AFRC research brings welcome reduction in production time, energy use and broken parts for supplier to marine and naval sectors | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
AFRC Eric Galloway
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AFRC research brings welcome reduction in production time, energy use and broken parts for supplier to marine and naval sectors

Materials experts at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) have solved a production problem that cost a supplier to the naval and marine industries excess time and money for years.

The research project, carried out for MacTaggart Scott, focused on a review of the company’s manufacturing process to better understand issues with its cam ring – a core component of its main hydraulic motor product.

While successfully developing a solution for components that were cracking during production, the team also made suggestions to help reduce overall production time and energy consumption during manufacturing.

The cracking of the part, machined from metal, resulted in higher production costs for its hydraulic motor.   Without in-depth materials expertise, however, it was difficult for the firm to identify the source of the problems in-house.

MacTaggart Scott’s production process involved various heat treatments, manufacturing and grinding processes.   A variety of testing expertise and techniques were consequently required to investigate the reason for the cracked components.

The AFRC is a world leader in residual stress research, which focuses on the stress locked within a material or component in the absence of any external load or force, and can lead to various problems during manufacturing.

Final conclusions revealed that residual stress was induced through the machining processes, with the AFRC suggesting alternate processes designed to reduce cracking while optimising the combination of machining and heat treatments.

Following in-depth analysis of the production process, the AFRC also advised MacTaggart Scott how to streamline its manufacturing process to reduce production time and energy consumption –further saving costs and enhancing productivity.

The recommendations delivered means the company, which has been supplying to the naval and marine industry for over 100 years, can benefit from improved and consistent cam ring output.

Lee Baines, Development Manager at MacTaggart Scott, said: “Working with the AFRC provided us with feedback and information on our products that we have embedded at the design stage, allowing for continuous optimisation of manufacturing.

“The project ran incredibly smoothly; it kept well aligned with initial plans but allowed for flexibility when necessary.”

Ioannis Violatos, Research Associate at the AFRC said: “Residual stress is a common concept within the manufacturing industry, but it is also frequently misunderstood. It is often the factor that causes distortions within parts, and in MacTaggart Scott’s case, caused premature cracking within the cam ring.

“Through analysing the materials and the manufacturing process we were able to make recommendations to solve this issue while detecting opportunities to make the production of the part more efficient.”

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