A £330,000 funding boost will help researchers at LJMU progress their work on pioneering improvements in mass finishing technologies, the use of which is expanding rapidly across a range of sectors including aerospace, autosports, automotive, pharmaceutical, medical device, tool making and general engineering.
Mass finishing technologies (MF) is a general term for when certain engineered components go through various processes in order to achieve a high quality finish. This may seem quite elementary, and yet the outcome for better research in the area will transform the technology for the better.
Every day innovative parts and products are being used which not only benefit industry but help people across the world move, work, produce and live more comfortably. Whether it’s an aeroplane engine, a car part, teeth implants, a prosthetic limb or a household tool, the technology around their design and finish not only revolutionises the society we live in but drives global economies. This means that many industries are driven by the need for ever more intricate, cost effective, consistent quality and surface finish of precision metal parts. This is where LJMU’s leading researchers are needed.
Recognised for its continuing world-class research in this field, LJMU has been granted funding of £330,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The three year project is to investigate and progress mass finishing (MF) technologies due to its increasing importance in a wide range of sectors and the demand for greater precision in engineered parts, the introduction of new materials and the design of more complex parts with integral functional features and surfaces.
The project has also been given an additional £105,000 of support from industrial partners including the Manufacturing Technology Centre; Finishing Techniques Ltd; Glass Technology Services and Allen’s Crankshafts.
Mike Morgan, Professor of Precision Manufacturing at LJMU said: “This award is particularly satisfying given the current climate of austerity and the exceptionally keen competition. It is an acknowledgement of the potential international impact of the research, and aligns with a portfolio of further projects being progressed in this area. It will allow LJMU to establish a UK lead and unrivalled research capability in precision post-processing at a time when industry is demanding tighter tolerances, finer finishes and a surface functionality”.
Mass finishing is also seen as an enabling technology for the emerging process of additive manufacturing (metal 3-D printing) - an area in which conventional processes are inadequate.