This final installment of three parts reviews FutureForge at Scotland’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) at the University of Strathclyde. Not too big and not too small, FutureForge is just the right size to not only stimulate radical developments in the art and science of forging, but it will also nurture new thinking on the scale, and therefore investment requirements, for tomorrow’s experimental infrastructure.
When it comes to forging research, it turns out that size really does matter. The bigger the press, the lower the chance of using it for experimentation and the higher the costs associated with the research. Too small, and the data collected don’t give an accurate representation. You will also find issues with translating research for effective use within industry. Get the size just right, however, and we can begin to truly understand a process steeped in tradition and start to transform one of the manufacturing sector’s most traditional and important supply chains.
An increasingly recognizable feature of today’s innovation landscape is transitional research, which is aimed at taking research outcomes and developing them through mid-stages of technology readiness. As we consider truly advanced uses of forging, building on the historic process and scaling up our approach, it is incredibly important that the size of the press and the transitional research is just right.