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PTG Opens £1.6 Million Friction Stir Welding Research Centre

PTG Opens £1.6 Million Friction Stir Welding Research Centre

Precision Technologies Group (PTG) has announced the opening of a new £1.6 million friction stir welding research centre at its UK-based headquarters and machine tools manufacturing facility. Equipped with PTG Powerstir single-head gantry type and dual weld-head FSW machines, the new centre offers exciting opportunities for prototyping, product and child-part development, materials testing, production trials and low-volume production.

“Our FSW research centre has been established to assist manufacturers in developing new products and processes, as well as better understanding the immense capabilities that PTG Powerstir machines offer,” comments PTG regional sales director, Mark Curran. “By increasing their knowledge of the FSW process, we can also assist Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive supply chain businesses in becoming more confident and proficient in tendering for manufacturing projects they may not have previously considered.

“With governments around the world setting increasingly ambitious targets for the wholesale switch to electric vehicles,” he adds, “now could be a particularly good time for organisations who have yet to embrace the advantages of friction stir welding for the production of components such as vehicle panels, skateboard chassis and battery cell housings, to get in touch with us.”


Ensuring a tight weld-flatness tolerance

PTG Powerstir dual weld-head FSW machines provide a stable welding process, owing to its ‘matched’ dual-force control systems and balanced upper and lower head welding parameters. This, in turn, minimises post-weld distortion and equips each welded assembly with an improved flatness tolerance when compared to existing conventional single-side FSW techniques.


Reduced wall thickness

“In addition to providing a state-of-the-art means of joining metals and achieving extremely high-strength results, it is also important to consider that in many instances, the use of friction stir welding also allows for reduced wall thickness – an important aspect in reducing vehicle weight,” says Mark Curran. “As the friction stir welding process generates very little heat, the crystalline structure of the metal remains unchanged, retaining its original strength. There is no need for inert gas, no need for heat-treating post weld, and no requirement for additional surface finishing.”

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UK Manufacturers Positioned To Lead The Green Revolution

UK Manufacturers Positioned To Lead The Green Revolution

A new report, published by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), has found that if the UK moves towards Green manufacturing, we could see between £8–20 billion added to the UK’s GDP and 400,000 to 1 million jobs created.

Climate change is having a huge impact on the world we live in and the calls to tackle it are growing louder every day.

The MTA report highlights that the UK is well placed to lead the way in this green future, if we act now. Since the early 1990s, the UK has reduced carbon emissions by 44 percent and is the first country to commit to net zero emissions.

“Going green is not an option, it a necessity. The UK has a worldwide reputation for innovation within manufacturing and engineering. This report highlights the need to invest to make to the essential transition to a decarbonised economy,” said James Selka, CEO of MTA. “By embracing green technology, we can transform our economy as a whole and work towards sustainable growth, creating new, higher paid, jobs and protect the environment in the process.”

The Commission on Climate Change which underpinned the net-zero target estimated that an increase in investment in Green technologies in the order of 1 to 2 percent of GDP per year up to 2050 was needed.

Green growth is an important economic driver – growing around four times faster than the overall economy. Starting early gives companies the best chance of staying ahead and diversifying into future products and markets.

Green transition involves decarbonising processes and products all along the supply chain, as well as reducing the carbon that products require in use.

Transformation that is investment-led both boosts GDP directly and adds to productive capacity.

The effect on GDP stands to be large, adding some £8bn to £20bn in output to UK manufacturing and its supply chains. The effect on jobs also stands to be substantial:

  • Creating some 400,000 to 1 million jobs in the economy as a whole;
  • Some 37,000 to 90,000 jobs in UK manufacturing, and
  • A further 34,000 to 83,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Moreover, the report shows that new jobs stand to be of high-quality, well paid, and fit for the 21st century.

Selka added, “We have seen through the Covid-19 pandemic that when Government engages with manufacturers that change can be implemented quickly. With strong national guidance and the right structure put in place by the UK Government and fully integrated into an Industrial Strategy, we are well placed to become world leaders in Green manufacturing.  We need continued investment in resources like the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to spur progress. The possibilities for growth are substantial. UK manufacturers are ready for this challenge.”


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MACH 2021 Leading The Way To Recovery

MACH 2021 Leading The Way To Recovery

January 2021 is going to be a hugely important landmark for UK manufacturers. After the disruption of 2020 getting supply chains moving and investment flowing are going to be big priorities for the new year. The place to do that will be the NEC, which will not only play host to MACH, the UK’s national engineering and manufacturing exhibition between 25-28th January, but will also be packed with other events.

After a gap of nearly a decade, Subcon will return to being co-located with MACH alongside a number of other shows, including Drives & Controls, meaning it will be a huge week for UK manufacturing.

The organisers have partnered on the events before, but in the current climate the collaboration takes on added significance as the need to kickstart the manufacturing sector after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic becomes of crucial importance to the wellbeing of the UK economy as a whole.

By pooling their resources, expertise and experience, the two organisations said they would be better able to support UK manufacturing and engineering businesses to bounce back as the economy starts to rebuild and adapt to this ‘new normal’.

The highpoint of the week will be the Manufacturing Technologies Association’s Annual Dinner which the Association, which owns and runs MACH, will be holding onsite at the Vox, on Tuesday 26th January.

James Selka, CEO of the MTA, said: “Our intention is to ensure MACH is not just a showcase for the manufacturing technologies sector, but a celebration of the manufacturing industry at its best. MACH is a content-led event and brings together the latest advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies – in operation and all under one roof.”

“Highlights for the show will include a significant focus on the digital factory, with more automation and connected manufacturing processes, power by the hour and new cost efficiency solutions that will dramatically improve production processes and help shape the industry over the next decade.

“MACH has always been the place to see real innovation come to life. Manufacturers and engineers come out in force to support the UK’s national show and see first-hand how technology is developing. As such, MACH will be the perfect way to kick start 2021 and we are delighted that other complimentary shows will be taking place alongside MACH for what should be a celebration of UK manufacturing at its very best.”

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Alstom Plans To Bring Hydrogen Trains To UK

Alstom Plans To Bring Hydrogen Trains To UK

UK: Alstom, a French rolling stock manufacturer has plans to introduce hydrogen-powered trains to the UK in a bid to support the government’s plan to withdraw diesel-powered locomotives by 2040.

The manufacturer currently works on a project with Eversholt Rail to equip hydrogen tanks and fuel cells in a fleet of Class 321 electric trains for hydrogen-powered operations. Through sustainable electricity and electrolysis, hydrogen will be produced. Fuel cells will then produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen with water as a by-product.

Electrical energy produced will subsequently be stored in batteries to power the train on electrical traction drive. Through this process, only condensed water and steam are released by the system.

Nick Crossfield, managing director at Alstom UK & Ireland said: “Not only are hydrogen trains zero carbon, they are near-silent and emit no particulates, which means they offer substantial air quality and noise pollution benefits too.”

The manufacturing firm has already designed a hydrogen train—the Coradia iLint—which is currently being tested in Germany.

“On cost, hydrogen trains can help to avoid the necessity for line electrification, which represents a significant investment for customers. Less than 50 percent of the UK network is electrified, and much that is not electrified is unlikely ever to be so,” Mr Crossfield continued.

He also added: “Starting with this conversion, we think hydrogen could offer the right zero-carbon solution for many parts of the network.”

About a third of all UK trains are diesel-powered. They require overhaul or replacement in order to fulfil the government’s plan to withdraw all diesel rail vehicles by 2040.

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