440
  • Funded value: 507,551
  • Funding period: March 2018 - February 2021
  • Organisations: Participants include Force Technology Limited, Northern Automotive Alliance Limited, Transition International Limited, University of Sheffield and W.H. Tildesley.

The project utilises high value alloyed titanium (Ti) swarf as a feedstock to sinter-forge via the FASTforge process into near net shapes for use in high strength and good fatigue life applications typically required within an automotive engine.

Four engine components of increasing complexity from both a manufacturing and performance perspective will be manufactured and functional bench tested. To achieve this, a new UK supply chain will be developed, with diversification for companies within traditional metal manufacturing and "know how" transfer from University of Sheffield, combined with multiple areas for IP generation.

The process will produce Ti at 20% of the cost of current Ti billet and with minimal waste compared to the 70% waste generated within the aerospace industry.

Success will mean:

a) Lightweight & lower CO2 & PM emissions for automotive engines. Initially within low volume, but with increasing confidence with the product and developed manufacturing processes, it can then move into higher volume applications. 

b) Growth opportunities for the supply chain, initially within the low volume vehicle industry but with the potential to move into the higher volume market and also the wider advanced manufacturing sectors of off-shore, rail, aerospace, non-auto engines, defence and low cost desalination. Exploitation in these other sectors is supported by the four components selected. 

c) The metal forming industry can stay abreast of new technology in alternative metals and use world-leading materials research to halt the decline of an industry within the UK.